Thought Leadership


IAVE is a knowledge leader for the global volunteer community, providing in-depth reports on current trends and challenges. Our work includes landmark research on key topics such as corporate volunteering, youth, and disaster response. 

Photo: Juguete Pendiente, Peru

Landmark Research on Corporate Volunteering

In February 2020, IAVE launched an ambitious research project to evaluate the state of corporate volunteering worldwide. A month later, the world was in the grip of an unprecedented health crisis.

Through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, IAVE interviewed representatives of 80 companies overseeing operations in more than 175 countries, with a combined workforce in excess of 8 million people. The resulting report, Corporate Volunteering for a Post-Pandemic World, demonstrates how corporate volunteering remains a vital force, capturing realities, the trends and best practices through the eyes of those directly responsible for managing volunteer programs. 

Part 2, published in 2023, explores regional issues in greater depth. Each essay is written by a member of the research team local to that region. Downloads available in English and Chinese below, with selected chapters in Korean and Spanish.

Corporate Volunteering


Corporate Volunteering for a Post-Pandemic World — Part 1

Even in the face of an unprecedented global crisis, corporate volunteering remains a vital force – mobilizing the skills, energy and commitment of workers in every region to help build a better world for all.

That is the core message of IAVE’s global corporate volunteering research project. It is built on in-depth examinations of the realities, trends and best practices that shape the field, as seen through the eyes of those directly responsible for managing volunteer programs. Available in English and Chinese, with selected chapters in Korean and Spanish. 


Corporate Volunteering for a Post-Pandemic World — Part 2

Part 2 of Corporate Volunteering for a Post-Pandemic World explores regional issues in corporate volunteering in greater depth. Each essay is written by a member of the research team local to that region. Some focus on examples of corporate volunteering; others explore the impact of of corporate, regional and national culture, religion, or geography, and touch on corporate management structures, government and regulatory frameworks, and the capacity for disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. Available in English and Chinese. Chinese translation generously provided by HOZON China.


Corporate Volunteering: Delivering Business Objectives through a Values Focused Mission

Business leaders increasingly believe their organizations and their employees have a stake in the wellbeing of their communities.  This paper discusses how corporate volunteering plays a big role in this shared sense of social purpose that is good for business, good for employees and good for wider society. 2020. Available in English. 


Corporate Engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals

This report describes the activities and approaches to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of 14 member companies of the IAVE Global Corporate Volunteer Council.  As an advocate for both volunteering and the SDGs, IAVE ’s hope is that others will learn from these varied and inspiring practices. 2019. Available in English. 


The Big Tent: Corporate Volunteering in the Global Age

Sponsored by the Telefonica Foundation and written by Dr. Kenn Allen, IAVE Senior Consultant. The book explores in depth the history, “inspiring practices,” innovations and challenges that are defining corporate volunteering as a powerful force for change. 2012. Available in English, Spanish and Chinese.


Global Companies Volunteering Globally

The report of our landmark research on corporate volunteering, the first such global research ever done. The research focused on the health of corporate volunteering in each region of the world and examined how global companies organize and manage volunteer efforts. Underwritten by members of IAVE’s Global Corporate Volunteer Council. 2011. Available in English, Spanish and Portuguese



Youth Volunteering and Social Change: Challenges and Opportunities

In 2023, IAVE commissioned four papers on volunteering that focused on key issues impacting young people. The papers were used to frame a series of online conversations and a global roundtable.

Dr. Chris Millora, author of the series, is a researcher of youth social action and learning at the University of East Anglia. He leads the project Literacies of Dissent: Learning, Youth Activism and Social Change, and was lead researcher for the United Nations Volunteers State of the World’s Volunteerism Report 2022.

In May 2023, IAVE held a Roundtable in London hosted by Volunteering Matters to expand the dialogue on Youth Volunteering, Employability and Sustainable Livelihoods. The London event celebrated both the power of youth and the power of volunteering. 


A New Generation of Volunteers as Changemakers

This Challenge Paper ‘A New Generation of Volunteers as Changemakers’ was commissioned in partnership with International Forum for Volunteering in Development (Forum), and used as a framing paper for Forum’s IVCO 2023 conference, held in Kuala Lumpur in October 2023. Available in English, Spanish, and French.


Future Leadership: The Role of Youth Volunteers

Youth volunteering is seen as providing an important experience for young people to engage with their communities and the issues they care about while enhancing their own personal development. This paper explores how learning to lead through volunteering often creates a pathway to employability and social entrepreneurial activities. It focuses on the importance of channeling the passion and commitment of young volunteers into leadership roles to sustain and grow the volunteer effort, and allow youth to define what volunteering leadership means to them. 2020. Available in English. 


Handbook: Youth Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment

This four-part handbook is a resource to inform and educate youth volunteers, organizations that engage youth volunteers, and corporations the added value and skills youth obtain from volunteering. It serves to highlight the importance of youth volunteering as a way to learn skills, increase a young persons’ network of contacts, and encourage youth to gain real-life perspectives. 2021. Available in English, Spanish and Chinese.


Youth, Volunteering and Employment

The final report of research for a dialogue, sponsored by the Telefonica Foundation, at the December 2012 IAVE World Volunteer Conference. This work came in response to the growing global crisis of youth unemployment and reflects IAVE’s belief that volunteering by young people can help prepare them for the paid workforce. Available in English and Spanish.

Additional Topics


Getting the Word Out: Volunteering in Africa

An overview report on volunteering in 12 sub-Saharan African countries. Working under the leadership of Navnet, the national volunteer center in Kenya, IAVE National Representatives profiled the current state of volunteering in their countries as part of the 2011 IAVE Africa Regional Meeting. The project was sponsored by the UPS Foundation and Service for Peace. Available in English.

Inclusion & Diversity

Tolerance & Inclusion: Volunteering Enabling Community Cohesion and Embracing Diversity

Volunteering is vitally important to providing a sense of belonging to one’s community, it is a practical way to showcase resilience by including everyone in helping themselves and others to overcome problems whether they are, for example, economic, social, humanitarian or environmental. This paper explores how volunteers are working across divisions and between cultures showcasing in practical ways the respect for others that builds more tolerant societies. It also discusses ways volunteer-involving organizations can commit to the value of inclusion, showcasing tolerance and embracing diversity in their involvement of volunteers. 2020. Available in English. 


Volunteering 2030: New Paradigms

Rapidly changing societal trends, technological innovation, virtual landscapes, and a global commitment to enabling the Sustainable Development Goals for everyone, everywhere creates an emerging dynamic where established boundaries for volunteering are being challenged and changed. This paper explores how this ‘borderless state’ – often within countries but sometimes across nation states – requires more collaboration, integration and sharing of resources to bring about the change the world needs. It discusses partnership across organizations and sectors, new ways of engaging citizens and volunteering across borders can bring innovation and greater impact to the involvement of volunteers. 2020. Available in English. 

Measuring Impact

Measurement & Impact: Providing the Evidence that Volunteering is Good for Society and Good for You

Often the focus is on providing the evidence to record, measure and showcase the impact of volunteering. While it has always been important for volunteers to know that their involvement has made a difference, volunteering can also be of great benefit to the individual volunteer. This paper explores how we can measure impact through volunteer experience and how these experiences influence volunteers’ future opportunities and behaviors. It also discusses methods of tracking the aspirations and needs of the communities where they volunteer. 2020. Available in English. 


Leadership for Volunteering: The COVID-19 Experience

The volunteer response to COVID-19 created a dynamic that has the potential to change volunteering into the next decade and beyond. Leadership for volunteering organizations are and will be an increasingly important asset in supporting and developing the global volunteer movement. This research study was commissioned by IAVE to create a body of knowledge about the experience of national volunteering leadership organizations in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The research report examines how COVID-19 has impacted on the strategic leadership role of national volunteering leadership organizations (VLOs) in advocacy, development and volunteer mobilization. It also considers what this means for VLOs and the future of volunteering. 2022.


Volunteerism & Community Resilience: Locally Owned Solutions Delivering Impact

Building resilience within communities is about engaging community members in considering the challenges faced by the diverse parts of a community that make up its totality. This context paper explores how volunteering makes connections, builds networks and stakeholder relationships, aids communication and supports cooperation –  vital components for community resilience. It includes case studies of volunteers empowered to anticipate issues, identify solutions, and give leadership to transformational change. 2020. Available in English. 


Volunteering & the Digital World: Extending the Power of Volunteering through New Technologies

As technology evolves it is being harnessed to give greater access to volunteer involvement and enhance how volunteers carry out their roles. Going to the computer or phone to find out how to connect to volunteering opportunities is the norm, virtual volunteering is a growing trend. Social media creates an instant global sharing of who volunteers are and what they are doing. This paper discusses the popularity of incorporating volunteering with technology and how new technologies such as A.I. will bring further change and challenge as to how these new digital opportunities can also support and develop volunteering. 2020. Available in English.