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Affinity Groups on Research on Volunteering

Welcome to the website of the ISTR-Affinity Group on Research on Volunteering

ISTR is pleased to announce the formation of a new affinity group for those with an interest in research on volunteering.  The affinity group is open and free for anyone to join who is interested in networking with a community of academics and practitioners advancing the field of research on volunteering.  The affinity group will communicate via email listserve, and will facilitate the exchange of information relating to research on volunteering in all of its forms; announcements related to conferences, events, calls for papers; and other opportunities that may be of interest to members of the group.

The formation of this affinity group results from an increasing interest in the distinctive features of research on volunteering, an increased awareness that there is a benefit in connecting the diverse research components in the field, and an increased awareness that stronger efforts must be made to build connections among those carrying out this type of research in all regions of the globe.  A major factor underpinning this interest results from the adoption in September of the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which recognizes the important role of volunteers in the achievement of the goals and the publication in June of a report by the United Nations Secretary General on Integrating Volunteering in the Next Decade, which calls for increased research and policy action on volunteering.  See UNSG report here:

In this context, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, the International Forum for Volunteering in Development (Forum), and the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis jointly held a workshop on July 6–7, 2015 to develop a Global Research Agenda on volunteerism and its impact on peace and sustainable development for the next decade.  The key objective of the workshop was to develop a strategic framework to better position volunteerism as a modality for peace and development that can benefit both volunteers and the communities in which they are serve.  As a result of the collaboration, the researchers and practitioners formulated a Global Research Agenda that identifies research priorities and opportunities for the next decade and the resources needed to achieve it. This will help to appeal to governments to support enabling environments for volunteering and volunteer-related research and create a comparative knowledge base to inform future research proposals.

The participants of this workshop established the ISTR listserve in order to invite others to participate in the discussion and as a means to keep in touch with each other. While the affinity group will be organized under the auspices of ISTR, the conversation about volunteering research need not be limited to academic research, nor does it suppose that meetings and gatherings of this group will be limited to ISTR convenings.

This group will be moderated by Jacob Mati, Lecturer, School of Social Sciences, The University of the South Pacific, Fiji Islands; Research Associate, Society Work and Development Institute (SWOP), The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; Jacqueline Butcher de Rivas, Director of the Center for the Investigation and Study of Civil Society, at the Tecnológico de Monterrey, Escuela de Humanidades y Ciencias Sociales, in Mexico City; Bev Russell, CEO and founder, Social Surveys Africa, South Africa; and Megan Haddock, International Research Projects Manager, The Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies.

To join this affinity group, please send a one-line, no subject, e-mail message to:  The one line message should say: subscribe ISTR-L YourFirstname YourLastname.  The system will obtain the e-mail address from the e-mail header.


Sending a message to the entire Listserv is as simple as sending an email message to any person. All that you need to do is address an ordinary email message to and it will be delivered to everyone currently subscribed to the list.

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