For many Australian charities, volunteers are their bread and butter. The nonprofit sector relies heavily on the generosity of others, not just in a financial sense but in a practical sense as well.
Without volunteers, who would walk the streets armed with collection buckets? Who would help organise the thousands of charity events that take place each year?
Without volunteers, how would charity organisations ever manage to survive financially?
Each and every person who gives their time to a good cause and works for a nonprofit without expecting or getting any monetary return helps to keep the sector alive and prosperous.
This is why it comes as good news that the federal government is working hard to ensure that volunteers are protected when they go to work.
Earlier this week (Wednesday August 1), the minister for employment and workplace relations Bill Shorten launched a new resource to help volunteers and organisations understand how health and safety laws apply to them.
According to Mr Shorten, every worker is entitled to the same rights, regardless of whether or not they are paid.
Meanwhile the chair of the Not for Profit Reform Council Working Group, Evelyn O'Loughlin, said that this tool should provide clarity surrounding the legislation.
"The volunteer resource kit will help our sector understand responsibilities and address any lingering confusion about the impact of harmonised WHS laws," she said in a statement.
"The launch of the resource kit builds on the excellent work already done by Safe Work Australia in providing information on the application of the new WHS laws to the volunteering sector."
For those interested, the complete resource kit is available for full download on the Safe Work Australia website.
Here, people can also find other useful tools and information about workplace health and safety.
When announcing the new resource, Mr Shorten also commended the work of the country's volunteers, stating that their efforts were worth billions of dollars.
"Australian volunteers contribute more than 700 million hours of unpaid work with an estimated unpaid labour cost of almost $15 billion each year," he said.
One charity organisation that is currently looking for volunteers is the Cancer Council Australia.
Daffodil Day is coming up on August 24 and the council is recruiting for volunteers to sell merchandise in the lead-up, or to help organise local events.