The German Survey on Volunteering (FWS) is a representative telephone survey of voluntary activities of persons aged 14 and older in Germany. Since 1999, information on volunteering and its context, extent and motives as well as on donations and the willingness to volunteer  have been collected every five years. Data can be described and analyzed by social and regional characteristics. The German Survey on Volunteering provides the most substantial database for the description and analysis of volunteering in Germany. It is funded by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ).

Up to now data of the Survey on Volunteering (FWS) have been collected in 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014. Since December 2011 it has been scientifically managed and supervised by the German Centre of Gerontology (DZA). The interviews of the fourth wave were conducted by infas - Institute for Applied Social Sciences in 2014.

Information on the survey instruments and details of the data sets can be found in the documentation.

Access to the FWS microdata

FWS microdata are available free of charge to scientific researchers for non-profitable purposes. The Research Data Centre provides access and support to scholars interested in using FWS data for their research. Data from completed FWS waves run through a process of editing and are made anonymous. However, for reasons of data protection, signing a data distribution contract is required prior to obtaining the data.

Click here to get more information on data access and the application form.

FWS-Indicators online

The online Statistical Information System GeroStat is open to the public and allows to conduct frequency analyses of numerous indicators from all FWS samples. Results can be differentiated by age-group, sex and region (East and West Germany) and show the weighted distributions of pivotal indicators.