Microdata of the third survey year in 2009 comprise data of 20.005 participants. The method of the survey was a computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI). The sample was drawn as representative landline sample of the resident population aged 14 years and older. The interviews were carried out between April and July 2009 and took 20 minutes on average. As the questions were asked exclusively in German, the FWS is only representative for the German-speaking resident population of Germany.

The survey aimed at a sufficient size of the sample for each of the 16 federal states (Bundesländer) of Germany to enable separate analyses of the states. Thus, the sample has been stratified disproportionately according to the population of every federal state. The sampling frame for the sample in 2009 was generated using a Random-Digit-Dialing-Method according to ADM-standard.

As in the other survey years, participants were asked for information on the following topics:

  • Memberships and activities in general
  • Volunteering
  • Most time consuming/intensive and, if applicable, second activity
  • Context of volunteering
  • Further characteristics of voluntary activity
  • Donations
  • Background information about the person


Further information on the data set can be found in the documentation FWS 2009 and on the pages of the research project German Survey on Volunteering.

For reasons of data protection the factually anonymised data sets can only be provided after signing a data distribution contract. FWS data is available free of charge to scientific researchers for non-profitable purposes only and requires written permission of the data distributor (FDZ-DZA). The form to apply for the use of FWS-data can be found here: application form.