Mobilising episodic volunteers for Mandela Day

Sara Compion, Bok Gyo Jeong, Ram Cnaan, Lucas Meijs

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


18 July is Mandela Day, an internationally recognised day of volunteering when people are called to take action against poverty and social injustice by helping and giving time in service to their communities. This article discusses the nature of episodic volunteering at Mandela Day events throughout South Africa in 2018. Drawing on quantitative survey evidence from 398 participants, the findings show that this informal day of service has created a unique opportunity for recruiting new volunteers and for promoting one-off, short-term volunteering. In addition to non-profits and faith-based groups that traditionally mobilise volunteers, we show that 'third-party' entities - such as universities, businesses, government offices and philanthropic foundations - are also critical in rallying people and facilitating one-off volunteering opportunities for this day. These findings broaden an understanding of the range of international episodic volunteering and help to illustrate the connection between volunteering and civic capacity in newer democracies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-233
Number of pages23
JournalVoluntary Sector Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Policy Press. All rights reserved.


  • Civic engagement
  • Development • South Africa
  • Episodic volunteering
  • Third-party agents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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