THE NEXT generation of Wagga's youth is key to a thriving volunteering sector, according to those in the field.
Clubs like Rotary, the Country Women's Association and St Vincent de Paul all rely on the donation of time to stay afloat, and many are reporting a significant lack of interest from the younger members of society.
Kooringal Rotary Club's president Peter Keith said the average age of their members was 75.
"We've got 30 members, and we can't do all the things we once used to," he said.
"We've got some younger ones, we had seven come in as members last year - probably in their 50s or 60s, which is at least less than the average age of the club."
It was a lack of interest behind the struggle for members, according to Mr Keith.
"It's hard to get that younger millennial generation interested in community service," he said.
"The predominantly older members of rotary have got to learn how to work with younger generations and listen to them and make some changes that are going to be relevant to them."
In other news:
President of the St Vincent de Paul and Wagga Diocese Peter Burgess said he, too, had noticed the older generations being more visible in the volunteering sector.
"In March, I turned 70, and I realised that two thirds of our membership was older than me," he said.
However, it wasn't the millennial generation that was hard to get on board, according to Mr Burgess.
"It's getting people between that 30 to 60-year-old mark that's tough, and we need to start looking at how we can better engage them, attract them and involve them," he said.
"We have to understand that social and public attitudes have changed - I genuinely think people still have the same sense of wanting to contribute to society as people my age to, but they just might want to go about doing so differently and we need to find out how.
"For instance, Vinnies does a lot of work supporting those struggling week to week with, say, food or bills to pay, but there are other needs in society like loneliness that need to be addressed, and I think that middle age bracket could help a lot with that."
Mr Burgess said they had also recently begun a Youth Conference to engage people aged 18-35.
"We only have about 12-15 people in that but it has a high turn over because a lot of younger people in country towns tend to move on to new places," he said.
The NSW government has released it's first 10-year Volunteering Strategy in a bid to promote a more sustainable sector.
Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said drought, bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic have demonstrated the important, and often lifesaving, role volunteers play in our community.
"Whether they are donating their time and skills responding to natural disasters or coaching children's sport, volunteers are part of the fabric of our communities," he said.
"This strategy focuses on the need to future-proof the volunteering sector, by using technology to promote participation and make volunteering more accessible."