Community volunteer organizations in China were firstly established in the Heping District of Tianjin. At the end of 1980s, the population of Heping was more than 500,000, and nearly one sixth of the population was elderly. To solve the various problems encountered by the elderly, 13 active members of the Chaoyangli residents' committee of Xinxingjie Sub-district of Heping voluntarily organized a team of volunteers to serve people, and to provide services to elderly people without family, the sick and disabled, as well as families with special difficulties. Following their example, 44 other volunteers in the neighborhood joined in the services. In March 1989, the first community service volunteers association in Heping District was established in Xinxingjie Sub-district.
Following the example of the Xingxingjie community service volunteers association, community volunteer organizations sprung up all over the country. Formal community volunteer organizations such as volunteers associations were established in most areas of China, with their service range steadily expanding, covering various fields including poverty relief, helping the aged and the disabled, environmental protection and social security. On March 18, 2005, the Working Committee of Volunteers of the China Social Work Association was formally established, providing a communication platform for community volunteer organizations all over the country, and injecting fresh energy into the cause of voluntary community service in China.
According to statistics of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, as of December 2007 the number of community volunteer organizations in China was more than 270,000, more than four times that of 2006 ?with more than 20,000,000 community volunteers (over 2,000,000 more than 2006), of which over 5,670,000 were registered as community volunteers. In December 2007, China began to carry out a community volunteer registration policy throughout the country, and an administration process for community volunteer registration also formally went into operation.