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Goal two: Making volunteering flexible and easier

The face of volunteering in Victoria is changing. Many looking to volunteer are driven by the chance to make a high impact over a short period.13

Volunteering that is purposeful and rewarding is central to this strategy.

Our consultation with the volunteering community has highlighted the demand for variety in volunteering opportunities that align with people’s skills, interests and availability. Many view volunteering as an increasingly difficult commitment. Volunteering can be made more attractive by carefully considering the needs and strengths of volunteers, as well as place-based approaches that focus on local area needs and strengths.

To adapt to this environment, Volunteer-involving organisations (VIOs) will need help to build the skills of their volunteer managers to reimagine how volunteers contribute to their organisations and redesign volunteer roles and recruitment processes to appeal to people with different skill sets, available time and motivations.

The experience of COVID-19 is likely to continue to present an ongoing barrier to volunteering because people’s perceptions of safety have changed. The following will be key to welcoming back and attracting new volunteers as the community learns to live with COVID-19:

  • COVIDSafe settings for volunteers
  • access to low- or non-contact volunteering opportunities
  • noting the concerns of people looking to return to volunteering and providing support.

Technology has seen people connect with one another and adapt to new ways to volunteer – for example, as service delivery moved to online formats. This has transformed how many see and engage with technology. This presents a significant opportunity to reach more volunteers and deliver volunteering opportunities in new ways.

Technology will play a key role in streamlining the recruitment and management of volunteers. Volunteer recruitment has long been a challenge for VIOs. Technology can also transform the volunteering experience by:

  • unlocking remote volunteering opportunities
  • offering new ways for volunteer managers to coordinate and interact with volunteers.

The ability of VIOs to provide simpler access to flexible volunteering opportunities – including short-term, episodic and virtual – will have a major impact on how they re-engage, recruit and retain volunteers.

Priority outcomes

  • Community groups use a range of strategies to effectively connect with volunteers.
  • Victorians can volunteer in flexible, short-term, informal and virtual ways that make it easy to give back to their community.
  • Recruitment, screening and induction processes match the role and are streamlined where possible.

Priority actions

  • Volunteering Victoria, working with Volunteer support organisations (VSOs) to build skills and capability in VIOs through training, resources and best practice examples, to re-engage volunteers in COVIDSafe formats and redesign volunteer roles. This will enable a range of opportunities such as formal structured, semi-structured, episodic, and informal opportunities.

This action will be delivered in years 1 to 4.

  • VIOs and volunteering community to use available online and community resources to deliver training and support to their volunteers. For example, VSOs, peak bodies, Victorian Public Sector Commission (VPSC) and Justice Connect.

This action will be delivered in years 1 to 4.

  • The Victorian Government promote the value of using a range of methods including available online platforms to improve access and support for volunteers and streamline the management and leadership of volunteers.

This action will be delivered in years 1 to 5.

  • VIOs to provide access to a variety of volunteering opportunities and service delivery methods. These include face-to-face and online opportunities, as well as other formats based on the needs of volunteers and support available from local organisations including VSOs.

This action will be delivered in years 1 to 4.

Case study

Nothing can stop Tina from volunteering

Tina once worked at Monash University in risk management and compliance. But health issues with lupus forced her to quit, so she sought support from Centrelink. To fulfil Centrelink mutual obligations, she started volunteering two days a week.

Tina began volunteering at Living and Learning Pakenham (LLP) in the neighbourhood house sector in May 2019. LLP faced challenges in applying to the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission for Public Benevolent Institution (PBI) status and subsequent Designated Gift Recipient (DGR) status. Their first application was unsuccessful.

Tina took on the task of reapplying but first needed to better convey the vision and mission of LLP in all public facing documents. This included the organisation’s model rules. The second application was successful. Having obtained both PBI and DGR status, LLP can now seek tax-deductible donations. This cover both charitable organisations and individuals and helps LLP to support the community. Their support includes:

  • food relief
  • training programs for the unemployed
  • social programs
  • financial relief.

’Because of my lupus, when I have flare-ups I can be crippled with pain. The great thing for me is that volunteering allows me to be flexible and make up the time when I am able to. I feel I can provide the benefit of my experience to LLP and it gives me a sense of purpose and connection to the community. It is an arrangement that works for everybody.’

Reviewed 19 May 2022

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