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Volunteering Australia’s National Strategy: What it means for the now

The National Strategy for Volunteering is a huge step for Australian volunteering. Here's our perspective on some short term actions you can take.

In this Volaby voice, we wanted to call out the huge milestone of Volunteering Australia launching The National Strategy for Volunteering 23-33. The strategy outlines a vision for volunteering as the heart of Australian communities, with the three key focus areas being individual potential and the volunteer experience, community and social impact and conditions for volunteering to thrive. 
The strategy lists three critical indicators of success: improved volunteer experience, comprehensively valued volunteering, and an increase in the number of volunteers. 

For members of the volunteer ecosystem, it is suggested that the strategy be used to:

  • Develop new initiatives or align existing work with those of other actors.
  • Make a case for investment and in-kind resourcing to governments, philanthropists, foundations, and other grant‑makers.
  • Collaborate with other members of the volunteering ecosystem to achieve shared goals.
  • Conduct internal reviews to understand the efficacy of one’s own operations and identify areas for improvement.
  • Work together to advance a shared agenda on volunteering to ensure volunteering in Australia is sustainable over the long term and continues to be part of the rich social and cultural fabric of society.

The 10-year Volunteering Strategy is a huge step in the right direction for Australian Volunteering, and we are excited about the long-term impact it can have.  But what can you do today? And how can Volaby support you to align your actions with the National Strategy? Hear the Volaby teams perspective below: 

(Please note, these views are of the Volaby team and our interpretation of the National Volunteering Strategy. These views aren’t necessarily reflective of those of Volunteering Australia)

  1. Recognise and value volunteers: The strategy highlights the need to recognise and value the contributions of volunteers. Create a positive and supportive volunteer culture by providing training and development opportunities, recognising volunteer individual contributions, and offering meaningful roles and responsibilities. Valuing your volunteers doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, consider implementing a few small practices to make your volunteers feel valued
  • Make a thank you call 
  • Shoutout individual volunteers on social channels 
  • Celebrate milestones

Want some more ideas on how to ensure your volunteers feel recognised and valued? Check out our Volaby Voice on Valuing and appreciating your volunteers

  1. Promote diversity and inclusion: The strategy calls for increased diversity and inclusion in volunteering, particularly for underrepresented groups such as Indigenous Australians, people with disabilities, and older Australians. Take some small steps toward diversity and inclusion by recognising existing barriers to volunteering that exist in your organisation, ensuring your marketing is representative of the diversity in your organisation and considering flexible volunteering opportunities that will assist in making your organisation more inclusive. 

    Flexible volunteering options can reduce barriers to entry for a diverse group of volunteers and reduce the number of shifts or events cancelled due to a lack of volunteers. Check out our article on Flexible Volunteering to find out how you can introduce a flexible option in your organisation. 
  1. Improve volunteer management: Effective volunteer management is essential for maximising the impact of volunteers. Volunteer management is not one size fits all, it will look different for every organisation, however, some best practices can include providing volunteers with clear roles and responsibilities, providing ongoing support to volunteers and developing comprehensive policies and procedures to protect your volunteers.

    ⭐Volaby Tip: the roles feature allows you to set clear roles for the volunteers within your organisation such as cooks, medics, drivers and so much more. Roles are a great way to recognise volunteer responsibilities and using the role badge feature you can quickly identify skilled volunteers when rostering. You can even segment tasks and bulletins to volunteers in specific roles. 

    Consider sending out a volunteer survey to identify where your volunteer management is ticking the boxes, and where the gaps exist in your volunteer management for refinement. Get the ball rolling with our 5 Must Do’s of Volunteer Management
  1. Measure impact and outcomes: The strategy emphasises the importance of measuring the impact and outcomes of volunteering. The value of volunteering is rooted in impact, and it is our responsibility to measure the impact generated by our volunteers continually. Take the time to review how your organisation measures impact and ensure that the important work you do is being captured.

    Last month, we talked about the impotence of data in keeping your mission in sight. Data can be leveraged to engage all stakeholders, especially to showcase and appreciate volunteer impact. Need a refresh on all things data and impact? Check out last month’s Volaby Voice
  1. Double down on safety: The strategy highlights the importance of ensuring that volunteering opportunities are safe and inclusive for all volunteers. The best way to ensure volunteers are safe is to implement policies and procedures that ensure volunteers are protected from harm and that their rights and needs are respected. This can include providing appropriate training, screening and background checks, and creating safe and welcoming environments for volunteers.

    As outlined in the strategy, volunteers are often not provided with the same level of safety that workers are provided in the workplace. It is critical that your organisation’s policies and procedures put safety first. Want some more tips on increasing safety in your organisation? Check out our safety best practices!

Develop your Digital Capabilities with Volaby

Now that we have addressed some short-term checks and changes you can make to align with the National Volunteering Strategy, it’s time to talk about Digital Capabilities.

Platforms that support the recruitment and management of volunteers provide important efficiencies for volunteers and organisations alike.”

Volaby is built by non-profits, for non-profits and assists in streamlining all thing volunteer management. With Volaby, you can recruit, onboard, roster and train volunteers all in one platform leaving you time to build relationships and curate meaningful experiences with your volunteers.

At Volaby, we are excited about the recent release of the National Volunteering Strategy and the push for the importance of volunteering in Australia. If you are going on this journey to improve volunteering within your organisation, please reach out to the Volaby team to understand how we can help.

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