It is inevitable that volunteers will come and go in your organisation. There are a number of ways of finding volunteers:
- talk to your existing volunteers - they enjoy what they do and may be able to suggest a family member or friend who would enjoy it too
- contact Volunteering SA&NT, your local volunteer resource centre, or advertise your vacancy in the press
- advertise your position for free online through organisations such as Volunteering SA&NT and GoVolunteer.
Virtual or online volunteering describes a volunteer who completes tasks off-site from the organisation being assisted by the internet. This could be via a computer, a smartphone or other internet connected device. Opportunities for virtual volunteering are available through organisations such as the United Nations.
Online volunteering - Our Community website
Organisations and the community can benefit significantly by involving people with a range of skills and abilities from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds in volunteering.
It can be a challenge for organisations to attract people from diverse backgrounds, to participate in their volunteer programs. A range of programs, tools and resources are available, which support multicultural volunteering, including:
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs) on engaging culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) people by community groups - Office for Volunteers fact sheet
- Volunteering - A Gateway to Communities Project Report - tips from the Office for Volunteers for engaging people from CALD backgrounds in volunteering
- Free online cultural awareness training module - Office for Volunteers
- Interview Form - share your experiences in engaging volunteers from CALD backgrounds by completing this form. Selected stories will be featured in the Office for Volunteers' e-newsletter, which is emailed to community groups, government agencies, businesses and volunteers across the state.
- Volunteering in the Multicultural Home and Community Care Sector - Volunteering SA&NT can help match individuals to volunteer opportunities in the multicultural community services sector
- South Australia's Diversity - Multicultural SA provides detailed information, including community profiles, about South Australia's multicultural population.
There are many mutual benefits for businesses and community organisations who take part in corporate volunteering. Corporate volunteering programs can help:
- businesses provide expertise to assist community organisations in short term assignments and service delivery
- community organisations access professional help in a range of skill areas including planning, marketing, finance.
Volunteering SA&NT provide a corporate volunteering consultancy service, which can assist your organisation to find business volunteers.
Recognition of volunteer effort is an important part of volunteer management. There are many ways that managers of volunteers, staff and other volunteers within the organisation can show that they appreciate and value the efforts of all members of the volunteer team. The Office for Volunteers provides details on government-led recognition initiatives which serve to ensure volunteer effort can be recognised appropriately.
The South Australian government values the significant contribution made by volunteers across the state.
In recognition of this enormous effort, it has proclaimed a special day in their honour. Volunteers Day is now celebrated on the Queen's Birthday public holiday every year. This year, a free event was held at the Adelaide Town Hall to thank South Australia's dedicated volunteers.
Find out more on the Office for Volunteers website.
When grievances occur between volunteers and their organisations, most can be resolved internally, usually through an organisation's grievance procedure and disputes resolution policy or through:
- intervention by senior management
- mediation by an independent person where both parties have the opportunity to discuss the problem
- a more formal review that will include an investigation of the claims of both parties.
The first step is to look at your organisation's grievance procedure and disputes resolution policy or speak with your organisation's senior management, with the hope that your concerns can be resolved.
Support and advice
If you are unable to resolve this matter, there are a number of organisations that can assist you. These include:
- Office of the Employee Ombudsman – general advice – phone 8207 1970
- Equal Opportunity Commission – discrimination and harassment – phone 8207 1977
- SafeWork SA – workplace health and safety – phone 1300 365 255
SportSA – information, advice and assistance about sport disputes
- Legal Services Commission – legal advice and assistance – phone 1300 366 424
Screening and police checks
Many organisations choose to conduct screening and police checks of their volunteers as part of their risk management policy and recruitment processes.
A police check provides an Australia-wide summary of a person's criminal history. In South Australia, volunteers can apply for a National Police Certificate from South Australia Police or a National Criminal History Record Check from an accredited CrimTrac agency, such as the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI) Screening Unit.
A screening check provides an assessment of a person's criminal conviction history and their suitability for a particular position with the organisation. There is no such assessment with a police check, which is simply a record of a person's criminal conviction history. The Screening Unit offers a range of screening check services for organisations whose volunteers work with vulnerable groups, such as children, older people or people with disability.
Volunteers working with vulnerable people
There are specific requirements under the Children's Protection Act 1993, the Aged Care Act 1997 and, since 1 July 2014, the Disability Services Act 1993 for screening volunteers working with vulnerable members of the community. Police checks can only be obtained with the informed consent of the individual concerned.
The South Australian government provides free police checks for organisations whose volunteers work with vulnerable people. To qualify, an organisation must apply for a Volunteer Organisation Authorisation Number (VOAN) from South Australia Police. If an organisation is not eligible for a VOAN, the volunteer may be entitled to a reduced fee. You can find out more about police checks by visiting the South Australia Police website.
Alternatively, the DCSI Screening Unit offers a range of screening services, which are available at a reduced rate for volunteers.
A flowchart has been developed to help organisations determine whether their volunteers are required to undergo a criminal history report or a DSCI screening check.
By providing clear criteria on when checks are required, the flow chart aims to make the assessment process easier and help reduce costs to community organisations.
On this site
- Managing volunteers - Volunteering SA&NT
- A quick reference guide to managing your volunteers better - WA Department of Sport and Recreation
- Volunteer management resources -The Centre for Volunteering
- Managing volunteers - NSW government
- National standards for involving volunteers in not-for-profit organisations - Volunteering Australia
- Fact sheets, policy and research - Office for Volunteers
- Fact sheet on resolving workplace disputes – Office for Volunteers