Managing a community organisation

Managing volunteers

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 volunteering

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

Multicultural volunteering

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:

Corporate volunteering

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.

Recognising 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.

Volunteers Day

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.

Resolving disputes

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:

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.

Police checks

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.

Screening checks

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.

Access the flowchart here


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Page last updated 31 August 2017

Provided by:
Department for Communities and Social Inclusion
URL:
http://www.sa.gov.au/topics/family-and-community/community-organisations/managing-a-community-organisation/managing-volunteers
Last Updated:
31/08/17
Printed on:
23/10/17
Copyright statement:
SA.GOV.AU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. © Copyright 2016