We have a number of resources available that have been specially designed to assist you in volunteer event planning, volunteer training and volunteering police checks. You can also consult this section about volunteering rights and responsibilities.
Our Resources available to you:
Are you planning an event?
The Event Toolkit has been created to be a one stop destination on how to plan a successful event. Designed as a 10 step process, each step will cover a different topic, including Target Markets, Funding the Budget, and Building a Team, as well as HR resources and more. Ensure your event planning experience will be as stress free as possible with this step by step guide.
Volunteer National Police Check
Need a Police Check for Volunteering?
A Volunteer National Police Check can only be used for volunteer purposes when the work to be completed is unpaid, e.g. volunteering, work experience, charity, community services. CVCheck is ACIC accredited and will detail all disclosable criminal history entries that are recorded for an individual in any Australian police agency. Results will also include any current pending charges which have been initiated by the police and may include traffic convictions.
Learn more about volunteering
The National Standards for Involving Volunteers in Not-for-Profit Organisations (National Standards) have been developed by Volunteering Australia through a consultation process with volunteer-involving organisations and volunteers, and aims to promote a model of best practice in the management of volunteers.
The National Standards emphasise the importance of adopting a systems-based approach to managing volunteers and compliance with the standards will ensure that volunteer rights are protected, their role is explicit and they work in safe and healthy environments.
Not-for-profit organisations can use the National Standards in a number of ways including:
- As an audit tool that provides an overall appreciation of where the organisation is placed with respect to best management practice for volunteer involvement.
- As a guideline or checklist to help identify opportunities for making improvements.
- As a framework of reference to assist in planning and establishing a new volunteer service.
- As a baseline from which progress in making improvements can be monitored and measured.
An organisation that is able to demonstrate compliance with the standards is strategically well-positioned to recruit and retain more volunteers, as well as attract funding or sponsorship for new initiatives.
Click here to download a copy of The National Standards.
Like everything else in life the more you know about something, the more interesting it becomes and the easier it is to understand and contribute in a meaningful way. Volunteering offers so many different and unique opportunities to be a part of the community and to give in so many ways. Before you embark on your volunteering experience decide what interests you and find out as much as you can about the options that are available:
Research the causes and/or issues important to you:
- Locate the organisations and/or groups that support the issues you feel passionate about
- Investigate their core values and read their mission statements
- Determine if the organisations’ and/or groups’ values and activities align with your views and ideas
Use your skills:
- Teaching, Driving, Administration and Retail are just some of the core skills community organisations need
- Reflect on your existing skills, how you could use them and how they may benefit others
Learn new skills:
- Consider some new skills you would like to gain from your volunteering experiences
- New skills can be included in your resume and applied in future work experiences
- Volunteering can also expand your social and professional networks
Combine your goals:
- Find opportunities that can contribute to your current goals
- For example if your goal is to stay active consider volunteer positions that include health and fitness and the outdoors
Volunteer as a Family:
- Consider participating as a group in short or long-term event volunteer positions
- Volunteering with family and friends has shown to help people stay committed and excited about volunteering
Avoid over-committing your schedule:
- Organisations require different levels of commitment for certain types of roles
- Consider the amount of time you are able to commit to without exhausting yourself or losing interest
- It is important to discuss your availability candidly with the organisation you are considering joining
Non-profits have questions too:
- It is important to be placed in a position with an organisation that is best suited to your skills, interests and values
- You will be asked to fill out a Volunteer Application, describing your qualifications, work experience, interests and skills
- You will also be required to attend a Placement Interview which is conducted in a similar way to a paid job interview
- This will assist both you and the organisation in determining which position is best suited to you
- Be yourself, bring your enthusiasm and sense of humour to your volunteer service – it will be appreciated
- Be proud about joining the thousands of existing volunteers – all helping to make a positive difference
Discover the possibilities and enjoy your journey.
Just like a paid employee each volunteer has rights and responsibilities, these include:
- A job description clearly stating the aim of the job and tasks to be undertaken
- A suitable assignment with consideration for personal preference, temperament, abilities, education and employment background
- Be treated as a co-worker – not just free help
- Know as much about the organisation as possible, its policies, its people and its programs
- Continuing education on the job as follow-up to initial training, information about new developments
- Training for the job, thoughtfully planned and effectively presented
- Sound guidance and direction by someone who is experienced and well informed and who has the time to invest in giving support and supervision
- A place to work which is orderly, designed for the purpose, conducive to work and worthy of the job to be done
- A safe and healthy work environment and appropriate insurance cover for injuries and accidents
- Promotion and variety of experience through advancement to greater responsibilities or by transfer from one activity to another
- Be heard. To have a part in planning, to feel free to make suggestions, to be shown respect for an honest opinion
- Examine motives and be sure that they match the voluntary job
- Understand the purpose and philosophy of the organisation before committing to it
- Understand rules and guidelines of the organisation, including workplace health and safety requirements
- Be loyal to the organisation
- Be willing to train for the job and take part in ongoing training when offered
- Accept support and supervision
- Participate in planning and feedback about the job
- Be reliable
- Work as a team member
- Keep information confidential
(Click here) for an overview of volunteers’ rights and some important points for volunteers to check off with their organisation before volunteering.
- Receive as much effort and service from an unpaid worker as a paid one, even on a short-term basis.
- Expect conscientious acceptance of responsibilities as to promptness, reliability and good performance.
- Expect enthusiasm and belief in the work the organisation is doing.
- Express opinions about poor volunteer effort in a diplomatic way and suggest a change to another job.
- Make a decision as to where the volunteer would best fit.
- Expect from the volunteer clear and open communication at all times.
- Expect loyalty to the agency and only constructive criticism.
- Expect from volunteers given leadership responsibilities, effective work productivity.
- Release an undesirable volunteer, where it is clear that the volunteer is not suitable for the position.
- Plan the volunteer program before recruiting volunteers.
- Recruit, interview and select the right volunteer for the right job.
- Provide written job descriptions and procedures for volunteer jobs.
- Orientate volunteers by providing information about the organisations purpose, structure, programs, policies and procedures.
- Provide initial training and ongoing training and feedback sessions
- Include volunteers in decision making where decisions affect volunteers’ work.
- Keep records of each volunteer’s goals, training and feedback sessions.
- Communicate clear expectations and provide the appropriate support and supervision for volunteers.
- Formally and informally recognise each volunteer’s effects in the organisation. Continually evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of volunteers in the organisation.
- Provide a safe and healthy workplace with appropriate insurance cover for volunteers.
The Definition and Principles of Volunteering are the result of a national consultation undertaken in 1996, with a wide range of stakeholders including: Volunteers, Not-for-Profit organisations, policy makers and Unions.
In 2015, the National Steering Committee reported significant changes to the current definition to include key components: ‘Without financial gain and for the common good’; and to recognise informal acts of volunteering, taken outside formal organisations.
This article investigates the Definitions and Principles of Volunteering and its relationship to formal organisations.
The challenge of recruiting, managing and retaining volunteers has become a hot topic for many not-for-profit organisations. As the reliance on voluntary human resources increases, so does the need to focus on Volunteer Management planning.
Volunteering Services Australia believes one of its most important objectives is to build the sector through the support, encouragement and recognition of people involved in leading volunteer programs.
On this page you will find useful information about the empowerment and encouragement of Volunteer Managers.
In addition, we hold monthly Volunteer Network Managers’ meetings. These meetings focus specifically on topics relevant to managing volunteers and demonstrates remarkable value to all who attend.
Resources for Volunteer Managers
Centrelink Request for Organisation Approval Form – used for approving not-for-profit community organisations wishing to engage unemployed clients in voluntary or community work positions.
Training Resources for Volunteer Managers – Access to the latest free skills training and education resources for volunteers, managers of volunteers, trainers and not-for-profit organisations.
National Standards for Involving Volunteers in Not-for-Profit Organisations – The National Standards have been written with the explicit intention of protecting the volunteer, the volunteer-involving organisation and customer of the organisation. Compliance with the standards will ensure that volunteer rights are protected, their role is explicit and they work in safe and healthy environments.
Volunteering Services Australia encourages all staff and external clients to openly communicate and provide compliments, suggestions for improvement and feedback to assist us to maintain a high standard of service. (For the purposes of this policy all references to ‘staff’ includes both paid and volunteer members of the organisation).
The purpose of this document is to provide an avenue through which staff members and external clients can recognise and make compliments, suggest improvements and / or provide constructive feedback about a member of our staff or services.
- To ensure that all staff and clients have the right to make a compliment, suggestion for improvement or feedback if they have / have not received an appropriate service or service standards.
- To ensure that all who make valid suggestions receive a timely response (if requested) and every endeavour is made to improve the situation reasonably and fairly.
- Pass the details on to the parties concerned.
- Keep a record of your compliment, suggestion or feedback.
- To use the experience as an opportunity for the organisation’s continuous improvement.
Volunteering Services Australia welcomes and encourages valid verbal and / or written compliments, suggestions or feedback and recognises that it is through this process that improvements in services and service delivery may be achieved.
Volunteering Services Australia emphasises the importance of clear and professional communication at all times with staff and clients. This involves listening to all, understanding their requirements, clearly explaining the services offered and keeping them well informed.
Giving a compliment
If you compliment a specific staff member or team, we make sure your compliment is passed on so that they can be recognised for their service to you. If you compliment a service we pass your feedback onto the appropriate supervisor to help them focus on what works well.
Making a suggestion for improvement or providing feedback
Your suggestions for improvement / feedback helps us to maintain a high standard of service and provide services that satisfy your needs.
Form and Compliments Register
Download the Compliment, Suggestion and Feedback Form FORM026. Please fill and submit this form to ensure that any matters are documented, recorded in the Compliments Register and receive prompt attention.
No staff member or client will be intimidated or unfairly treated in any respect if they utilise this Policy to raise a compliment, suggestion for improvement or provide feedback on a staff member and / or service.
Are volunteers covered for insurance?
Volunteering Services Australia ensures that member organisations have adequate insurance before referring volunteers. All volunteers should be covered by their organisation’s insurance. Check with your organisation to find out what the process is.
Are volunteers reimbursed for expenses?
This depends on the organisation and their current financial circumstances. However, some organisations do reimburse volunteers for expenses such as petrol costs for using their own vehicles, or phone call costs that have incurred on behalf of the organisation. Before volunteering, it is important to discover whether or not the organisation covers these costs.
Why are Police Checks and Blue Cards important?
It is necessary for checks to be conducted for some volunteering positions, particularly for those who are working with the elderly, people with disabilities, or children. In these instances, Police checks and/or Blue Cards are required to ensure that the volunteer has been certified or given clearance to work with these demographics. See more about these in our Resources section above.
Do I need specific skills to be a volunteer?
Volunteering is diverse in opportunities so the skills needed are dependant on the type of volunteering role that is being considered. Volunteering Services Australia will match your skills and interests with a suitable role that best utilises your current skills and allows you to develop new skills.
*Prior to searching for available volunteering positions, it is recommended that you identify your existing skills and any skills you would like to develop. This will assist you and our organisation to establish the most fitting volunteer role for you. View our Tips for Volunteers to help you get started.
Is there an age limit for volunteers?
In general, volunteering is not age specific nor is there a globally determined age limit to volunteering. However, age limitations or restrictions often depend on the type of volunteer position and/or are specified in policies that may exclude people of certain ages.
Need Free Legal Advice?
Justice Connect Not-for-profit law is a specialist legal service for community organisations. Not-for-profit Law helps groups by providing free or low cost, high quality practical legal assistance and advocating for improved standards and legal frameworks. More information here.