It is important that you prepare your organisation for volunteers. Here are some initial questions, which can help you plan your volunteer program:

Reasons for involving volunteers and the mutual benefits

  • What is the key reason(s) for having a volunteer program?
  • What do volunteers offer?
  • What does the organisation offer volunteers?

By asking these fundamental questions, you can ensure you engage and work with volunteers in accordance with your mission and in the most effective way possible.

The organisational culture

  • What are the attitudes, beliefs and traditions that are fundamental to who you are as an organisation?
  • What impression and impact will your current staff and culture have on new volunteers?
  • What are your attitudes and beliefs in regards to volunteers?
  • How welcoming is your organisation?

These attitudes and beliefs inform the way you work with volunteers. If the program is to be successful, it is critical that the organisational culture is welcoming and valuing of volunteers.

Roles and responsibilities

  • Where are the areas of potential jobs for volunteers?
  • Have these roles been clearly articulated and communicated?
  • Who will supervise and support volunteers?
  • What jobs are appropriate for volunteers who may only work for one or two days a week?
  • How much flexibility can you allow around roles and responsibility?

These questions will help you develop volunteer job roles and ensure that they have adequate supervision. It will also assist you in being realistic about how many volunteers you can supervise and support.

Resources for community involvement in your program

  • What resources (physical, financial and human) will you need within your organisation to sustain a healthy volunteer program?
  • Are you able to get ongoing funding to continue the program?
  • Have you identified leaders with adequate time to coordinate and support volunteers?

Volunteer programs require substantial resources to be effective. You will need to consider resources such as physical space and resources to do the job, as well as financial resources for everything from insurance to recognition events. Perhaps the least recognised resource requirement is that of time.

Barriers to community involvement

  • What obstacles do volunteers face that might prevent them from joining or working within your organisation?
  • If you have attempted to develop a volunteer program before and it has not been successful, why has this been so?
  • Can you develop strategies to overcome these issues?

By examining barriers, we can develop strategies to overcome or address the most significant ones.

Once you have considered these questions, you will need to decide how your program will work. The volunteer management system should provide a planned approach to how the volunteer program is to be managed and a means of determining whether the program is achieving what it was established to do. One model for developing your program can be seen in the National Standards for Involving Volunteers in Non-Profit Organisations.

Factors to be included in a volunteer management system:

Policy and procedure

These should establish a commitment to the importance of volunteer participation. Most organisation policies will apply equally to volunteers. Additional policies may include: reimbursement of expenses such as travel; volunteer recognition; definition of a volunteer; insurance; scope of volunteer involvement; plus minimum and maximum time commitment.

Record systems

It is essential that all volunteer programs have available an efficient way to collect, store and retrieve essential data and information about the program. It is essential that personal data about individual volunteers be maintained confidentially in whatever form it is stored.

Appropriate risk management processes

For more information on volunteer risk management please refer to the Risk Managment and Insurance section of the Community Door website.

There are also a range of risk management resources and information for those working with volunteers available on the Volunteering Queensland website in the resource section for nonprofits.

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The Queensland Volunteering Awards 2018 will be held on 25 May 2018 at Brisbane City Hall. It will be a wonderful celebration in the presence of the Governor of Queensland His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC. Nominees receive a complimentary invitation to the presentation. Nominators,...
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National Volunteer Week is an annual celebration to acknowledge the generous contribution of our nation's volunteers. From 21-27 May 2018, thousands of events will be held across the country to say thank you to the six million Australians who volunteer their time. The week-long celebrations will...
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Scholarships are available for individuals wanting to attend the National Volunteering Conference in Sydney. The Department of Social Services scholarship program supports the attendance and participation of delegates from regional, remote and rural communities and those experiencing financial...
Blue card services has announced a new online form which allows applicants to click through to complete. The new form is part of a commitment by Blue Card Services to streamline the application process. The form has built-in smarts to make sure all the information required is provided on the first...
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Volunteering Queensland offers accredited training for volunteer managers with a Certificate IV in Coordination of volunteer programs. The qualification is appropriate for workers who are responsible for the coordination of volunteers within a program or organisation. Volunteer coordinators provide...
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Super early bird registrations are now open for the 17th National Volunteering Conference held 20-22 June 2018 at the International Convention Centre, in Sydney. The conference theme this year is 'Ignite, Invigorate, Inspire'. The 2018 conference will provide a forum for not-for-profit, managers of...
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The 2018 Queensland Volunteering Awards are now open for nominations. These awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding achievements of volunteers, volunteer managers and volunteer-involving organisations, and promote the importance of volunteering. This year alone 980,000 individual...
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International Volunteer Day is celebrated worldwide, on 5 December, to recognise the positive solidarity of volunteers around the world. Estimates suggest that there are a billion people in the world who volunteer each year and those numbers rise when tragedy strikes. In Queensland, alone, more...
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We have launched a brand new course on the Community Door eTraining website which provides an introduction to the social service sector in Queensland for managers and organisations new to the sector. It is free for anyone to access. It features a profile of the sector in Queensland, insights into...
Volunteering Queensland’s State Volunteering Conference will take place on Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 June, in Brisbane. The conference will offer attendees strategies and good practices to maximise the contribution of volunteers and enhance the impact of a volunteer program. There will be the...

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Are you looking for support in Queensland, or trying to find a service that meets your needs? Now you can search oneplace , the service directory hosted by the Queensland Family and Child Commission. oneplace is an easily accessible directory of community services to help Queensland families to get...
Volunteering Services Australia (VSA) is a national network of community development services, that aim to assist the hundreds of not-for-profit and charitable organisations with the recruitment and management of volunteers. It is a member-based organisation committed to community engagement and...
The Queensland Disaster Management website and the Get Ready website have a range of information and useful resources that can assist you to plan and prepare for an emergency. As part of your preparedness and planning for weather events, access regular weather forecast updates from the Bureau of...
A Blue Card Services online learning portal has been launched. The portal contains 10 videos which provide an overview of the legal requirement for organisations to develop a child and youth risk management strategy. View these resources on the Blue Card Services website .
The Community Resource Handbooks were launched by Volunteering Queensland on 12 May 2015. They consolidate the knowledge gained through Volunteering Queensland's community leadership work with more than 2,000 community groups over the past fifteen years. The handbooks are aimed at small to medium...
Industrial relations legislation in Queensland can be found on the Fair Work Commission's website . The main pieces of legislation are: Fair Work Act 2009 Fair Work Regulations 2009 Fair Work Commission Rules 2013
There are a range of legal structures which may be suitable for Queensland not-for-profit community groups. The four main options are: an incorporated association: Associations Incorporation Act 1981 (QLD) and Associations Incorporation Regulation 1999 (QLD) a company limited by guarantee:...
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December is the perfect month to do some good by helping those most in need over the festive season.

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