Can you identify ways for us to work with organisations to improve volunteering in South Australia?

Now Closed

This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 6 April to 29 May 2020. Find out more about the consultation process. Below is a record of the engagement.

 

We want your help in identifying ways for us to work with organisations to improve volunteering in South Australia.

Look at our four key focus areas and provide your comment below.

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Daniella Nofi

21 May 2020

Thanks for your comment Tony. Volunteering SA&NT's free WeDo App connects volunteers to organisations and makes finding volunteer positions easy. Volunteers can find positions on the go, express interest and apply directly with organisations, log and print a record of volunteer hours, gain points and redeem rewards. Functionality for volunteers to display/advertise their skills and experience sounds like a great feature that could potentially be explored in future upgrades.

Tony Rogers

20 May 2020

Volunteering SA has an excellent site showing volunteer opportunities. What is seriously lacking is a site where volunteers can register/display/advertise their skills and experience so that organisations can find those with particular abilities.

Michael Feszczak

08 Apr 2020

Interesting to read David's comments and the response (which demonstrates that a lot of things are already in place for young people) .
I have the advantage of being involved in many areas across the volunteer sector including supporting community organisations, so am reasonably aware of the work being done to encourage young people.
David talks about supporting and mentoring young people onto committees, and I am aware that a lot of work is being done to include young people by both state and local governments as well as many NFP's.
However, getting skilled people onto committees is becoming a generational issue, not just about young people, but also about the broader community as (all too often) community based organisations tend to have committees made up of the older generations with no successors in sight.
Re succession planning, too many organisations are insular and fear outsiders coming in and having some form of 'control'. I have lost count of the number of times organisations have come to me seeking ways to recruit committee members, and when I ask them what they have done to recruit them, their response is 'we have asked everyone in the organisation'.
As is being experienced by many board managed community centres; legislative compliance, risk management and financial accountability is an ever growing burden on community led organisations. It is no longer good enough to be enthusiastic, a number of different skills and understandings are now required to fulfill all the requirements of running an organisation, many of them time consuming.
One answer is to change the structure of committees. Break up the traditional roles/tasks into bite sized chunks which can be spread across a greater number of people, and is less likely to be a barrier to an individual agreeing to take on or learn a role, including our younger cohort. i.e. How could the tasks of a President/Chair/Secretary etc be shared with a younger (less experienced) cohort?
David also mentions only allowing young people onto a committee when they have proved they have a high level of responsibility. Let's give them roles that are steps towards that.
As for bullying and intimidation, if an organisation has those aspects, they will never retain volunteers, and don't deserve to.

David Beres

06 Apr 2020

One of the key aspects of volunteering that is somewhat lacking is encouragement of younger volunteers to ultimately become committee persons.
I am a President of a public transport advocacy association (South Australian Public Transit Association-SAPTA) we are lucky from October 2019 we have two under 30 year olds on the committee whom are share the role jointly as membership officers. However, as President I know when I first started as secretary of the association before SAPTA the Australian Electric Traction Association- South Australian Division (AETA SA) from the year 2000 I was supported by a great person who gave me the role from 1996 to 2000 as assistant secretary he nurtured and he was my mentor- the late Christopher Steele- he educated me on how to write successful letters to the editor, relevant stakeholders, transport departments plus also members of Parliament. However, he also taught me how to write successful reports and submissions.
However, many years ago a publication came out on how to encourage people to be on a committee and how to teach younger people they are not worthless in a voluntary organisation. Also the Volunteering department put out various courses from Risk Management for Volunteers and how to learn various aspects but sadly what had happened nothing like this happens anymore because Governments want to cut costs and think the volunteers should do everything of their own backs.

We need to encourage younger volunteers to step up to committee level but only when they have shown they are capable there are some organisations out there that give younger members high level of responsibility which they are not only not qualified to do so but feel uncomfortable and the younger volunteer is too scared to admit it for fear of bullying and isolation from the rest of the voluntary organisations membership.

We also as volunteers have to know how to write successful media releases, submissions etc but what we are currently hampered by is a lack of help in the this aspect.

Also many voluntary groups like succession planning- SAPTA believes that any new member could be committee member material if you give them half a chance. Succession planning is never thought of by many groups because they think volunteers will live forever and some just simply don't care because they think "once the oldies go the organisation goes with it".

Government Agency

Department of Human Services > David Beres

08 Apr 2020

Good afternoon David

Thank you for your feedback regarding encouraging young people to volunteer on committees, as well as sharing your personal experience.

When more experience volunteers contribute to the development of youth, it cultivates a sense of purpose and extends benefits both ways. They can help ensure that young people receive the kind of attention and mentoring they often lack, especially among the most vulnerable populations. Their relationships also offer experienced volunteers opportunities to learn about new technology and trends, and experience the pleasure of seeing the world through a younger perspective.

As you are aware there are many 'grassroots associations' operating in Australia today. They include sporting clubs, environmental groups and community service organisations. Despite the importance of these groups for a healthy civil society, evidence suggests that the leadership pool of grassroots associations is declining. The Stepping up or stepping out? Recruitment and retention of volunteer leaders in grassroots associations (http://www.savolunteeringstrategy.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Recruitment-and-retention-of-volunteer-leaders-in-grassroots-associations.pdf) paper investigates the motivations for and barriers to the recruitment and retention of leaders. It ascertains that poor leadership, including the misuse of power within committees, is a significant barrier to committee participation. Recruitment and retention strategies for volunteer leaders are identified, which can help grassroots associations become more sustainable in the long term.

The Volunteering Strategy for SA is also working towards ensuring that all young South Australian’s have the opportunity to benefit from and contribute to a full range of volunteering activities and acknowledges that young people’s input in decision-making is vital. It is for this reason that it has developed a range of resources to achieve effective youth participation, including:

1. webpages for organisations wanting to involve young people:
• About school students as volunteers – information for volunteer-involving organisations (www.education.sa.gov.au/parenting-and-child-care/volunteers/student-volunteers/about-school-students-volunteers-information-volunteer-involving-organisations)
• Getting ready for student volunteers – information for host organisations (www.education.sa.gov.au/parenting-and-child-care/volunteers/student-volunteers/getting-ready-student-volunteers-information-host-organisations)
2. Generic fact sheet to support volunteer-involving organisations to involve young volunteers
• Involving young volunteers (www.volunteeringsa-nt.org.au/assets/vios/volunteer-strategy-flyer-digital.pdf)

Once again, thank you for feedback. We really appreciate you taking the time to share your experience with us. We look forward to keeping you informed on the progress of the development of the second Volunteering Strategy for SA.

Your further feedback is welcome.