National Volunteering Issues Survey Results
21 May 2007 at 3:01 pm
Volunteering Australia’s second annual National Survey of Volunteering Issues, released during National Volunteer Week (May 14-20 2007) has identified that most volunteers are positive about the benefits their work brings to the community.
The survey, which explores known and emerging public policy issues in volunteering and volunteer management practices, also focused upon how volunteers see themselves as contributing to social change or community benefits through their volunteer work.
It found that 70 per cent of volunteers feel empowered to influence decisions in their organisation and its broader objectives. Some volunteers, however, would still like greater opportunities to participate in this way.
Over 3200 volunteers and Not for Profit organisations participated in the 2007 survey.
Ian Rentsch, President of Volunteering Australia, says volunteers not only make a positive difference to the organisations they work with, but more importantly, they make a positive difference to the lives of the users or clients of those services.
Of those surveyed, 99% feel their work as a volunteer makes a difference to their organisation and what they are trying to achieve.
The survey also reveals volunteer out-of-pocket expenses associated with volunteering continue to be a major issue for both volunteers, and the Not for Profit organisations involving them.
The volunteer survey show expenses continue to undermine the voluntary contribution in Australia, with the desire or ability of individual volunteers to participate in volunteering being adversely affected in some cases.
The survey canvassed a range of policy issues in volunteering and found that, alongside the costs of volunteering, criminal history checks for volunteers and occupational health and safety also had significant impacts on organisations and volunteers in the past 12 months.
Here’s a snapshot of the results:
– 97% of organisations surveyed rate volunteer recruitment as an issue of importance to their organisation.
– 81% of volunteers surveyed ‘would personally appreciate’ having their volunteer work recognised in the form of opportunities to develop their skills.
– 79% of volunteers surveyed identified flexible volunteering hours as important to them.
– 23% of organisations surveyed identified their organisation as having implemented the National Standards for Involving Volunteers in Not for Profit Organisations
– 42% of volunteers surveyed do not have a clear, written job description for their role.
– 28% of volunteers surveyed said that they have been aware of confusion, uncertainty or conflict between the roles of volunteers and paid employees in their organisation.
Volunteering Australia says taken as a whole, the survey results indicate that many ‘best practice’ volunteer management strategies are being adopted by volunteer-involving organisations, but that for many organisations there is some way to go in terms of ensuring volunteers experience the full benefits of these approaches
By way of background, the National Survey of Volunteering Issues explored known and emerging issues in volunteering and volunteer management practices. The 2007 survey had two major themes.
The first theme was an exploration of how volunteers see themselves as contributing to social change or community benefits through their volunteer work. The second related to how volunteering-related public policy issues were impacting volunteers and organisations that involve volunteers.
The survey is conducted online each year and incorporates two subsidiary surveys; one survey for volunteers and one for volunteer-involving NFP organisations. More than 3730 volunteers and organisations from all states and territories participated in the 2007 survey.