Progress on Volunteering National Standards Review
20 August 2009 at 3:19 pm
The first stage of a national review of Standards for Involving Volunteers in Not for Profit Organisations has seen a call for a refinement in the approach to managing volunteers rather than a major re-write.
Volunteering Australia carried out Phase 1 of the review via an online survey; face to face meetings with state volunteering centres; forums with volunteer resource centres; and with feedback from organisations that had implemented the National Standards.
The Review has delivered 15 recommendations for consideration by Volunteering Australia.
VA Policy Officer Sandra Wilson says in the Review’s executive summary that overall, the current National Standards were found to be comprehensive, clear and relevant to organisations involving volunteers.
Wilson says the review found that the National Standards would benefit from some refinements and additions rather than from a significant rewrite. Interestingly, she says respondents highlighted a variety of ways they use the National Standards and this flexibility will need further exploration when considering the design of tools supporting implementation processes.
She says while respondents were supportive of the National Standards to measure best practice, their ability to adhere to the eight elements was found to be dependent on the physical and material resource base of the organisation rather than any issue related to sector.
She says part of the attraction of the National Standards is that they are designed to be generic in nature and therefore negate concerns of sector specificity.
The review recommends among its 15 recommendations that Volunteering Australia develops focused promotional material with a greater emphasis on other sectors outside the Community/welfare sector that involve large numbers of volunteers e.g. Sport/recreation, Emergency services.
It recommends exploring the possibility of adopting a broader definition to encompass the needs of both resource-poor and well resourced organisations.
It also recommends developing supporting tools that greater articulate how the National Standards support organisations in meeting a changing environment.
Wilson says accreditation of the National Standards was viewed very favourably.
She says this will be explored fully in Phase 2. In the development of any accreditation model, consideration will be given to organisations that have previously adopted the National Standards so that they can be accredited in accordance with ‘best practice’ principles of volunteer management.
Volunteering Australia is currently developing a timeline and costing for the second phase of this review process.
The Review can be downloaded at www.volunteeringaustralia.org