Future of Volunteering Peak Still Uncertain
25 September 2014 at 11:21 am
The future of the national volunteering peak body remains in doubt, with no future funding commitments and a lack evidence-based data collection, the organisation’s CEO has said.
Chief Executive Officer of Volunteering Australia (VA) Brett Williamson told Pro Bono Australia News that it was difficult for the organisation to plan for the future while battling two major uncertainties.
Williamson said VA was waiting to see if it would receive Federal Government funding beyond the end of December.
“Volunteering Australia isn’t alone in that. We received six months of extra funding from the Department of Social Services in June,” Williamson said.
“We are anxiously awaiting to see the results of deliberations within the department to see if we will receive any grants from January 2015.”
“We expect to find out (if we will receive funding) by October. Hopefully that will be the case.
“It is impacting negatively on our plans and budgets for the future. We are holding our breath waiting for October to roll around.”
He refused to speculate on what would happen to VA if it did not receive funding, saying “we will cross that bridge when we get there”.
Williamson also said that he was waiting to see if the Australian Bureau of Statistics would continue to collect figures on the volunteering sector after it was announced that the national statistics collator had to cut its expenditure by $50 million over three years.
“It appears that the ABS has already made a decision and we are seeking some clarification on that,” he said.
“We’re very keen to understand or get some assurance that the ABS will continue to collect data on volunteering.
“It’s very hard to create and develop informed policy without evidence. We’ll be very disappointed if that (data collection) doesn’t continue.”
Williamsons comments come after the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) hosted its world conference in the Gold Coast recently.
Williamson said the conference found that volunteering methods in Australia and around the world were changing.
“One lesson to emerge is that Not for Profits, corporates and Governments must adapt if the next generation is to fill the volunteering shoes of their parents and grandparents. The voices of young volunteers must be heard,” he said.
“That means refreshing the image of volunteering, using new media to engage them and creating opportunities that suit their lifestyle.”
As he approaches his first year in the top job at VA, Williamson said he had found the job rewarding and challenging.
“There have been some challenges,” he said.
“One thing I am very grateful for is the support and the way VA is working with the various state peak bodies.”