Justice Connect Set to Develop National Guide for Volunteering
25 May 2018 at 11:12 am
Charity legal service Justice Connect will use a $250,000 government grant to produce a National Guide for Volunteering, containing legal resources to assist not for profits with volunteer management.
Announced on Wednesday to coincide with National Volunteer Week (21 to 27 May), Justice Connect will use $250,000 in funding from the Department of Social Services (DSS) to develop a full suite of legal resources for NFPs to better manage their volunteers.
Justice Connect CEO Chris Povey, said the organisation would create a vitally needed National Guide for Volunteering to support the NFP sector.
“More than six million Australians volunteer their time to community groups and charities every year. Ensuring these volunteers are properly recruited and supported so they feel fulfilled and are best able to contribute involves time and expertise from the organisation,” Povey said.
“So we’re here to help the helpers. We’re going to produce a full, comprehensive set of resources – from plain English fact sheets all the way through to e-learning and a new app – that will give charities and community groups the skills they need to truly harness the potential of their volunteers.
“Our community groups should be focusing on doing what they do best; everything from running a local surf lifesaving club, to providing safe housing for families escaping domestic violence and local landcare groups working for our environment.”
— Chris Povey (@JConnectCEO) May 23, 2018
Povey said managing volunteers was challenging, and that many small community groups did not have the resources to adequately handle volunteer-related issues.
“The challenge community groups face is the tricks and traps to navigating the laws governing volunteers,” he said.
“Justice Connect’s Not-for-profit Law service has some of Australia’s best legal experts on the laws governing not for profits, and we’ve spent nearly a decade using those skills to build the tools to help these groups.
“Volunteers are the lifeblood of strong, connected communities. With the help of the Department of Social Services, this new national suite of resources will further help organisations recruit, manage and retain their volunteers.”
The DSS funding was provided as part of the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership, which brings together business and community sector leaders to promote philanthropic giving and investment in Australia.
Minister for Social Services Dan Tehan, said Justice Connect would use the grant to strengthen the community sector.
“Australians are generous people, with more than 8.7 million volunteers giving up their time to support others in the community,” Tehan said.
“This program will ensure community organisations understand their responsibilities, rights and applicable protections, which will help them attract more volunteers and keep them safe.”
Volunteering Australia have welcomed the development of these resources.
VA CEO Adrienne Picone told Pro Bono News she was pleased to see that legal resources would be created to support volunteer involving organisations.
“As the national peak body for volunteering, this is a tremendous opportunity to work with Justice Connect to ensure that any resources developed are in line with our National Standards for Volunteer Involvement,” Picone said.
“Volunteering Australia hopes to see further investment by the government in this area, that will also focus on communicating the rights, responsibilities and protections of individual volunteers, who are often unaware of what rights and protections they have under the law.”