The resource hub recharging Australian volunteering
1 March 2021 at 5:22 pm
A new online hub features 350 resources including videos, templates, guides, research, and factsheets for volunteer managers
Volunteering Australia is launching an online resource hub to help reignite and strengthen Australian volunteering in a post-pandemic world.
The hub brings together over 350 templates, videos, guides, and research to support volunteer managers to re-engage volunteers after COVID-19, manage the mental health and wellbeing of volunteers, and recruit younger volunteers.
Mark Pearce, the CEO of Volunteering Australia, told Pro Bono News that while there was a wealth of information out there for managing various aspects of the sector, this was the first time it was all in one place.
“All the information in the hub is based on national, best-practice standards, is free and available in a central location for volunteer managers,” Pearce said.
The timing is right
More than half of all respondents from a recent Volunteering Australia survey reported needing more volunteers for their organisation, while four in 10 respondents (41 per cent) said they were finding it difficult to re-engage or recruit volunteers.
Pearce said these findings made clear the need for an extra boost to reignite the volunteer workforce post 2020.
“Volunteers are needed more than ever to ensure economic recovery and social stability. Although volunteering is time freely given, enabling volunteering is not free,” he said.
“Volunteers need managers to induct, train, lead, guide, recognise and support them to continue their invaluable contribution to Australian communities.”
With many volunteers aged 65 and over unable to offer their services due to health risks, he said that much of the knowledge around how to manage volunteers had disappeared.
“A lot of these older volunteers may have carried a lot of that information in their heads,” Pearce said.
“So for younger people coming into organisations, they are now able to go to a central point to see how volunteers can be managed.”
Path to recognition
Funding for the resource hub has come from the Department of Social Services, something that Pearce said signalled a realisation from government of the impact volunteering had within the community, society and the economy.
“We know from the research that we did with Australian National University last year, that two in every three volunteers stopped volunteering during COVID-19,” he said.
“When you apply that sort of statistic to the six million formal volunteers who are suddenly not there, it makes a huge difference to the contribution of the community.”
He said that pushing for the government to develop a national volunteering strategy would remain a top priority for Volunteering Australia in 2021.
“I think that the government is developing a better understanding now, but it’s a journey,” he said.
Access the Volunteering Resource Hub here.