Framework for best practice in volunteer management

The National Standards for Volunteer Involvement provide a framework for organisations to consider the role of volunteers within the organisation and the impact effective volunteer involvement can have on achieving the strategic goals and aims of the organisation.

There are 8 standards addressing the key areas of volunteer involvement:

  1. Leadership and management
  2. Commitment to volunteer involvement
  3. Volunteer roles
  4. Recruitment and selection
  5. Support and development
  6. Workplace safety and well-being
  7. Volunteer recognition
  8. Quality management and continuous improvement

The National Standards have been designed to help organisations:

  • Incorporate the values and maximise the benefits of volunteer involvement
  • Develop effective volunteer involvement strategies and practices
  • Involve volunteers in meaningful and useful activities that contribute to the outcomes of the organisation’s work
  • Ensure the rights of volunteers are protected and that they are supported to carry out their roles and responsibilities.

National Standards Self-Assessment Tool

This online tool measures your organisation’s performance with volunteer involvement and helps achieve best practice, ultimately improving the organisation’s ability to attract and retain volunteers.

  • Assess your organisation’s performance against the Standards.
  • Identify actions required to achieve compliance with the Standards.
  • Automatically generated action plan for good practice.
  • Great workflow management tools – add staff/team members as users, assign them actions and set-up weekly action reminders.
  • Templates to assist with volunteer management.

Visit the BNG NGO Services Online website for more information and to subscribe to the Volunteering Australia Self-Assessment Tool.

How we can help.

The Centre for Volunteering runs a number of practical workshops for Volunteer Involving Organisations and Volunteer Managers on Implementing The National Standards.  We also run a free 2 hour National Standards ‘Health Check’ for members.

For more information on workshops contact us at svmadmin@volunteering.com.au.

To book a free National Standards ‘Health Check’ contact our membership team at membership@volunteering.com.au

National Standards Workshop

Two half-day workshops are offered to assist organisations to prepare and plan for their implementation of the Standards with the guidance of our experienced facilitators and with support from the sector. A morning workshop gives participants knowledge of the Standards (great for senior managers and boards) and the afternoon session looks specifically at implementing the 8 Standards. Workshop objectives include:

  • Gain an understanding of the benefits of implementation
  • Assess the gaps of your organisation
  • Manage the necessary change
  • Begin an action plan

To find out more about National Standards Workshops being held by contacting us at svm@volunteering.com.au

National Standards Guide and Workbook

This Guide and Workbook is designed as a systematic and ‘user friendly’ method for implementing the National Standards in your organisation. It contains a comprehensive set of instructions and resources to guide you task-by-task through the implementation process.

This resource is suitable for anyone who wants to implement the National Standards or whose job it is to involve volunteers. When used in conjunction with the National Standards, the Workbook will help you to determine where you need to make improvements in your system for managing volunteer involvement. Importantly, it will also enable you to identify your strengths – what you are currently doing well.

The guide and workbook is available for $25 members and $30 others. Contact us for a copy.

NOTE:  The National Standards for Volunteer Involvement (2015) are the intellectual property of Volunteering Australia. They are recognised within Australia as the best practice framework for volunteer involvement. As the owners of the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement, Volunteering Australia has endorsed its Foundation Members, the State and Territory Peak Bodies for Volunteering, as being the sole organisations authorised to deliver training and develop resources on the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement. Any unauthorised use of the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement is strictly prohibited.

Additionally, Volunteering Australia will be developing a flexible, tiered voluntary certification, or ‘Quality Mark’ system to enable organisations to check how they are tracking in implementing the Standards.

Policies and Procedures

A good set of Policies and Procedures helps prevent incidences and helps protect volunteers and the organisation. The Centre for Volunteering recommends organisations check every year for continuous improvement that your Policies and Procedures are up-to-date. If you don’t have any, or you want to check yours against industry good practice. This includes the following:

Code of practice

  • Define volunteer roles and develop clear job descriptions
  • Ensure that the work of volunteers complements but does not undermine the work of paid staff
  • Interview and employ volunteer staff in accordance with anti-discrimination and EEO legislation
  • Provide volunteer staff with orientation and training
  • Provide volunteer staff with a healthy and safe workplace
  • Provide appropriate and adequate insurance coverage
  • Don’t place volunteer staff in roles previously held by paid staff or have been identified as paid roles or to cover for paid staff shortage
  • Provide appropriate levels of support and management
  • Provide copies of policies and procedures
  • Provide volunteer staff with information on grievance and disciplinary policies and practices
  • Acknowledge the rights of volunteer staff
  • Offer volunteers the opportunity for professional development
  • Reimburse volunteers for out-of-pocket expenses incurred
  • Treat volunteers as valuable team members and advise them of the opportunities to participate in agency decisions
  • Acknowledge the contributions of volunteer staff.

Model Code of Practice from Volunteering Australia 2005 (updated by Volunteering WA 2018)

National Standards for Volunteer Involvement

The National Standards for Volunteer Involvement were developed in consultation with the volunteering sector across Australia during 2015. This was done to support the involvement of volunteers and act as a resource for organisations in which volunteers are involved.

The Standards provide a sound framework for supporting the volunteer sector in Australia. The Standards are adaptable to different organisation types and different forms of volunteering which reflect the diversity of this growing sector.

Direct benefits to organisations

  • They provide good practice guidance and benchmarks to help organisations attract, manage and retain volunteers, and
  • Help manage risk and safety in their work with volunteers.

Direct benefits to volunteers

  • They help improve the volunteer experience

The National Standards have been designed to help organisations

  • Incorporate the values and maximise the benefits of volunteer involvement
  • Develop effective volunteer involvement strategies and practices
  • Involve volunteers in meaningful and useful activities that contribute to the outcomes of the organisation’s work
  • Ensure the rights of volunteers are protected and that they are supported to carry out their roles and responsibilities

An organisation that is able to demonstrate compliance with the standards is strategically well positioned to recruit and retain more volunteers, as well as attract funding or sponsorship for new initiatives.

Please Note that this information does not purport to be legal advice.  Should you require specific legal advice in relation to your programs, you should speak to your own legal practitioner.