Conflict is more commonplace than you think. But it can be resolved with the help of Voluntas!

There are various situations in which conflict can arise when you’re volunteering. If you need help dealing with conflict in the workplace you can contact us at The Centre and we will discuss the situation with you (confidentially). If appropriate, we will pass your details on to Volantas who will talk with you further about their volunteer conflict resolution and mediation services.

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How can we address conflict in a positive manner?

Conflict is a part of everyday life and comes from differences between individuals or individuals and organisations. Conflict can bring about positive change as they provide opportunities for improvement.

How we engage and communicate with the other party involved can affect the resolution process. One way to ensure a more positive response is by “framing the conversation” for conflict resolution.

Below is a video that provides you with the steps to this method that will help bring about a calm and constructive conversation!

What is Voluntas and how does this program work?

Voluntas is a group of like-minded people including mediation professionals and members of volunteer and not-for-profit (NFP) organisations.

The Voluntas program focuses on helping volunteers and volunteer managers to have constructive conversations. This help is provided by accredited mediators free of charge to the volunteer or organisation. The service is confidential.

Why develop this volunteer conflict resolution program?

Conflict is a part of everyday life. Most people and organisations resolve conflict themselves. Unresolved conflicts and badly managed disputes, however, give rise to risks and costs that damage volunteers and their organisations.

Volunteers and volunteer managers often don’t know where to get help if they are experiencing conflict. Plus volunteers and NFPs generally have little or no budget for professional mediation services.

Assistance is sometimes necessary to transform conflict through constructive conversations which can prevent conflict from escalating and resolve conflicts more quickly.

The aim of this program is to enable mediation professionals to offer their expertise for free to the volunteering sector. For mediators it provides them with opportunities to be mentored and supported whilst practising and developing their skills.

How is The Centre for Volunteering involved?

The Centre for Volunteering is the first contact point. Volunteers and organisations contact us if they would like assistance. We then pass on basic details to Voluntas who assess whether a mediator can help. Voluntas will contact the individual requesting the service. Any inquiries or referrals are completely confidential.

What happens after The Centre refers the case?

There are 5 steps after the case is referred:

  • 1. If assessed to be suitable for the program Voluntas will refer the conflict to an appropriate nationally accredited mediator
  • 2. The mediator will contact the participants to confirm that they agree to receiving assistance and then assess if the dispute is appropriate to mediate.
  • 3. The mediator will arrange the process including any preliminary meetings
  • 4. Voluntas and the mediator will organise venues and make other arrangements
  • 5. Participants and organisations will be asked to evaluate the service and share their story in an unidentifiable way.

What situations would this service be suitable to help?

Some situations that could potentially benefit from this service:

  • Conflict or argument between volunteers or between volunteers and their supervisors
  • Argument between volunteers and volunteer organisations and stakeholders
  • Disagreement about a volunteer role
  • Complaints about volunteer recognition, engagement or reimbursement of expenses
  • Concerns about volunteer treatment, suggestions of discrimination, harassment or bullying

What if my case is not considered suitable for mediation?

If your situation is assessed as being unlikely to be assisted by this service the mediator will explain why. For instance, it may be a highly complex legal or financial issue and therefore not suitable. The mediator may suggest other avenues for dispute resolution, including Community Justice Centres, which also provide free services in relation to disputes.

How can I participate?

If you are experiencing conflict and wish to access to this service contact us by email or call 9261 3600.