National Standards for Volunteer Involvement

National Standards for Volunteer Involvement

The new National Standards for Volunteer Involvement have been significantly rewritten. They are now clear, easy to understand and simple to use. They also take into account an organisation’s size, and the different types of volunteering.

Volunteering Australia’s new National Standards for Volunteer Involvement were launched on Monday 11 May 2015 to mark the beginning of National Volunteer Week 2015 (11-17 May). The new Standards incorporate significant changes to the original standards in order to reflect best practice in volunteer management in Australia’s current work environment.

The Standards provide a sound framework for supporting the volunteer sector in Australia. The Standards are much easier to follow and 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.
Download National Standards for Volunteer Involvement

Following the standards will ensure that volunteer rights are protected, that their role is clear and that they work in a safe and healthy environment. Many organisations use the National Standards as the basis for their Code of practice.

Not for profit organisations can use the National Standards in a number of ways:

  • As an audit tool that provides an overall appreciation of where the organisation is placed with respect to best management practice for volunteer involvement
  • As a guideline or checklist to help identify opportunities for making improvements
  • As a framework of reference to assist in planning and establishing a new volunteer service
  • As a baseline from which progress in making improvements can be monitored and measured

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

The National Standards are not mandatory. It’s also worth noting that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to implementing these standards – it depends on the size and type of your organisation. You may wish to identify the areas that are of most relevance and importance to your program right now and focus on those – you don’t have to start at number one and work your way down the list!

The National Standards are supported by an implementation Guide and Workbook which are available to borrow from the Centacare Volunteer Service resource library.

The Gap Assessment can be downloaded here. This step involves identifying the gap between how volunteer involvement is currently managed in your organisation and how it should be managed, as required by the National Standards. This step will identify the areas where improvement needs to be made.