Time for a Quality Mark in Volunteering because it matters!
The National Standards for Volunteer Involvement in Australia provide a sound framework for supporting the volunteer sector. The Standards are easy 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.
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.
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.
This is great news for the volunteering sector and for the volunteer management profession. So many of our charity organisations rely on volunteers across the nation. But it is vital that they are being seen to do the right thing by volunteers and those who manage them.
People who may wish to volunteer should have guidance on how organisations value volunteers. In truth organisations that don’t value volunteering effort eventually run into strife anyway as volunteers vote with their feet if they are not treated well or “used” inappropriately.
Organisations that have the ability to resource Human resources and a plethora of other paid positions are doing volunteering a disservice if they engage volunteers but do not resource volunteer management. Volunteers do not come for free. I repeat volunteers do not come for free! Effective volunteer programs are adequately resourced with staff, training, development and recognition budgets.
A quality mark or best practice mark on volunteering standards will not be compulsory for organisations yet but it will push to the forefront those organisations that see the value of volunteering and effective volunteer management.
The Volunteer Management sector must get behind the National Standards as it advances our profession. Volunteers will get behind the National Standards as it goes to their rights and protection and all organisations with volunteers have a duty to implement these well researched industry standards!
Failure to do so may not have consequences as of yet. But if a quality mark is developed and an effective accreditation system put in place organisations that do not get on board will be left behind or volunteers and staff who are passionate about the mission they work for will demand to their leadership that their organisations have standards for volunteer involvement! Bring it on!