Editors Note: This is concerning as the effectiveness of various disability services depends on the involvement of volunteers. Disability services must do more to attract volunteers and work with them effectively.
Perhaps potential volunteers think the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) is going to pay people for providing all the services and their volunteer efforts aren’t required anymore?
Or Volunteers just wanted to be treated more professionally and respectfully?
What do you think? Let us know in the comments

A new report has found that 86 per cent of volunteer involving organisations are struggling to get the numbers they need they need, with volunteers deterred by factors such as personal expense, red tape and a lack of flexibility.

The 2016 State of Volunteering in Australia report was launched by Volunteering Australia at the National Volunteering Conference in Canberra on Wednesday.

Compiled by Volunteering Australia with the assistance of PwC, it analyses the findings from a national survey of 2,304 volunteers, volunteer involving organisations and for the first time corporates.

The report found that while 86 per cent of volunteer involving organisations say they need more volunteers, they face the following obstacles with 30 per cent saying they were not able to engage the optimal amount because there were not enough suitable candidates or there was no means of locating them.

Other factors included internal barriers such as time constraints (12 per cent) and limitations stemming from an inadequate funding base (12 per cent).

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Fifty-one per cent of organisations do not have the resources to recruit or engage volunteers with barriers.

The report said that the biggest barrier to people volunteering into the future was work commitments and out-of-pocket expenses incurred through volunteering

“The most important forms of support for volunteer involving organisations into the future is information and training around volunteer management, networking with other organisations and the ability to connect with volunteer management experts,” the report said.

Key Findings

  1. Responses suggest there is a disconnect between the volunteering roles that people are interested in and the roles that organisations are offering.
  2. There is misalignment between the sectors volunteers are interested in and the sectors with the most positions advertised.
  3. There is support for the creation of an informal volunteering platform.
  4. Volunteers are deterred from volunteering because of a lack of flexibility, personal expenses incurred, lack of reimbursement of out of pocket expenses, and burdensome administrative requirements.
  5. Volunteer involving organisations generally lack resources, both human and financial, and this can inhibit their ability to engage volunteers with barriers (e.g. people with a disability, people with language barriers).
  6. Lack of resources may also reduce an organisation’s ability to recognise their existing volunteer base, and engage with corporates through Employee Volunteering Programs.
  7. Volunteers are not getting responses from volunteer involving organisations about opportunities fast enough.
  8. Online methods of recruitment and volunteering could complement the needs of future volunteers.

“The primary aim of the report is to capture important details of the trends, demographics, challenges and successes of volunteering and civic participation – critical to the social, economic and cultural wellbeing of Australia and Australians,” CEO of Volunteering Australia,  Brett Williamson OAM said.

“This report takes on special significance given recent ABS figures stating that the rates of formal volunteering have declined for the first time in 20 years. Now is the time for the government, corporates and volunteering sector to invest in the future of volunteering by being innovative in the ways we attract and support volunteers.

“Whilst the report’s findings are generally encouraging, with 99 per cent of current volunteers indicating they intend to continue to volunteer in the future, the downside is that 86 per cent of volunteer involving organisations state that they need more volunteers and resources.

“The evidence also suggests that people are deterred from volunteering because of the lack of flexibility, personal expenses and red-tape burdens.”

In 2015 Volunteering Australia announced a new contemporary and inclusive definition of volunteering: “Volunteering is time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain.”

In light of this new definition, the State of Volunteering in Australia report investigated informal volunteering for the first time.

“46 per cent of respondents have undertaken informal volunteering, predominantly by taking care of someone in the community. These grassroots connections between people are essential to our civil society – one finding has suggested that we should look at creating a platform where people can connect to help each other in informal ways,” Williamson said

“The findings of this report will strategically influence the work of Volunteering Australia and its State and Territory peaks, to future-proof the volunteering sector.”

This article comes from Pro Bono Australia. The original can be found here.

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