Home' Community Care Review : CCR MAY 2016 Contents Volunteering: fast facts
• Volunteers provide more than 6.7 million hours of
volunteer service in community aged care every year
• Some 5.8 million Australians formally volunteered in
2014 contributing an estimated 743 million hours to
• People aged 35-44 are the most likely to be volunteers
• More women volunteer than men
• Volunteering has declined over the past 5 years.
SOURCES: Aged Care Census and Workforce Survey 2012; State of
Volunteering in Australia 2016.
given ongoing training and support -- much like the paid workforce.
Feros Care says its volunteer program is professionally run,
with all volunteers officially recruited, registered and trained by the
organisation prior to undertaking any tasks.
"Our volunteers go through a comprehensive orientation
program, similar to our staff orientation program," says Buckley.
"This gives them a thorough overview of the organisation, the
different business arms, and introduces them to many of the staff
and management team.
"Feros Care supports the ongoing education of our volunteers.
Over the past year, volunteers have not only completed mandatory
training but have also attended external courses in first aid, an
introduction to aged care and education about dementia, as well as
the internal education provided as part of the volunteer meetings."
Similarly, MoW SA reports its volunteers receive an initial
orientation and induction according to their main role, with
appropriate training at their allocated branch.
"They are supported in practical ways with things like insurance
cover, driver reimbursement, and recognition of service," says Broer.
"We support our volunteers through our branch support officers,
who regularly meet with branches to discuss and share knowledge
and experience as well as assist in implementing programs.
"Volunteers are also encouraged to attend regular workshops and
provide feedback on process/quality improvements."
RESOLVING ISSUES, CHALLENGES
Despite the best ongoing training and support, HR issues and
challenges can sometimes arise, and providers need to respond
For instance, MoW says it acknowledges that risks do not
discriminate whether the worker is paid or voluntary, so it maintains
high standards of duty of care to both volunteers and customers.
MoW says that volunteers tend to dislike red tape, and so is
mindful when rolling out new processes and policy that it's made as
easy as possible for all.
For example, to ensure a smooth process to meet the statutory
requirement for police checks for all volunteers MoW set up local
peer volunteers to conduct the 100-point checks.
The organisation also advocates at a policy level for the
introduction of volunteer cards that can be used for multiple
DOING IT WELL: ADVICE TO OTHERS
Much like paid workers, successfully recruiting and retaining
volunteers requires a deliberate and considered approach, and
surveys have identified what volunteers appreciate from the
organisations to which
they give up their
Australia State of
Volunteering in Australia
2016 report, released in
April, found that what
motivated volunteers the
most was an opportunity
to give back to the community, followed by a personal belief in the
cause, and the chance to make a difference.
When asked how organisations could improve their volunteer
experience -- training and professional development opportunities
and more frequent feedback featured high on the list of responses.
Indeed, Buckley advises community care providers that they
must "never underestimate the value volunteers bring to an
organisation." She points out that volunteers are there because they
believe in the provider's cause. "They want to volunteer with you,
and they are one of your biggest advocates," she says.
Similarly, MoW advises fellow services looking to utilise more
volunteers that they value and have regard for their volunteers.
"Provide meaningful roles that are well explained and well thought
out," says Broer.
"It's important to have empathy -- place yourself in their shoes.
Recognise your volunteers by acknowledging their service and
contribution as regularly as you can. Respect them and be caring --
understand that they are giving their time to undertake roles that
they do not have to do. And provide roles that the volunteers can
use or retain current skills as well acquire new skills," she says. n
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