Today, December 5th, is International Volunteer Day. A day that was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1985 in recognition of the wonderful work that volunteers do around the globe to help make our world a better place.
In Australia, research showed that last year 38% of the adult population were volunteers. That’s over 6 million Australians donating their time to a local community club or cause close to their heart; a figure that has doubled since 2005.
Last week, the Gold Coast hosted the National Conference on Volunteering for about 400 delegates. At this event, the Australian Government announced its plan for supporting volunteering in our country for the next ten years. The strategy focuses on 6 main areas: responding to trends in volunteering; harnessing technology; getter regulation and risk management; strengthening management and training; strengthening relationships and advocacy; and recognising and valuing volunteering. At first glance, the strategy seems like a great pathway for growing the number of community members in volunteering.
The National Survey of Volunteering Issues 2011, conducted by Volunteering Australia, found that 20% of volunteers felt the organisation that they volunteer with had not recognised or acknowledged them suitably in the past three months. This is an important area that charities cannot afford to forget; volunteers simply will not continue if they are not thanked appropriately.
The majority of organisations involved in the survey – 68% – said that they needed more volunteers into the future. So surely, by treating them well and thanking them often charities will have the opportunity to encourage more volunteers to join their cause.
See you in the Pond,
The Fish Chick.
P.S If you’re interested in reading more, the key findings of the 2011 volunteer survey can be found here.