As a national strategy is being developed, a new report by Volunteering Australia paints a picture of a sector that has been hit hard. Source: Pro Bono News.
Volunteering Australia, which wrote the report, spoke to 400 stakeholders between April and June to hear their thoughts on volunteering in Australia.
The report notes there was “rarely consensus” on the challenges and opportunities available to the sector, highlighting the “the diversity of the ways volunteering takes place”.
It paints a picture of a sector that has been hit hard, but that is ready to take advantage of new opportunities.
One of the key insights from the report is that volunteering has a low profile, rarely recognised or noted in debates on issues like workforce challenges.
Indeed, volunteering’s role in supplementing the paid workforce is often not recognised, the report notes, and there is an “enduring tension between volunteering and paid work”.
According to the report, some people consider what they do to be “helping” rather than volunteering, and different understandings exist around what volunteering is or has to be, especially in the context of Australia’s diverse and multicultural communities. Lack of visibility of volunteering can exacerbate other issues like resourcing and investment in capacity building.
The report notes that diversity in the concept of volunteering “is a strength”, but is often not recognised in policy – something that will need to be taken into account as the strategy is developed.
The development of the National Strategy for Volunteering is ongoing, with researchers now connecting with other stakeholders, before a series of workshops in September to test ideas on the future of volunteering in Australia.
Report finds challenges and opportunities for volunteering (By Danielle Kutchel, Pro Bono News)