Managing volunteers

July 6, 2012 by J-Wire
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Volunteer management was the hot topic at Jewish community organisations this week, following a consultation about a potential Jewish Care Victoria and Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) sponsored Volunteer Resource Centre (VRC).

Michelle Coleman

The VRC aims to be a one-stop shop in the recruitment, matching, referral and training of local volunteers to support the Victorian Jewish community.
JCCV Executive Director Michelle Coleman introduced more than 30 community professionals who attended to various models as to how a community VRC could work.
Coleman said that the VRC aimed to increase volunteering in the Jewish community, ensure a steady supply of job-ready volunteers for community organisations, increase service delivery within the community and ultimately strengthen the community as a whole.
“Think of it as a recruitment agency for volunteers,” Coleman said. She added that the VRC would make volunteering easy and convenient, and avoid duplication of volunteer management related administrative tasks by community organisations.
The feedback from the attending organisations was generally positive, with some concerns expressed about costs and the ability of organisations to approach volunteers independently.
The consultation was conducted in conjunction with a session on ‘Contemporary Volunteering’ as part of the JCCV’s regular professional networking series. It was introduced by Mary Scott, Jewish Care’s General Manager People and Culture.
Adriana Smith, Volunteer Resource Program Manager at Jewish Care, explored recent trends in volunteering and how these impact on both organisations and the community. She explained that volunteers today are time poor, want flexibility, and like to get involved with roles that utilise technology.
“They are far more likely to volunteer for specific time-limited projects – a phenomenon known as episodic volunteering – than for regular ongoing volunteer work,” she said.
Smith also recommended that for an organisation to successfully manage volunteers, it should look to the National Standards for Involving Volunteers and “treat your volunteers the same as you treat your paid staff.”

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