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How to attract, engage and relate to volunteers

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The National Survey invites views and experiences from volunteers, managers of volunteers, organisations that involve volunteers, businesses with employee volunteering programs.

The feedback received helps keep the sector and the government up-to-date with known and emerging issues that impact volunteers and volunteering in Australia.

The 2009 survey attracted a record number of participants with more than 3,700 respondents taking part, ensuring a wide cross section of opinions was received from individual volunteers, volunteer involving organisations and companies with employee volunteer programs.

The report found that:

Volunteers need to be recognised and thanked more often

  • More than one third (36 per cent) of volunteers reported they had not had any recognition for their good work in the last month of their volunteering.
  • ‘Being accepted as a valuable team member’, ‘personal thank you’ and ‘feedback about my contribution’ are the most significant methods of recognition that volunteer respondents reported made them feel valued as a volunteer.

Volunteers are motivated by the difference their time makes

  • ‘Knowing that my contribution would make a difference’ is most important to volunteers in their decision to volunteer (selected by 80 per cent of volunteer respondents).

There needs to be more information available for organisations with volunteers

  • 30 per cent of organisations surveyed have not been able to access adequate information about the protection of volunteers under occupational health and safety legislation.

Organisations need to consider the financial impact of volunteering

  • 44 per cent of volunteers reported that out of pocket expenses affect their ability or desire to volunteer, with fuel (84.6 per cent) and telephone charges (65.4 per cent) being the two most common cost problems.
  • Only 17 per cent of volunteers reported that their organisation offered full reimbursement of their out of pocket expenses.
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