Overview of the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement

Standard 1: Volunteering in embedded in leadership, governance and culture

The governing body and organisation leaders promote volunteering and implement effective systems to support volunteer participation.

1.1 Responsibilities for engaging, leading and managing volunteer participation are defined and supported.
1.2 Governance and risk management arrangements facilitate safe and meaningful volunteer participation.
1.3 Policies and procedures applying to volunteers are developed with volunteers and communicated and implemented across the organisation.
1.4 Volunteer records are maintained, and volunteers and employees understand their obligations on information sharing, record keeping and privacy.
1.5 Processes are in place to manage relationships with partner agencies in collaborative volunteering activities. (This criterion only applies to organisations or groups working with other organisations in a collaborative activity involving volunteers and/or sharing responsibility for volunteers).

Standard 2: Volunteer participation is championed and modelled

Commitment to volunteer participation is set out through vision, planning and resourcing, and supports the organisation’s or group’s strategic direction.

2.1 The organisation publicly declares its commitment to volunteer participation.
2.2 A volunteering culture is championed and modelled at all levels of the organisation.
2.3 Volunteer participation is part of the organisation’s vision, purpose, goals and objectives and is developed through engagement with volunteers.
2.4 Volunteering programs are supported by adequately resourced volunteer managers or officers.
2.5 Resources (including time, funds, equipment and technology) are allocated for volunteer involvement.

Standard 3: Volunteer roles are meaningful and tailored

Volunteers are engaged in meaningful roles which contribute to the organisation’s or group’s purpose and meet volunteer interests and preferred style of participation.

3.1 Volunteer roles are designed and negotiated with volunteers, considering the needs and interests of volunteers.
3.2 Volunteer roles contribute to the organisation’s purpose, goals and objectives.
3.3 Volunteer roles are defined, documented and communicated.
3.4 Volunteer roles are reviewed regularly including through feedback and engagement with volunteers about their experience.

Standard 4: Recruitment is equitable and diversity is valued

Volunteer recruitment and selection strategies meet the needs of the organisation and volunteers; they facilitate and value diversity and promote equity and accessibility.

4.1 Organisations and groups engage volunteers using planned and innovative approaches to attract people with relevant interests, knowledge and skills.
4.2 Potential volunteers are provided with information about the organisation, how volunteers contribute to its purpose and vision, available opportunities and the selection process.
4.3 Volunteers are selected based on their interests, knowledge, skills and suitability for the role, and consistent with anti-discrimination law.
4.4 Diversity, inclusivity and accessibility principles are built into recruitment activities, reflecting and promoting awareness of, and respect for, diversity and inclusion and the inherent value this brings to the organisation.
4.5 Screening processes maintain the safety and security of service recipients, employees, volunteers, and the organisation, in line with legal requirements and regulations.

Standard 5: Volunteers are supported and developed

Volunteers understand their roles and gain the knowledge, skills and feedback needed to participate safely and effectively.

5.1 Volunteers are provided with relevant induction and training.
5.2 Volunteers’ knowledge and skills are reviewed to identify support and development needs.
5.3 Volunteers are engaged with throughout their time with an organisation or group and provided with supervision and support that enables them to participate fully.
5.4 People with responsibility for volunteers have sufficient time and resources to engage with and provide appropriate and required support.
5.5 Changes to the role of a volunteer are fair and consistent and achieved through engaging with the volunteer.

Standard 6: Volunteer safety and wellbeing is protected

The health, safety and wellbeing of volunteers is protected and volunteers understand their rights and responsibilities.

6.1 Effective working relationships with employees, and between volunteers, are facilitated.
6.2 Organisations and groups meet their legal and ethical obligations to protect volunteers from harm.
6.3 Processes are in place to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of volunteers in their capacity as volunteers, including relevant insurances.
6.4 Volunteers understand and have access to complaints procedures.
6.5 Complaints, concerns and safety incidents are analysed to identify causes and inform continuous improvement.

Standard 7: Volunteers are recognised

Volunteer contribution, value and impact are understood, appreciated and acknowledged.

7.1 How volunteers add value to the organisation, service recipients and the community is clearly understood.
7.2 Volunteer effort is measured and acknowledged in the organisation’s reporting and used to demonstrate impact.
7.3 The organisation regularly engages with volunteers about the impact of their contribution.
7.4 Volunteer acknowledgement is appropriate to the volunteer and respectful of cultural values and perspectives.

Standard 8: Volunteer policies and practices are continuously improved

Effective volunteer involvement results from a system of best practice, regular review and continuous improvement.

8.1 Policies and procedures are designed and implemented to effectively guide all aspects of volunteer involvement.
8.2 Volunteer involvement is regularly reviewed in line with the organisation’s evaluation and quality management frameworks.
8.3 The organisation’s performance with volunteer involvement is monitored and reported to the governing body, employees, volunteers, and other stakeholders.
8.4 Opportunities are available for volunteers to provide feedback on their experience and relevant areas of the organisation’s work.

More information

See the complete National Standards for Volunteer Involvement.

There are many tools to help implement the National Standards and self-assess progress including workshops, guides, workbooks and the Standards online self-assessment tool. See the Volunteering Australia website.