How will participating in this community consultation inform the development of the Volunteer Framework?

The information you share through this consultation will provide us with valuable data about volunteering in the Shire. It will tell us the volunteer demographics in the Shire, and give us a better understanding of who is actually volunteering. From this information, we will be able to develop specific actions on how to better support volunteers and community groups within the Shire, and provide resources for these community groups to build capacity, relevant to their need. We will also be able to find out who of the population is not volunteering, and what is preventing them from volunteering. By knowing the barriers to participation, it will help us to think about ways in which we can reach out to these people and work out ways to encourage them to volunteer in their community. 

Why do we need a Volunteer Framework?

We noticed that there was an ad-hoc, inconsistent approach to the recruitment, training, monitoring and management of volunteers, with no agreed organisational approach or framework within Council. We decided it was important to develop a Volunteer Framework that outlines the vision and guidelines/standards for volunteer engagement and development within the Shire, to ensure that volunteering is encouraged, supported and recognised by all members of the community.  

The Volunteer Framework will be useful for community groups and not-for-profit organisations who use volunteers to operate, as a general guide for good practice. It not expected that voluntary organisations will use every part of this Framework, but it will give you a good starting point if you would like more information on volunteer management and development. 

This Volunteer Framework will also be a useful guide for teams within Council who use volunteers. We want to ensure consistency across Council when it comes to volunteer recruitment, management, support, development and reward. Therefore, we need to give teams the right tools to be able to perform this role effectively. This way we can make sure that everyone within Council is doing the right thing, and no matter where a volunteer is placed within Council they will have been through the same process as anyone else.       

How will this project be funded?

Council receives funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to put towards the development and support of volunteering within the Shire. The monetary cost to undertake this community consultation is very minimal; it mostly just takes officer time to develop the survey and liaise with community about volunteering.

How does volunteering actually benefit our community?

Volunteering contributes overall to community capacity building by providing long-term benefits through support for community involvement including safer communities, skills development and social contact for community and family members. The connectedness developed through volunteer participation contributes to the overall health and well being of a community. 

Volunteering contributes both to society and to the volunteer themselves.  By providing their time and resources to organisations, volunteers help deliver services, products and opportunities that otherwise might have been provided at a higher cost to the recipient or not provided at all. 
 
While volunteers help others, studies show that volunteering is good for volunteers too!
Volunteering offers many benefits, including opportunities for volunteers to:
  • gain new skills and knowledge
  • boost their own job and career prospects
  • enjoy a sense of achievement and fulfilment
  • develop personally and boost self esteem
  • enjoy better physical and mental health
  • connect to and better understand your community
  • meet new people and make new friends
Volunteers report greater health and well being than those who don't volunteer. These benefits flow on to organisations who support workplace volunteering programs:
  • better workplace morale can reduce the cost of staff turnover and absenteeism
  • increased staff satisfaction and retention
  • new links between businesses and local communities
  • a positive community profile and improved reputation
  • opportunities for staff to learn new skills, with staff development gains at work
  • opportunities for staff to meet new people and better connect your company to the community 
  • opportunities for staff to face new situations and build resilience.

How will the Volunteer Framework be used within Council?

The Volunteer Framework will be a useful guide for teams within Council who use volunteers. We want to ensure consistency across Council when it comes to volunteer recruitment, management, support, development and reward. Therefore, we need to give teams the right tools to be able to perform this role effectively. This way we can make sure that everyone within Council is doing the right thing, and no matter where a volunteer is placed within Council they will have been through the same process as anyone else. Think of it as a guide for teams within Council to follow when they utilise volunteers.

This Framework will also be used in conjunction with the Voluntary Personnel Policy, which outlines our responsibilities when it comes to volunteers and vocational placement students within Council. Council officers will also be equipped with a set of tools they can use to assist them when they recruit volunteers - from registering a volunteers' interest, to providing a reference letter upon completion of the voluntary placement, and everything in between!         

How will the Volunteer Framework help the community groups?

The Volunteer Framework will be useful for community groups and not-for-profit organisations who use volunteers to operate, as a general guide for good practice. It not expected that voluntary organisations will use every part of this Framework, but it will give you a good starting point if you would like more information on volunteer management and development. 

The Framework will outline each area of volunteer management, and will provide you with useful tools and tips to help you develop volunteering within your voluntary organisation.

Who is governing this process?

During the planning process for the Volunteer Framework, we put a call out to the community for interested community members who would like to form the External Volunteer Advisory Panel. We received a great response, and currently have 12 community members sitting on the Advisory Panel. These are people from across the Shire, who either work, live or volunteer within the Shire. They are all either volunteers themselves, or know a lot about volunteering! We are very lucky to have them along for the ride.  

The role of the External Advisory Panel is to guide and inform the development and implementation of the Framework, relevant to all community groups, sport clubs and not-for-profit organisations, including the development of the Mitchell Volunteer website. We meet regularly, and they have their say on all decisions made regarding the development of volunteering in the Shire. We need to ensure we are responding to community need, and allowing our community to have their say when it comes to volunteering. The development of the External Volunteer Advisory Panel is an important part of ensuring we are keeping the community at the forefront of our minds during this process; it also ensures transparency, which is always a good thing!

We also formed the Internal Volunteer Advisory Panel, which consists of Council officers from each department; this makes sure we are taking into account everyone's needs across Council. The role of the Internal Advisory Panel is to guide, inform and lead the development and implementation of the Framework, relevant to all internal processes. This will ensure consistency across all Council operations when it comes to volunteers.

Why do we want to hear from non-volunteers too?

We think it is really important to hear from all members of our community, whether they are currently volunteering or not. By hearing from the people in our community who do not currently volunteer, this will give us an indication of why they are not volunteering. By knowing the barriers to participation, it will help us to think about ways in which we can reach out to these people and work out ways to encourage them to volunteer in their community. 

So if you are not a volunteer, please do not be discouraged, we would still love to hear from you! Go ahead and take the survey. Anything you have to say will help us to develop and support volunteering in our community.  

Why is Council engaging online?

Council acknowledges that many members of the community do not have time to attend traditional community consultation meetings or to provide written submissions. By engaging online, it allows more people to provide feedback on issues that interest them at a convenient time and location. It also allows community members to see what others think about and issue or topic and to engage in a discussion. 

Is my privacy protected?

Yes! Your privacy is protected and Council will only use your email to contact you with updates or to invite you to participate in consultations. Your email address will not be distributed to any third party or used for any other purpose. You may like to review the privacy policy.

We do not ask for your personal details or require them at any time as part of your participation in this website. If you are, however, interested in joining the Mitchell Community Voice Panel we will require some personal details.

Why do I need to register to make a comment?

Anyone can browse the Engaging Mitchell website and read the comments made by others.

If you want to leave a comment you need to register using an email address. This is required for the following reasons:

By requiring you to register it helps to minimise the chance of the discussion being manipulated by the one person who leaves multiple comments supporting their own position.

It allows Council to keep you updated if there are any changes to the consultation. For example, if the submission date is extended or the design of the project is altered.

It reduces the risk of inappropriate comments being made as participants are required to have a username.

How is the online forum moderated?

All moderation is carried out by Bang the Table, who is an organisation independent of the Mitchell Shire Council. No comments are edited or altered, unless they are considered offensive or significantly off the topic, in which case they will be removed from the site immediately. Please refer to the forum etiquette and moderation guidelines.

How will my feedback be used?

The comments and feedback provided on this website will inform Council on the topic being discussed. A summary of the feedback will be available on the website and sent out regularly via email.

It is important to note, however, that this website does not replace formal submissions. If you want to make a formal submission on a particular issue, such as a planning or local laws matter you will still need to do this in writing to Council.

Can I get help if needed?

Yes. You can get help by clicking on the ‘help’ button on the left hand side of the top tool bar.

Prize Draw Terms and Conditions

People who completed the Volunteer Survey have the chance to win one of two $100 VISA Gift cards. 

The prize draw is only available  to people who completed the Volunteer Survey in full via the Engaging Mitchell Website. Those people who completed the Volunteer Survey via hard copy/paper based format will not be eligible to enter the prize draw, as we cannot guarantee that your responses to the survey can be kept separate to your personal details provided in the prize draw slip.  

Registered participants who complete the Volunteer Survey will be required to submit their contact details for the purpose of contacting them to physically supply the voucher.

One of two $100 VISA Gift Cards are being offered as the prize. There will be two different winners, and one person cannot win both prizes. 

Prize will be drawn electronically at random via a number generator by a Council employee on August 31st 2016.

Winner will be contacted by phone and email on the day of draw.

Council employees or individuals who are on the Volunteer Advisory Panel will not be eligible.

For more information contact the Community Development Officer on 03 5734 6200.