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From the CEO

Awards Update

This month, Manager: Events and Capacity Building, Rachel Rainbird, and I visited 19 regional areas across the state to present the 2014 Regional Volunteer of the Year Awards.

It was great to meet all the winners and nominees who came from as far afield as Byron Bay, to Bodalla and Broken Hill.

Congratulations to all and thank you to everyone who nominated a volunteer for the awards.  Every nominee is recognised with a certificate and it is important we continue to highlight their work.

The winners from each award category have been invited to the State Gala Awards in Sydney on 5 December 2014.  This will be a fantastic celebration thanks to the generosity of our supporters - Clubs NSW  and the NSW Department of Education and Communities.

The next stage of our awards is presenting the Volunteer Managers' Awards and Corporate Volunteering awards, so stay tuned!

Update from the Minister

As you know, the NSW Minister for Citizenship and Communities, the Honourable Victor Dominello MP, is a very active supporter of volunteering. Not only did he attend a number of our regional awards ceremonies, he has also provided an update on volunteering from the Government's perspective in this issue of the Voice.  I encourage you to read the article to see some of the work Government is doing in the volunteering community.

Review of Definition of Volunteering

This month the Centre attended a workshop with other peak organisations as part of the sector's national review into the definition of volunteering, which was developed in 1996.  Led by Volunteering Australia, a paper and proposal is being finalised for consultation with members and stakeholders in the near future.  We will keep you updated on this project.

End of Year

The Centre held its AGM in October, which highlighted the great work of the team over the past financial year.  I'd like to congratulate the team for all their efforts.  I'd also like to thank our members and volunteers for your continued suppport and congratulate you on your work in the community.  Our Annual Report is available on the Centre's website.



NSW Volunteering Strategy Update: Minister

Photo: Minister Dominello (left) with the Bathurst Grows project

The NSW Minister for Citizenship and Communities, the Hon Victor Dominello MP, provided this update for our October edition of the Voice:

It is gives me great pleasure to have the opportunity to contribute to this edition of the Voice of Volunteering.

Back in May 2012 I launched the first NSW Volunteering Strategy which sets out five broader areas for innovation and reform in the sector. I’d like to take the opportunity to report back to you on some of the key achievements we’ve seen under this strategy over the past two and half years.

NSW Volunteering Website

As part of our commitment to making it easier to volunteer we established a NSW Volunteering website which provides a single point of access to resources for volunteers, community organisations and businesses.

The website use has grown substantial since it was launched in 2012 when it received 60,000 visitors. Last year it had 120,000 visitors and in 2014 250,000 visitors have utilised the website’s resources.

Police Checks

Another example is the reduction in the cost of police checks for volunteers working in aged care sector, from $52 to $15 has benefited over 2,900 people. It is a small but practical measure to attract more people to take up volunteering.


In order to broaden the volunteering base we undertook an initiative known as Timebanking. In its basic form it is an online social support system which enables local volunteers to “give an hour to receive an hour”.

In 2012 we commenced a $300,000 pilot program in the Hunter and Central Coast region. During the 12-month trial more than 4,000 participants signed up for Timebanking and 8,000 volunteering hours were exchanged.

A report on the program found that over one-third of participants were new to volunteering.  It also found the program was: among the largest in the world; helping to extend social networks; creating a sense of community; and improving quality of life for those involved.

With a further $400,000 in 2014/15, Timebanking has now been extended to 64 additional communities across NSW and 14,500 hours have been traded. You can register at www.timebanking.nsw.gov.au.

Bathurst Grows

The Bathurst Grows project was another initiative which was spawn from the strategy. It showed that volunteering could be a pathway to employment for a group of disadvantaged, and predominately Aboriginal, young people.

Thirteen volunteers developed their skills in hospitality and service industries, and five secured employment.  A total of 832 hours was volunteered.

Statement of Principles

In May 2013 we also launched the Statement of Principles for the Recognition of Volunteers. The initiative aims to improve dignity, fairness and respect for volunteers, and improve recognition of their contributions. I have described it as akin to a Heart Foundation ‘tick of approval’ for volunteer organisations.

Over 200 organisations have now endorsed the Principles and more than 720,000 of the State’s two million volunteers give their service to organisations which have made this pledge to treat their volunteers with dignity, fairness and respect.


As you would be aware, the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards season is now in full swing and the NSW Government is proud to once again be a major sponsor, alongside ClubsNSW.

The Awards have been run by The Centre of Volunteering since 2007, and I congratulate CEO Gemma Rygate on the overwhelming success of this year’s program. Gemma and her staff have been busily traversing the State in recent months to host 19 regional awards ceremonies.

I look forward to meeting many of you at the grand finale in Sydney on 5 December coinciding with International Volunteer Day.

The Hon Victor Dominello MP
Minister for Citizenship and Communities

LAST DAY TO NOMINATE : Awards- Volunteer Manager and Corporate Volunteers

The Centre's Volunteer of the Year Awards also recognises the outstanding work of excellent Volunteer Managers in not-for-profit organisations as well as corporate volunteers.

These very different, but complementary, sides of the volunteering equation are key contibutors to the success of a volunteering experience.

Today - Friday 31 October 2014 -  is the last day for nominations  - so get your nominations in for :

Volunteer Managers

1. 2014 Volunteer Manager of the Year Award


Corporate Volunteering

2014 NSW Corporate Volunteer of the Year Award
2014 Corporate Volunteer Team of the Year award

Nominate online or download a nomination form to complete offline at: http://volunteering.com.au/2014-awards/nominate/.

If you require any further information regarding the 2014 NSW Volunteer of the Year Award, please don’t hesitate to contact the Awards team on 9261 3600 or email award@volunteering.com.au.

Feature: IAVE 2014 - A member's perspective

Caroline Frishling from Lane Cove and Northside Community Services was the lucky winner of the Centre's member scholarship to attend the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) conference. This is her account of the event:

Speakers and delegates at the IAVE conference came from 26 countries and many inspiring topics were discussed. The most moving speaker for me was the Honourable Michael Kirby, Chairman of the UN Council of Inquiry to Investigate Human Rights Violations in DPRK. He recounted the history of his own activism for causes, which, at the time were considered unappealing or illegal, including women’s rights, gay rights and indigenous peoples’ rights.

He invited us to put our efforts into contemporary issues that may need our attention precisely because they are still unpopular. He called on us to defend all people, not just Australians, and guard beauty and all human dignities, rights and freedoms as our own, because we are all brothers and sisters. Additionally, he stressed that volunteering isn’t about being popular; it’s simply the right thing to do.

Other speakers addressed many relevant topics including the role of social media and technology in recruiting and maintaining volunteers. Partnerships with corporations and the mutual benefits of volunteering for both the community and commercial interests were discussed. The changing motivations of volunteers were common themes that were addressed, as well as the need to adapt to these changes.

Volunteering is embedded in the Australian culture. In Australia, it is worth $200 billion to the economy. This is greater than the mining industry. Although media reports can lead us to doubt the compassion of humanity, it is reassuring to know that out of a population of 23.5 million, more than 6 million Australians are volunteering. This does not even include informal volunteering, like helping a neighbour.

Let’s remember to keep appreciating our amazing volunteers, no matter what their motivation is to volunteer. We are truly the lucky country.

I felt privileged to attend this exciting international conference and meet so many people from all over the world, dedicated to service.

Corporate volunteering and our members

Photo: Expedia is one of the corporate clients we place wth member organisations.

The Centre for Volunteering’s Corporate Volunteering Placement Program encourages the participation in volunteering by the business sector through employee volunteering programs, which links businesses to our community partners. 

In the 2013-14 financial year, our corporate volunteering program helped place 621 volunteers from 22 different corporations at 62 community partner events.

Last month, The Centre assisted Expedia office with their Global Day of Caring activities for their Sydney office.  Expedia chose events according to their staff and company interest, accessibility by public transport and community partner availability.  We organised three events for 33 staff including parklands and foreshore maintenance and cleanup.

All Expedia Offices worldwide are involved in helping their local communities.  In 2013, 34 countries took part, resulting in more than 2,300 employees worldwide network on community projects, totalling more than 12, 000 volunteer hours. 

Our parklands community partner encourages corporate volunteer contributions to assist with the improvement and maintenance of the environment of the parklands for the native fauna and visitors.  One of the Expedia team members commented on the parklands event that it was "thoroughly enjoyable as was the oodles of kilometres, we walked around the park ridding the beautiful water from debris and non-biodegradable waste. A day totally worth it!"

Our Community Partner contact at Foreshore Cleanup commented that having corporate teams “ helps  us clean up the area, gives the volunteer participants an up-close-and-personal view of how the environment is impacted badly by discarded litter. We hope the long term benefit will be a change in people’s attitude in relation to how they view and deal with how to prevent litter and waste entering the environment.”

Please contact us at corporate@volunteering.com.au ask how we can help your organisation.

Research critical to reduce red tape

Photo: Dr Tessa Boyd Caine

Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine, a leading researcher in the charity sector, spoke this month about the importance of Australia’s charities both  at the Sydney launch of the Curtin Australian Charities 2013 Report.

Dr Boyd-Caine has recently completed the inaugural Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Non Profit Leadership and is Deputy CEO of Australian Council of Social Service. She reflected on the findings from the Curtin report along with the use of the charity register data in the USA.

“The report provides the most significant update to what we know about the sector since the 2006 figures relied upon by the Productivity Commission in its seminal study into the contribution of the not-for-profit sector," Dr Boyd-Caine said

“It is a strong testament to the value of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) in producing fit-for-purpose data, research and information about Australian charities.

“The more we develop reliable, relevant information about Australia’s non profit sector, and resources for the public like the ACNC’s charity register, the more we can build the trust and confidence of the communities that support and sustain the work of our charities,” Dr Boyd-Caine said.

The findings support the outcomes from the Ernst & Young Red Tape report which was released on 01 October 2014. The report confirmed red tape is an issue for charities, and found a key source was government funding agreements.

View full article here.

Ernst & Young report

YouTube Video

How to manage your charity using the ACNC portal link.

Youth volunteers: what's their potential?

Not-for-profit organisations have the opportunity to tap into the special skills and unique mindset that young people can bring as volunteers today.

Two of the Cenntre's amazing interns, Maria Taftgaard (our past intern) and Miriam Wyatt (our current intern) have summarised some of the research into the skills and attributes of young people. The full article encourages us to think about how these can be applied to volunteering, including.

  • Youth are quick learners and enjoy a challenge
  • Youth embrace leadership opportunities and openly accept responsibility
  • Youth have a natural ease and adaptability with technology
  • Young people are often creative, think ‘outside the box’ and bring new perspectives

With this in mind, the question is not “why engage youth volunteers?” but “why not?”

Follow link to read the full article

PM's Community Business Partnership reinstated

This month Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews announced they will re-establish the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership.

The Partnership aims to bring together government, community and business leaders to develop practical strategies to foster a culture of philanthropic giving and volunteering in Australia.

A key component of the Partnership’s work will be examining trends and promoting best practice in the sector. It will consider how innovative investment and financing can better support a culture of giving and volunteering.

Read full article here.

Professional Development Opportunities

What: The Art of Teaching Adults

Content: Draws your attention to how adults learn, the different methods used to develop their skills, knowledge and attitudes; and what you can do to make your training effective.

When: 27 October, 9.30am - 12.30pm

Cost: $70 + GST

Where: The Centre for Volunteering, Level 3, 40 Gloucester St, The Rocks

Register now!

What: Speak Up! Speak Out!

Content: You know, like, so basically could literally be affecting your message.  Participate in our public speaking workshop.

When: 27 November, 9.30am - 1.00pm

Cost: $60 + GST

Where: The Centre for Volunteering, Level 3, 40 Gloucester St, The Rocks

Register now!

What: Back to Basics workshop

Content: The Back to Basics workshop will help you grapple with grammar by covering the common punctuation traps, spelling mistakes and syntax errors.

When: 4 December, 9.30 am - 1.00 pm.

Cost:  $55.00 + GST

Where: The Centre for Volunteering, Level 3, 40 Gloucester St, The Rocks

Register now!

November Networking Event - Tips on rewarding, recognising and retaining volunteers.

What:  Tips on rewarding, recognising and retaining volunteers.

Who:  Vesna Perisic has been Coordinator of Volunteer Referral Services at Community Connect Northern Beaches for the last five years and she is a member of the Northern Sydney Volunteer Network. As well as recruiting and placing volunteers in a variety of community organisations. Vesna has been responsible for raising the profile of signature volunteer events and expanding volunteer rewarding and recognitions programs.

When: November 17, 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Where: The Centre for Volunteering, Level 3, 40 Gloucester St, The Rocks

Register now!


We love to hear your feedback, volunteering stories and ideas to help us improve The Voice.

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