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Developing a new a National Strategy for Volunteering

Over the past year Volunteering Australia has been leading the development of the first National Strategy for Volunteering in a decade.

The National Strategy will be designed and owned by the volunteering ecosystem and will provide a blueprint for a reimagined future for volunteering in Australia. The first half of 2022 focused on talking to stakeholders from across the volunteering ecosystem about the current state of volunteering, pressing challenges, and aspirations for the future.

These consultations have culminated in a Discovery Insights Report, authored by Volunteering Australia and released on 5 August. This report summarises the themes of the consultations, focus groups, and interviews undertaken from April to June this year, and identifies opportunities for further exploration.

The different sections of the report provide an overview of who has been consulted thus far, how they are connected to volunteering, and what they thought about the current state of volunteering and their ideas for the future.

The often-divergent viewpoints heard during the initial Discovery Phase speak directly to the vastness and complexity of the volunteering ecosystem in Australia. Nevertheless, the report identifies 12 insights, which speak to the broad themes of what has been discovered so far and ideas from stakeholders about how some of the systemic challenges facing volunteering could be solved.

The 12 insights are:

  • Volunteering has an identity crisis 
  • Volunteering is a workforce issue 
  • Volunteering is an incubator for inclusion 
  • The profession of volunteer management is invisible 
  • Volunteering is a catalyst for systemic change 
  • Expectations of the volunteering ecosystem are becoming untenable 
  • The ecosystem needs stronger leadership 
  • Strategic investment is a prerequisite for sustainability 
  • The ecosystem needs fit-for-purpose regulation 
  • Volunteering is a wide spectrum of activities 
  • We need to re-focus on the volunteer experience 
  • Research needs to underpin volunteering policy and practice

This iteration of the report marks the completion of the first stage of the National Strategy for Volunteering project and is intended to generate further debate and discussion.

Subsequent iterations will bring together other aspects of the project, including the findings from the Volunteering in Australia research and the volunteering ecosystem’s collective vision for the National Strategy for Volunteering.

A series of participatory design workshops intended to co-design a collective vision for the National Strategy for Volunteering will be announced shortly.

The National Strategy for Volunteering is due to be launched in February 2023.

For more information about the National Strategy for Volunteering project visit this dedicated website. You can also register for updates to have information about the project, including workshop dates, sent directly to your inbox.

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