Supporting our volunteers

Recruitment and selection

All people volunteering with us must be eligible to work in Australia. Appropriate reference and background checks are completed as required. Police checks are performed for all volunteers who will be in contact with children or who have access to financial information. All volunteers are required to sign a Child Safe Agreement.

We advertise volunteer positions on our volunteer database, VIVA, and encourage registered volunteers to apply online for volunteer positions. We also use external volunteer agencies, university volunteer sites and local volunteer publications in each state to advertise volunteer opportunities. For ongoing office-based volunteer positions we arrange a meeting between the volunteer candidate and the staff supervisor to ensure we find a good fit for both parties.

All office volunteers are given a position description, which outlines the key tasks and skills and attributes required. The position description also outlines why this position is needed and how it contributes to the wider organisation.

Training

All volunteers receive induction on their first day in the office, which includes a tour of the office and introductions to staff, an overview of policy and sign-off processes and information about the volunteer program. Ongoing on-the-job training and support is also provided.

Volunteers are encouraged to attend relevant in-house Oxfam Australia training and information sessions. We also look for opportunities for volunteers to move into different roles across the organisation to broaden their experience.

Our staff are trained in how to supervise volunteers to help make the experience rewarding for both parties. Each year we ask volunteers and their staff supervisors to complete feedback questionnaires so we can improve our volunteer management practices and strengthen our volunteer program.

Recognition

We take part in International Volunteer Day and National Volunteer Week to celebrate and thank our volunteers, and formally recognise our volunteers’ contribution through:

  • References
  • Certificates of service
  • Oxfam Shop volunteer discount cards
  • Thank-you walls
  • Our website and internal staff updates
  • Thank-you events within work teams
  • Regular feedback from supervisors

Feedback

We ask volunteers to complete an online survey when they finish their assignment, and use these results to identify the strengths of the program and to assess areas for improvement. This year we experienced major problems with our volunteer database, VIVA, which affected our survey processes and systems, resulting in less surveys being both completed and tracked. This problem will be rectified in the coming year when we replace the database.

Rights and responsibilities

Oxfam Australia is a member of Volunteering Victoria and Volunteering Australia, and adheres to Volunteering Australia’s National Standards for Involving Volunteers in Not-for-Profit Organisations.

Our volunteer policy sets out the rights and responsibilities of volunteers and their staff supervisors and outlines processes for training, recruiting and managing volunteers, developing position descriptions and handling grievances.

Under our volunteer reimbursement policy, we compensate volunteers for authorised out-of-pocket expenses incurred on behalf of the organisation. Volunteers can claim up to $10 reimbursement per day.

We review both policies each year to ensure we are meeting Volunteering Australia best practice.

Health and safety

All volunteers are given occupational health and safety training applicable for their location and role during their induction. Volunteers are covered by the same Occupational Health and Safety policy that is applicable to Oxfam Australia staff.