Commencing as a Volunteer

1. Principles of Volunteering

Volunteering Australia’s definition volunteering is:
Volunteering is time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain.

Beaconsfield Neighbourhood Centre recognises the Principles of Volunteering , which are:

  • Volunteering benefits the community and the volunteer
  • Volunteering is always a matter of choice
  • Volunteering is an activity that is unpaid and not undertaken for the receipt of salary, pension, government allowance or honorarium
  • Volunteering is a legitimate way in which citizens can participate in the activities of their community
  • Volunteering is a vehicle for individuals or groups to address human, environmental and social needs
  • Volunteers do not replace paid workers nor constitute a threat to the job security of paid workers
  • Volunteering respects the rights, dignity and culture of others
  • Volunteering promotes human rights and equality

2. Initial Contact

Volunteers may seek volunteer work themselves with Beaconsfield Neighbourhood Centre, or may be actively sought by Beaconsfield Neighbourhood Centre for a particular task.

All prospective volunteers will be given a Volunteer Participation Form to complete, outlining their skills and interests

3. Placement

Within two weeks of completing and returning the Volunteer Participation Form to the Beaconsfield Neighbourhood Centre, prospective volunteers will be invited to attend a personal interview with the Coordinator to discuss their application. The purpose of the meeting is to:

  • get to know the volunteers – what they are doing now and their background
  • ascertain their areas of interest
  • confirm their availability
  • enquire about any special needs
  • discuss current or future volunteer opportunities
  • explain BNC expectations of volunteers

If possible, the Coordinator and prospective volunteer should agree on an appropriate volunteering opportunity and commencement date. The following are considered essential for engagement as a volunteer with Beaconsfield Neighbourhood Centre:

  • demonstrated interest in working with the community
  • demonstrated ability to communicate effectively with others
  • demonstrated skills in the areas where the voluntary contribution is required

The Coordinator will make their recommendation to a member of the Committee of Management Executive for approval. The Volunteer Participant Form will also be provided to the Executive member for their information. The Coordinator will advise the next general Committee meeting of the appointment/refusal of the volunteer’s application.

4. Commencement

Upon commencement all volunteers will receive:

1. This volunteer manual
2. Membership Form (if not already a member)
3. Copy of Role Description if appropriate
4. Latest copy of Neighbourhood Natter
5. Name badge
6. Code of Conduct
7. Emergency Contact Form

At this stage volunteers will be required to complete the confidential medical form for use in the event of emergency medical assistance being required for them, and to sign the Code of Conduct form. The Coordinator will hold an induction session for each volunteer.

An Induction should include

  • A review of the volunteer’s role or position description and any training required to commence the position
  • Information about Beaconsfield Neighbourhood Centre including the current program and Volunteer Manual
  • Familiarisation with the building, including:
    • Tea making facilities Staff pigeon holes
    • Volunteer sign in/out book Toilets
    • Office equipment if required Emergency exits
  • An introduction to paid staff, tutors and other volunteers as appropriate.
  • Introduction to a specific staff member or experienced volunteer appointed to them to provide guidance, support and feedback.
  • Encouragement to wear name badge
  • Explanation of arrival and departure procedures

5. Reference Checks

If the Coordinator considers it appropriate, the volunteer may be asked for a reference before placement with Beaconsfield Neighbourhood Centre.

6. Volunteer Role Descriptions

Volunteer roles available at the Centre may vary over time. If considered appropriate by the Coordinator a brief description of the volunteer role may be provided. The description would include

  • Reason for the role
  • List of basic tasks involved
  • Duration of position and time required
  • Name of supervisor

Volunteer position roles are developed by the Centre Co-ordinator, or by the Occasional Care Co-ordinator for Occasional Care and 3 year old volunteer positions The volunteer roles are approved by the staff subcommittee.

7. Review

New Volunteers will meet with the Coordinator during the 3 months after commencement to discuss how their role is working. If either the Volunteer or Coordinator considers the role is not working, a new position may be found or the volunteer may be asked to wait until a suitable new role becomes available.

Volunteers will be able to discuss issues worrying them in confidence with their assigned supervisor.

8. Police Checks and Working with Children Checks

If required for their volunteering role, volunteers will be requested to obtain a Police Check or a Working with Children Check.

9. Code of Conduct

Beaconsfield Neighbourhood Centre has a commitment to offer its best possible quality of service for members.

As important members of the BNC team, volunteers play an important role in maintaining high service standards and good practices, and are asked to agree to, and abide by, the Centre’s Code of Conduct.

10. Expectations of Volunteers

When working for Beaconsfield Neighbourhood Centre volunteers are expected to:

  • Be reliable and punctual
  • Undertake voluntary work according to the policies and practices of the Centre
  • Participate positively in the team effort to achieve the goals of the Centre
  • Be willing to accept direction from the Coordinator or their designated officer
  • Follow the Centre’s guidelines for privacy, confidentiality and access and equity
  • Carry out duties in a non-judgemental manner
  • Undertake training and evaluation as required.
  • Be honest
  • Keep Beaconsfield Neighbourhood Centre advised of change of address and contact details
  • Inform Beaconsfield Neighbourhood Centre of any pre-existing medical condition or special needs
  • Report any injury immediately
  • Ask for support if needed
  • Agree to work in a safe manner and not jeopardize the health and safety of others

Volunteers may bring their children with them but it is their responsibility to supervise their children and ensure that they do not interfere with any course or activity that is operating at the Centre. Volunteers may use child care services “free of charge” if it is operating and positions are available during their allotted time at the Centre.

11. Our Commitment to Volunteers

Volunteers are an essential part of our organization. In recognition of the vital role volunteers play, BNC is committed to:

  • Interview volunteers in accordance with anti-discrimination and equal opportunity legislation
  • Provide volunteers with a healthy and safe workplace
  • Provide volunteers with orientation and appropriate training
  • Provide adequate insurance coverage for volunteers
  • Not place volunteer staff in roles that were previously held by paid staff or have been identified as paid jobs
  • Differentiate between paid and unpaid roles
  • Define volunteer roles and develop clear job descriptions
  • Provide appropriate levels of support and management
  • Provide volunteers with a copy of policies pertaining to volunteering
  • Ensure volunteers are not required to take up additional work during industrial dispute or paid staff shortage
  • Provide all volunteers with information on grievance and disciplinary policies and procedures
  • Treat volunteers with respect as co-workers
  • Ensure that the work of volunteers complements but does not undermine the work of paid staff
  • Reimburse volunteers for out of pocket expenses incurred on behalf of the organization
  • Acknowledge the contributions of volunteer staff.
  • Ensure confidential and personal information is managed in accordance with the principles of the Privacy Act 1988

12. Recognition of volunteers by staff and committee members

All staff and Committee members at Beaconsfield Neighbourhood Centre are to treat volunteers with respect and support. Staff or Committee members are accountable for volunteers under their supervision and must be present when their volunteer is in the building. No volunteer should be left alone in the building.

13. Volunteer reward and acknowledgement

Discount for courses

Because the work of volunteers is appreciated and valued by the Beaconsfield Neighbourhood Centre, volunteers are able to recoup some of the time spent volunteering as discounted entry to courses. All volunteers must keep a record of the hours worked at the Centre. For every hour of work, the volunteer is able to receive a $1 discount on a course run by the Neighbourhood Centre. This could amount to, for example, participating in a $50 course for no fee once 50 hours of work has been completed. The only restriction on this is that, if a course needs a minimum number of participants in order to run, any volunteers participating at no cost to themselves must be in addition to the required minimum number. This is necessary so that the financial viability of courses is not jeopardised.

  • Volunteer activities will be highlighted in the newsletter whenever possible.
  • Volunteer contributions will be recognized at the Annual General meeting.
  • All volunteers should be sent a birthday card, and where possible, a morning tea should be held for long term volunteers.
  • Volunteers will be invited to special events at the Centre.