From our Manager – Lana de Kort
Ensuring the effective operations of a community organisation can be surprisingly complex. You need to follow good practice, keep abreast and comply with legislation, compliance and funding requirements, stay on top of your deliverables, communicate as effectively as possible and respond to new ideas. In a nod to this complexity, Clunes Neighbourhood House invited the Australian grassroots community leadership expert, Mark Creyton to Clunes to work with our committee and other groups in 2017. He spoke with us about what motivates people who step up to take a leadership role in community, and the risk of burn out or damaged relationships (particularly in small towns) as expectations increase or become more complex. He talked about the shared assets a town has, and the benefits of going easy on ourselves and each other as we all aim high. He talked about the importance of community leadership retaining an element of ‘fun’ for all, while balancing all the responsibilities that come with it.
At the same time as Mr Creyton came to speak, our committee commenced a thorough review and revision of their policies and procedures, leading to Child Safe Practices training for ourselves and other groups with ChildWise in 2018. It was a long process. Recently many of the forms needed to support our operations – such as volunteer registration forms and induction videos – have all been converted to online forms (see the online forms page). It’s another nod to complexity because these online forms help reduce double handling and mean electronic record keeping reduces paper and the need for storage.
As we did this we remembered the discussions that Mr Creyton had raised in that community leadership seminar years back. The value of sharing assets in order to make it easier on others and ourselves. For that reason we’ve placed several of these forms here on our website and an explanation of how we developed (and why) these forms to help us operate. The examples we’ve put up are documents that might be useful to other community groups and could be readily replicated/copied. Running community groups (typically led by people volunteering their time) is undoubtedly complex. It’s hard to get all of it right or even to just get around to all the work that doing things correctly requires. Hopefully sharing these will help other groups save some time, leaving more room for the fun and benefits of being involved in community to remain at the fore.
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