“When the story of these times gets written, we want it to say that we did all we could, and it was more than anyone could have imagined.” Bono
Clunes Neighbourhood House involves more than 30 volunteers in our operational activities each week!
Why? Because volunteering is an opportunity to develop and realise great ideas, a chance to make friends, and a way of applying existing or developing new skills.
We have volunteers who participate at all levels Including:
- Management Committee
- Programs – including all of our regular and special activities
- Operations – including marketing and reception
Supporting people to volunteer with us in a way that meets their needs, as well as ours, is integral to how we do business.
When you volunteer with us we ensure:
- You understand your rights as a volunteer
- You are familiar with our organisation – why we exist and how we operate
- You know what’s required to do your role – within our policies and procedures
This simple video is just one part of the induction you will go through when you volunteer with Clunes Neighbourhood House.
To volunteer simply complete this Volunteer Application and pop into the office or call 03 5345 4078.
When you volunteer with an incorporation community organisation, you are typically involved in a formal volunteer program – especially if you are involved in a regular role. Formal volunteering requires the organisation to create a certain amount of structure and processes to manage risk, ensure productivity and funding. In many community organisations the way this is done is similar to the way businesses operate – with recruitment processes, role descriptions, and policies/procedures for how you operate.
In many community organisations responsibility for the structure, processes and management of volunteers is undertaken by the committee or board at a governance level, and any paid staff at an operational level. It can be onerous; particularly if a lot of work is needed, but if done thoughtfully can offer unexpected benefits for volunteers, and the organisation.
“At Clunes Neighbourhood House a lot of thought has gone into how we implement policies and procedures in a way that supports us to ‘do with’ volunteers, rather than ‘do for’” said Will Maki, a volunteer and trainer at Clunes Neighbourhood House.
“We’ve thought about the culture we want to nurture, and developed induction videos that help foster a shared understanding about people’s rights as volunteers, how that relates to the way the organisation operates and legislation we have to comply with,” explained Will.
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“The principle of ‘doing with’ is challenging. It’s not a top down way of doing things,” said Lana de Kort, Manager at Clunes Neighbourhood House. “But often the procedures you need to put in place to manage risk, deliver on outcomes or attract funding are prescriptive. It’s finding a way to balance that.”
Volunteering is a reciprocal experience, so clarifying what a volunteer expects up front and matching this to the organisations expectations is often the key to a good working relationship.
“We think about this a lot and while we don’t always get it right, we keep working at it,” explained Lana, “The induction videos developed by Will are a great way of us talking about these expectations and constraints really early on in our relationship with volunteers.”
The videos Will has developed for Clunes Neighbourhood House could be readily adapted for other community organisations. To find out more about them please don’t hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Understanding the role everyone – volunteer and organisation – play in creating a safe and supportive environment for people is also key. Last year, the work Clunes Neighbourhood House did via the Hepburn Shire Council Community Planning Implementation Fund resulted in great training for many community groups in Clunes around child safety.
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‘Doing with’ is a process of continual learning. Since that training, Clunes Neighbourhood House President Siobahn Altham and the committee have been working on the policies that underpin good practice, and exploring practical ways to translate that into the way we work with young people in our community. The governance team, like Will with his induction videos, are doing this with the intention of making the resources they produce easily adaptable for other community organisations.
“Ideally we’ll do this in a way that enables different community organisations to link together,” said Lana, “So that we can ‘do with’ other groups as well as our own.”
Stronger Community, Better House
Investing time in creating a culture that supports volunteers is not just good practice, its good community building – and good fun! Recently one of our past volunteers (and President) Anna Phillips, volunteered at Clunes Neighbourhood House to help us refurbish in order to create an environment that encouraged conversation and connection. Anna’s innate understanding of the House and how people use our space meant she was able to take the funds provided to us by the federal governments Stronger Communities Programme (via Catherine King’s office).
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Existing President Siobahn Altham and Past President Anna Phillips chatting on the couch