Working with volunteers

Recruitment and selection

All people volunteering with us must be eligible to work in Australia in accordance with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) guidelines. For more information visit the DIBP website. All volunteers are required to sign a confidentiality agreement and child protection code of conduct. Appropriate reference and background checks are completed for all volunteers as required.  Police checks are performed for volunteers that will be in contact with children or who have access to financial information.

We advertise volunteer positions on our volunteer database, and registered volunteers can apply for these online. We also recruit using external volunteer agencies and websites, university volunteer sites and local volunteer publications in each state to advertise volunteer opportunities. For office-based volunteer positions, an interview is usually arranged between the volunteer candidate and the staff supervisor to ensure we find a good fit for both parties.

All Oxfam Australia volunteers are provided with a position description which describes the key tasks to be completed and the skills and attributes required. The position description also outlines the purpose of the position and how it contributes to the wider organisation.

Training

Office-based volunteers receive induction on their first day in the office, which includes a tour of the office, introductions to staff, an overview of volunteering at Oxfam Australia and explanation of the required Work Health & Safety training. Ongoing on-the-job training and support is also provided.

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

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

Recognition

We celebrate International Volunteer Day and National Volunteer Week to recognise and thank our volunteers. Every year, each state office organises things such as afternoon teas, lunches, thank-you letters, certificates and sometimes even chocolate (all Oxfam Fair Trade of course) to present to our volunteers.

We highlight our volunteers’ contributions by communicating them in our monthly volunteer newsletter, on our intranet and our website..Other formal ways that we recognise our volunteers are through providing references, personal cards, and honest, sincere feedback from supervisors.

We also celebrate International Volunteer Managers Day in November each year, to acknowledge the hard work and effort that our supervisors, coordinators and managers of volunteers contribute to Oxfam Australia.

Feedback

Volunteers are encouraged to complete an online survey at the completion of their assignment. Covering everything from recruitment, induction, supervision, expectations and recognition, the survey can be filled out anonymously and provides a basis for us to continuously improve our volunteer engagement program.

Rights and responsibilities

Oxfam Australia is a member of Volunteering Victoria and consequently a member of Volunteering Australia. We adhere to the National Standards for Involving Volunteers in Not-for-Profit Organisations published by Volunteering Australia and we review these standards annually.

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. Office-based volunteers can also claim up to $10 reimbursement per day for costs incurred as a result of volunteering in an office, such as travel costs and lunch.

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

Health and safety

All volunteers are given Work Health and Safety training during their induction. Volunteers are covered by the same Work Health and Safety policy that is applicable to Oxfam Australia staff.