Innovation key for more volunteers

Gladstone BMX Canteen volunteer's Kristy Robertson, Renae Innes and Janice Crow.
Gladstone BMX Canteen volunteer's Kristy Robertson, Renae Innes and Janice Crow. Paul Braven GLA050517VOLUNTEERS

INNOVATION is a key to finding more volunteers for groups in the Gladstone region.

At the start of this year a number of sporting associations and teams, including the Gladstone Netball Association, were in danger of folding because of a lack of volunteers.

A lot of this could be attributed to the downturn and people leaving town.

However Volunteering Queensland sector development manager Michelle Lindley said there were other ways to bring people into the fold.

"People who are the next generation of volunteers aren't looking for volunteer opportunities the same as generations that have gone by,” she said.

"Traditional volunteering of signing up to a committee for the length of time your child is in that sport, or the rest of your life, has kind of gone by the way.

"The rising trend is in episodic volunteering, people are wanting to come in for a defined project or a defined timeframe.”

Ms Lindley said the drive to help out the community was still there, but people had other commitments.

"Anything that aims at the retired volunteer market is having to work around grey nomading, grand-sitting,” she said.

On of the problems identified by Ms Lindley was compulsory attendance of committee meetings.

"Do you actually need that nowadays with technology?” she said.

She said groups should think outside the box and look towards university students studying relevant courses.

"Find the skills you're looking for and break it down into projects,” she said.

On the Volunteering Queensland website, groups can post what opportunities there are for volunteers.

There is also information on attracting volunteers too.

"You also have to make sure you have some really good processes in place so that you're not alienating that person when they come in because your organisation still operates in an old fashioned way and you're trying to welcome in a new type of volunteer,” Ms Lindley said.

She said position descriptions, insurance and all the finer details were important when bringing people in as volunteers.

The advice is timely as next week is National Volunteering Week, which celebrates the importance of those who freely give up their time to help out.

Gladstone Regional Council is holding a number of Volunteer Recognition Breakfasts throughout the region to say thanks to those who volunteer.

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