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Winter Newsletter

For Registered Organisations

Welcome to the winter edition of Volunteer for Knox news.
The last few months have undoubtedly been the most challenging ever experienced in this sector due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now some of our registered organisations are allowed to open up slowly and this too presents just as many challenges.  

The volunteers who are already engaged with your organisation remain a vital resource as you navigate these unusual circumstances while also protecting them physically, mentally, and emotionally.​ Consider the following:
  • Prioritise your organisation’s staff, volunteers and community – Set up additional washing stations, encourage social distancing, and set up systems for staff – and volunteers – to work remotely where possible to reduce the spread of disease.​
  • Adjust volunteer and staff training – postpone training and leverage online training options.
  • Offer your volunteers opportunities for online convening – this is a great way to keep volunteers’ skills up!
  • Determine which volunteer positions are crucial to your current state of operations – Support your volunteers in working remotely wherever possible.
You will also need to:
  1. Plan for a volunteer workforce shortage
  2. Survey volunteers to determine their availability
  3. For volunteers who have high availability: ask if they would be willing to increase their volunteering to help fill gaps (given that they are healthy)
  4. Work with organisational leaders to prioritise programming/services that are delivered by volunteers. For example, programs providing food for those experiencing poverty will be priority and advocacy or education programs could be postponed.​

What do volunteers need in times of crisis?

During times of stress, stakeholders find the following three leadership traits particularly helpful and are asking these questions subconsciously to assess their presence: ​​

Consistency​: Do you show up the same way you did last time? ​Do the messages you share represent a logical narrative? ​Do they align with the organization’s values?

​Transparency:​ Do you say what you mean? ​Do you speak the truth, even when it’s unpopular? ​Do you admit mistakes, even if it’s uncomfortable?​

Predictability​: Is it clear where and when leaders will take action or, if more information is forthcoming, communicate the next steps? ​Is everyone kept in the loop about what happens next, even if it’s just an update on status?

General advice on safety

Volunteers are considered as ‘workers’ under Work Health and Safety (WHS) Laws and as such should be afforded the same considerations as a paid employee.
Download information sheet

Business continuity

With COVID-19 expected to spread, you should prepare for how this pandemic will disrupt the operations of your volunteer-involving organisation. It is highly likely that volunteers will pull back and no longer be available to support your work.
Download information sheet

Volunteer for Knox actions during COVID-19

Volunteer for Knox co-ordinators have developed an online induction video for volunteers to learn about their rights and responsibilities and register instead of our usual monthly face to face information sessions and created online registration forms to enrol with us. Both are working really well.

Currently, we have had more than 235 expressions of interest in positions during the past three months and around 60 people register with us for virtual positions we have advertised on Seek Volunteer. This is 300% more than normal. We encourage all our registered organisations to think about some virtual roles you might want us to advertise. A number of Knox organisations have developed virtual job roles and these roles are now advertised nationally through Seek and Go Volunteer via our Viktor database. Consequently, we have highly skilled people applying from most states in Australia as they can work from home.
Virtual volunteering examples
Some of the virtual job roles Volunteer for Knox are advertising include:
  • Online tutors to support socially isolated migrants and refugees to learn English
  • Compiling content for social media posts and/or community newsletters (articles about anything that might be of interest to those isolated from community, e.g. Recipes, garden tips, good books to read, local businesses providing delivery services, information about local organisations to get involved with after the crisis, interesting local places to share, photos from your daily walk, ideas for relieving boredom, local history and reminiscences,etc)
  • Letterboxing community newsletters particularly to those unable to access the Internet (collection from select community locations or by printing a few copies at home and letterboxing them to your direct neighbours)
  • Becoming a pen pal for people who are isolated including in Aged Care (envelopes and stamps will be posted to you)
  • Assisting with hosting online social events such as Talking café, cooking, gardening, craft demonstrations
  • Providing assistance to people have trouble using their devices to connect to social media etc. – via phone or email
  • Circulating resources and updates for organisations and volunteers through social media and website
  • Keeping Volunteer for Knox website and social media updated (Facebook and Instagram)
  • Liaising with peak body Volunteer Victoria and other state-wide volunteer resource centres to keep up with current trends and also participating in online support network meetings
Volunteer for Knox organised our first online Network meeting in May via Zoom with 20 organisations logging in and catching up with each other.

Volunteer for Knox free online training

Volunteer for Knox are offering free online training via Zoom to organisations and volunteers in the next few weeks. It’s a good time to build your online forum skills and learn.
  • Start using Zoom (Wed 10 June)
  • Work/life balance workshops (Wed 17 & Fri 19 June)
  • Managing diversity in the workplace (Wed 24 & Fri 26 June)
Contact office@volunteerforknox.com.au if you are interested and we will send you the link.

National volunteer week

While we couldn’t be out and about celebrating our registered volunteers we created a virtual competition. The first five organisations and volunteers to write about their volunteering experiences to be published on Facebook and Instagram won Coles/Myer shopping voucher.

Search for volunteer opportunities

If you know someone that wants to register, please tell them to email us at office@volunteerforknox.com.au. You can search for new positions on our website.

www.volunteerforknox.com.au

We're here to help

Thank you for registering with Volunteer for Knox. 
Volunteer for Knox Co-ordinators Sally Dusting-Laird & Leanne Conway
E: office@volunteerforknox.com.au
M: 0429968822
Website: www.volunteerforknox.com.au

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