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Volunteering New Zealand Focus

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VNZ Update September 2008

Volunteering New Zealand Focus

CommunityCentral demonstration at VNZ annual meeting
Community Central, the exciting new web-based interactive IT platform will be demonstrated at Volunteering NZ’s AGM on Wednesday 19 October. The AGM will be held at St John’s Centre, Dixon Street, Wellington at 4.30pm.

The new CommunityCentral website, shortly to go live in a trial form, is being developed in a collaborative project by ANGOA, NZ Council of Social Services, NZ Federation of Voluntary Welfare Organisations, SHORE (Centre for Social and Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation) and Volunteering NZ. The site will offer great potential for on-line communication and discussion by VNZ members and other organisations and individuals interested and/or involved in volunteering and the whole community/voluntary sector.

The initial features of site will include the distribution of this newsletter, VNZ Update, in a full web-based form. Recipients will receive a message informing them a new edition of Update has been published. The email will list the story headlines and provide links through to the items of particular interest in the newsletter. This and other features to come to CommunityCentral will be part of the demonstration at the VNZ annual meeting.

VNZ joining Volunteer Wellington to celebrate Volunteer Managers Appreciation Day

Volunteering NZ will join Volunteer Wellington in a special breakfast to celebrate the work of volunteer managers. While the official day for 2008 is Saturday 1 November, this celebratory breakfast will take place early a couple of days later, near the start of the working week. The event will feature a number of volunteer managers telling about a special experience or type of volunteering they have been involved in. The Australasian Association of Volunteer Administrators and its work in representing volunteer managers will also be outlined. Those being invited to the breakfast will include volunteer managers from local and Wellington based national organisations as others who provide support to volunteer management.

VNZ would welcome feedback from other parts of New Zealand about plans for celebrating this day. Just send an email to and let us know about your celebration.

International Volunteer Day
A month later on Friday, 5 December, New Zealand will join the rest of the world in celebrating International Volunteer Day. As in recent years, Volunteering NZ is working in collaboration with the Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector in the national promotion of the day and to encourage and assist community organisations arrange celebratory events.

Two keys themes will feature in the national publicity – stories about volunteering by younger people and the way in which New Zealand leads the world in terms of the contribution made by volunteers to the work of the non-profit sector. Two thirds of the non-profit sector workforce are volunteers, the highest percentage of the 41 countries which have participated in the Johns Hopkins international non-profit study.

New VNZ members
Volunteering NZ has two new members, the Sport and Recreation Council of NZ (SPARC) and the NZ Recreation Association. As the national organisation with responsibility for the promotion of sport and recreation, SPARC has programmes aimed at assisting volunteers and those responsible for their management. This includes the Club Kit on-line resource for clubs and volunteers.

The New Zealand Recreation Association (NZRA) is a non-profit organisation committed to meeting the professional needs of people and organisations associated with all aspects of recreation, leisure, parks, open space management, aquatic, conservation and sport delivery. Governed by a voluntary board, the Association works for and supports a range agencies involved in recreation activities, including many operated by volunteer community groups.


Many thoughtful and useful presentations at the Volunteering Australia conference
This was the conclusion of Tim Burns, VNZ Executive Director, after attending the recent conference in Queensland and he found other New Zealanders at the conference had similar views.

One of the highlights was a special address given at the conference dinner by Margaret Bell, who has been a leader of the volunteer movement in Australia and was World President of the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE). She spoke about how the volunteer movement needed to raise the bar.

She described volunteering as being at a crossroad. It could choose to maintain the status quo, becoming an echo of its former self by promoting and encouraging little more than a benevolent model of volunteering that was urgently needed in the 19th and 20th centuries. Alternatively, it could accept the enormous challenges of the modern world by supporting new models of volunteering to develop a strong inclusive civil society. To do this there would need to be the introduction of a radical transformation in education programmes for volunteer leaders and volunteers.

The topics Tim Burns chose to attend included a workshop presented by Andy Fryar and shorter presentations on youth volunteering which have added to the knowledge that will be needed for VNZ’s focus on promoting volunteering among younger people. There was also a presentation on baby boomer volunteering that was pertinent to VNZ’s other major focus population group. He found stimulating sessions on how to take real steps to enable people with disabilities to volunteer. Most of the papers, including Margaret Bell’s address are available through the Volunteering Australia website

There was a one day research symposium prior to the main conference. Professor Margaret Tennant presented the keynote paper, giving her perspective as a researcher and historian in the writing of the History of the Non-Profit Sector in NZ and the report “The New Zealand Non-Profit Sector in Comparative Perspective”. James King, OCVS, and Tim Burns VNZ made a short presentation about the “How do New Zealanders Give” research report produced by Nick Jones for the Promoting Generosity project. The forum highlighted the great range of volunteering related research projects completed or underway in Australia.

Martin Cowling workshops next February/March
Martin Cowling, the specialist educator in volunteer service development and management, will present workshops in several centres in the second half of February and early March next year. We are finalising the itinerary and topics with him and the host centres and should be able to provide the full details in the next issue of VNZ Update. At this stage, there will be two and maybe three workshops in the South Island and four in the North Island.
Employee volunteering: Observations from the front-line. A report on community & business perspectives on employee volunteering in New Zealand
New research reaffirms the benefits and challenges of employee volunteering programmes. Massey University’s Dr Louise Lee interviewed managers from 29 organisations as part of research on community and business perspectives on employee volunteering in New Zealand.

The research shows that businesses see improved staff morale, potential for attracting new employees, the importance of team building, and opportunities to enhance business reputation and profile. Employee volunteering helps community organisations to access teams of volunteers to undertake major projects, harness new skills and knowledge, improve understanding between themselves and the private and public sectors and raise profile and awareness of their work.
Results indicate that employee volunteering has the potential to deliver mutual benefits and promote business community relations built on cooperation and trust. However, reaching this potential is challenging. Results indicate four key challenges in developing effective employee volunteering programmes.

Firstly, recognising the need for mutual value and clarifying expectations are key considerations. Secondly, effective employee volunteering programmes require reciprocity - on-going demonstrations of commitment and reliability of all participants. Thirdly, employees and community organisations, in addition to senior business management, need to be actively involved in decision-making processes. Lastly, capacity building in both sectors is a priority. Effective employee volunteering programmes call for both business and community organisations to develop the knowledge, skills and resources to meet the demands of cross-sector collaboration. The full report can be downloaded from Contact Dr Lee about her research

The Intrepid Volunteers Challenge - Go Make A Difference
Good Magazine and Intrepid Travel have joined forces to create a multimedia campaign to reward and promote volunteers and non-profit community organisations in New Zealand.

“It is our goal to help make New Zealand the world’s leading nation of volunteers (per capita)” said Gavin Healy, Good magazines’, social marketing manager. To accomplish this they have created a social networking site so that volunteers and non-profit organisations can connect and create an online communities using similar technology to Face Book and My Space. It is a completely free service that will help charities raise their profiles and recruit new volunteers.

Charity campaigns and volunteers on the site will be promoted in each issue Good magazine. They will also be joining forces with Fairfax media to create a national campaign and awards ceremony to coincide with National Volunteers Week 2009.

The new service is easy to join. Go to (which is an anagram for Go Make A Difference) and sign up. To get an article for charity Good magazine, please email

Community projects nationwide benefit from Transpower’s CommunityCare Fund
Transpower has announced that 23 community organisations throughout New Zealand will benefit from $598,300 of funding from its CommunityCare Fund. The projects funded span eight regions, including Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Taranaki, Central North Island, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago.

One of the successful projects is a grant of NZ$32,000 to the Computer Clubhouse Trust in Manukau to assist with the set up of a flagship “Clubhouse 274” facility - a learning and technology centre where children, youth and their families have access to learning technology, career programmes and mentoring services


New member co-opted to VNZ Board
The VNZ Board recently invited Tyron Love to join the Board as a co-opted member. From Te Atiawa, Tyron lectures in Management at the Wellington campus of Massey University. He is a Research Associate for the Māori Business Research Centre at the University. As a trained primary school teacher, Tyron’s passion resides in education. Through post-graduate study, he has developed a keen interest in corporate philanthropy and Māori business research.

He is also a member of the Philanthropy NZ Board and the Promoting Generosity Hub. He works closely at Massey University with Louise Lee, Volunteer Wellington board member.

New OCVS Director
The new OCVS Director Alasdair Finnie was recently appointed and will join OCVS as of November 2008. He was Chief Executive at Arthritis NZ for several years. He is currently Manager Strategic Development at Legal Services Agency (the government agency which manages the legal aid system).

New Commissioner joins Human Rights Commission
Chief Human Rights Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan welcomed the appointment of Richard Tankersley, Ngai Tahu, of Christchurch as a part-time Human Rights Commissioner. Mr Tankersley is a team leader at Glenelg Children’s Health Camp. In 2005/06 he was employed as a project worker with the Alcohol Drug Association of New Zealand and in the two years prior to that he was Assistant Regional Manager with the Chief Electoral Office.


Hampden Community Energy wins the Supreme Award
Hampden Community Energy Incorporated has won the supreme award in the TrustPower Waihemo District Community Awards. The group organised the Hampden Energy Expo, held in June this year. The expo provided a forum for people to discuss practical sustainability options, and as a community, work towards to achieving this sustainability.

The category winners in the Waihemo District were:
Heritage and Environment: Palmerston and Waihemo A & P Association
Health and Well Being: Palmerston Meals on Wheels
Arts and Culture: Puketapu Radio
Sport and Leisure: Lance Curtis Memorial Motocross Fun Day Committee
Educational and Child/Youth Development: Palmerston Presbyterian Church

ERUPT Lake Taupo Arts Festival Trust takes out Supreme Award
ERUPT Lake Taupo Arts Festival Trust was supreme award winner of the TrustPower Taupo Awards. The ERUPT Trust holds a 10 day festival in May every second year. Their aim is to culturally enrich and inspire the Taupo community through the delivery of quality performances and visual arts. There were many spectacular performances at this year’s festival including music from Brazil, an Argentinean Tango dance show, comedy from the UK, the NZ String quartet, the Legacy Dance Crew, Strike percussion, Moana Maniapoto and the Tribe, Spanish dance and NZ Theatre. In total 7000 tickets were sold which was almost double the numbers from the last Festival in 2006.

Category winners in Taupo were:
Heritage and Environment: Taupo SPCA
Health and Well Being: Taupo Volunteer Transport Group and Turangi Volunteer Transport Group (joint winners)
Arts and Culture: Taupo Youth Wind Band
Sport and Leisure: Taupo Branch of NZ Deer Stalkers
Educational and Child/Youth Development: Literacy Taupo Inc


NGO-MoH Forum 2008 "Making National Partnerships Work"
The Hobson Room, L2, Alexandra Park, Auckland 23 October 2008, 9.00-3.45 pm
This year’s NGO and Ministry of Health Forum will have several excellent speakers such as
Stephen McKernan (Director-General of Health; Ministry of Health), Nicola White (Assistant Auditor-General, Legal; Office of the Auditor General) and Hingatu Thompson (Group Manager, Maori Population Health; Ministry of Health).
To register or if you have any questions about the Forum, visit or contact Muno Richards ( or Phil Berghan-Whyman (

Australia New Zealand Third Sector Research 9th Biennial Conference-
AUT University City Council, Auckland 24-26 November, 2008
The conference aims to gather academics, practitioners, artists and everyone else involved and interested in the Third Sector to present their ideas, experiences, processes and findings of their valuable work they have accomplished. The three main themes of the conference will be:
 Responsibilities and Rights for Wellbeing of People and Planet
 Organisation, Governance, Management in the Third Sector
 Public Private Partnerships, Corporate Social Responsibilities
For more information visit

Australasian Retreat for Advanced Volunteer Management
Gold Coast, Australia 11 - 13 March 2009
The Retreat is an annual educational and professional development opportunity for volunteer programme managers who feel they are past the 'basics' of their profession and are seeking new challenges. For further information please visit

Philanthropy NZ & Community Trusts combined conference
Wellington 18-19 March 2009
The dates for the Philanthropy NZ and Community Trusts conference were just announced and further information will follow shortly at

Not-for-profit performance generates more than just figures
a half day workshop run by the Institute of Accountants to encourage using non financial performance measures – in Palmerston North, Wellington, Hamilton, Auckland, Dunedin and Christchurch in the next month. Check it out on::

International Not-for-profit Convention & Exhibition (INCE) 08 - Brave New World
Brisbane 12 -14 November.
Be challenged and inspired by over 40 educational sessions on governance, leadership, management, marketing, membership and revenue. For the conference program, click here.


Volunteering and social activism: Pathways for participation in human development
The CIVICUS-IAVE-UNV initiative conducted a study during 2007/2008 to explore the role of both volunteering and social activism in development. The study involved contributions from all three organisations and drew on inputs from nearly 100 volunteer-involving organisations across 54 countries in all regions across the globe. The publication, which will be launched later this year explores the stories of volunteers participating around the world to deepen democracy, facilitate social change, and advance development. It seeks to promote a shared understanding of how different forms of volunteerism contribute to the achievement of local, national and international development objectives, and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). For further information, visit

UN report on follow-up to the International Year of Volunteers
A report by the United Nations on actions taken since the UN International Year of Volunteers in 2001 has urged the governments to implement policies conducive to the development of volunteering through legislation, infrastructure building, partnerships with the corporate sector, and youth initiatives

This recently published report will be presented to the United Nations General Assembly by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in October. It also called for greater awareness of the changing face of volunteering and more recognition of the contribution volunteers can make to society. Taking the overall situation of volunteerism since 2001 into account, the report focuses in particular on developments since 2005. Follow-up to the results of the International Year continues, despite national disparities in the implementation of the outcome recommendations.

In addition, the report contains the proposals on possible ways to mark the tenth anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers in 2011 (IYV+10), the overall contribution of volunteerism to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and role of volunteers in addressing environmental issues. The report can be downloaded from

First voluntary sector survey in Ireland
A recent survey conducted among 317 voluntary organisations in Ireland found that 82 per cent of full-time workers and 85 per cent of part-time workers are women. It also found that the voluntary sector in Ireland generates more than 2.5bn euros (NZ$5bn) or 8.4 per cent of Irish GDP. It employs 8.8 per cent of the country's workforce, with 40,000 full-time and 23,000 part-time staff. Volunteers provide the equivalent of a further 31,000 staff. Half of the employees work in the health sector, and 30 per cent in development and housing. To view the full article, visit

Be funny while fundraising
Recent research conducted among the donors in the UK discovers that humor and soft language are the best allies of the charities while trying to persuade donors to provide the funds for their programme and initiatives. For more information visit

Volunteer decline in the UK
According to the UK government's 2007-2008 Citizenship Survey, volunteer numbers in England and Wales have declined since 2005 and current levels of volunteering are now back in line with 2001 figures.

Negative image of the v-word was usually the problem of the countries such as those from the former Eastern Block where the previous communist regimes cherished obligatory community commitment of the individuals. The article published recently by UK based paper Guardian proves that the countries even with the long tradition and high ‘Investments’ in volunteering has a v-word problem, too. For the further reading please refer to

Oldest Peace Corps Volunteer starts his service
In the times when volunteer centres and society in general are struggling with how ‘to activate’ the increasing ageing population, comes the example of Ralph H. Bernstein from Ohio, USA who has just been accepted into the Peace Corps. This 84 year olds became the oldest currently serving Peace Corps Volunteer and probably one of the oldest volunteers in the world. Read a full story at


This issue includes couple of feature articles starting with Susan Ellis hot topic exploring the difference between volunteers and paid staff which is sometimes perceived as a thin line. Another great tip from Susan follows. It’s about volunteering opportunities for children and points out several do’s and dont’s. With the summer school holidays approaching, it is probably the right time to think how best to engage the youngest New Zealanders in volunteering. Finally, there is information about available resources. Get inspired!

Replacing Volunteers with Paid Staff
By Susan J. Ellis
There is endless talk about making sure volunteers do not displace paid staff. This is a legitimate topic, though one based more on fear than reality. But what about the opposite issue? When and how is it legitimate to place employees into roles traditionally held by volunteers? This is an emerging trend that deserves attention.

On the macro level, of course, this is exactly what history teaches us about the formation of all organizations and institutions. A small group of visionary, maverick volunteers sees an unmet need, gets together, and works hard to start a service or facility. As the volunteers evolve their programme, inevitably at some point money is raised and staff hired – specifically to do more intensive work than the volunteers want or can continue to do.

But the issue I’m concerned with here is different. More and more I’m hearing of paid workers being assigned, too often thoughtlessly, to roles that were always considered the domain of volunteers. In many cases, volunteers are still doing the same work, possibly on a different schedule than employees but also side-by-side. It’s no surprise to those of us in volunteer management that tension frequently results.

Perhaps the most common example of this volunteer role substitution by paid staff occurs when staffing reception or information desks, and also on-site gift shops. Hospitals and museums lead the list of settings making this change. There are other examples, but let’s examine these to analyze what is going on.

Many institutions have asked volunteers to handle these functions for as far back as memory allows. No one today may even know why this tradition started. It probably was connected to limited funds that had to be expended on other priorities and the feeling that spots such as an information station or gift shop were excellent opportunities to set a welcoming tone by neighbor-to-neighbor interaction. Regardless of its roots, the volunteers who gladly accepted the responsibility when asked have developed a sense of ownership and pride for it.

Now add in a few other key factors:
 Aging-in-place of long-time volunteers who may no longer be able to handle the required duties as well as they used to, or who no longer represent the institution’s desired face to the public.
 Resistance by new volunteers to committing to a fixed schedule over a long period – exactly what a front desk or shop assignment requires. These locations have to be covered, no matter what.
 Introduction of computers, complicated phone systems, electronic cash registers, and other technology – plus all sorts of new privacy regulations – which make the work much more complicated than being friendly to visitors.
From the perspective of consistent service to consumers through assured, constant, competent presence at a location operating many hours and possibly all week, employees may actually be better suited to these types of roles, despite the tradition of assigning volunteers there. When you pay someone a salary, you can require attendance at hours you set. There is no question that paying one to three employees to permanently work the desk or the store is the easiest way to go. And if money is available to pay such staff, it’s legitimate to do so.
So What’s the Problem? It is how the transition from volunteer to employee is handled.
If management decides outright to replace all volunteers in a certain activity with paid staff, the change should never be a surprise. In fairness, and to show respect for past efforts, the volunteers involved should be told in advance of the plan – but not as a simple announcement. The change-over should include:
 Public thanks to those currently filling the volunteer role and recognition of all the volunteers from the past. Acknowledgement is critical and only fair.
 Asking for input and advice from volunteers about what should be included in the new staff’s job descriptions. Who is in a better position to know what this work really entails?
 Asking for ideas as to how, possibly, volunteers might still be involved in the service provided, but in new ways that expand/enhance the primary work of the new paid staff.
 Offering reassignment to those who wish to remain as volunteers in support of the facility. The alternative opportunities should be attractive and not seen as “demotions.”
 Explanation of the timeline and, if the full transition to paid staff will occur over several months, clarification of how volunteers will function during the changeover.
Do not take volunteers for granted and assume that, because they give their time willingly, they will blindly support any management decision. Even more serious is the potential for conflict between the new paid staff and the volunteers still on board – tension that may well be conveyed in service delivery.

But few organizations replace volunteers wholesale. Instead, they inch their way into displacement, sometimes without any plan at all. It starts with filling schedule gaps, perhaps by sending an employee in another job over to the desk or store for a few hours if volunteers cannot come in. Or one staff member is hired to cover evenings or weekends. Suddenly the situation evolves in which employees and volunteers are doing the same work at different times, and sometimes side-by-side. That’s when the real trouble begins.

The absolute worst thing to do is ignore the dynamics of this situation and let the employees and volunteers “work it out.” They can’t. It isn’t their job to answer such central questions as:
 Who’s in charge? If there is a difference of opinion, whose prevails?
 If both an employee and volunteer are on duty together, who responds first to the client/visitor/customer? (Why?) What does the other person do while that is happening?
 Since an employee will be working more hours than most volunteers, what’s the employee’s job description compared with that of the volunteer? What else will the paid staff member be expected to do when things are slow at the desk or shop? Which activities take priority?
 Who sets standards for service delivery?
 Do the volunteers and employees report to the same supervisor?
None of these questions are necessarily hard to answer, but answered they must be – and by someone in authority. Left invisible, resentments will fester. Don’t victimize either the paid or the unpaid staff by dropping them into an unclear work environment.

These sorts of issues arise every time an organization changes its direction in when and how to deploy volunteers and employees to fulfill certain roles. The advice stays the same: articulate why you are making the change; speak openly with everyone involved; and clarify expectations on all sides. Such respect and recognition will win long-term loyalty.

Tip of the Month from Susan Ellis: "Developing Volunteer Work for Children"
Even children under age 14 can be great volunteers, but much depends on your ability to design the right assignments for them. Experiment to find what works best in your setting. Here are some general guidelines, excerpted and adapted from our book, Children as Volunteers: Preparing for Community Service (Ellis, Weisbord, and Noyes, 2003):
 Beware of the myth that children will do anything "because they're young." The best jobs are ones children want to do.
 Avoid stereotyping. Assign work based on the interests of each child, rather than on some preconceived notions such as "boys like to work with their hands" or "girls don't like to get dirty."
 Children often have fewer prejudices than adults. Use this open-mindedness to create cross-cultural, intergenerational, or interracial assignments. Though initially children may need preparation in facing a new situation (seeing a person in a wheelchair, hearing someone speak with an accent), they overcome such superficial barriers more quickly than adults.
 On the other hand, children adopt the prejudices they hear expressed at home and may amaze you with their "opinions" on a variety of subjects. Therefore, do not assume open-mindedness and provide training before making a potentially embarrassing assignment. Children say what's on their minds.
 In designing roles, identify whether literacy is needed to accomplish goals and, if so, what reading level is required. This is an important clue to which child can do the job.
 Children need to see immediate results, even on a small scale. Define assignments as a series of short-term tasks with identifiable goals or projects. This can be as simple as saying "today your job is to play checkers with Mr. Jones," or "please pick up the litter in this area." One of the most effective techniques to keep children motivated is to give them a sense of accomplishment.
 Plan for some variety within each assignment. This will allow you to accommodate the physical, mental and emotional levels of different children. Offering assorted activities also keeps youngsters from getting bored and lets them choose what they really feel like doing at any given time. Attention span will vary with each child's age and maturity (and the nature of the task) -- another reason for offering options.
Write a position description for every assignment, even if the task is very simple or will be done by children who cannot read (you can explain it orally). Keep it short and informal, but present it seriously. When developing position descriptions for adult/child teams, do not fall into the trap of writing a single description aimed at the adult. The child needs her/his own version. This is your first chance to demonstrate your expectation that the child will be a fully-contributing partner in the work.
Research Bulletins from the Institute for Volunteering Research (IVR)
IVR is an initiative of Volunteering England in association with the Centre for Institutional Studies at the University of East London which focuses on research of the different aspects of volunteering at a variety of levels. Their regularly published Research Bulletins cover wide variety of topics from youth volunteering to the value of volunteer effort. They could be downloaded from

Volunteer Management Education Books for Sale

Volunteering NZ has for sale copies of four books written by Linda Graff on developing policies and risk management for volunteering programmes. The titles and prices are:

Best of All – Quick reference Guide to Best Practice $46.00
Better Safe – Risk Management for Volunteer Programmes $46.00
Beyond Police Checks – Screening Guidebook $46.00
By Definition – Policies for Volunteer Programmes $36.00

We also have copies of Mary Woods’ book
Volunteers, A guide for Volunteers an their Organisations $25.00

Postage and Handling
Up to 2 publications $5.50 3 or more publication $10.00

All the prices are GST inclusive.

Posters from past Awareness Weeks suitable for general promotions and recruiting volunteers are available free from VNZ.

Orders for all may be faxed to 04 3843637 or emailed to Payment may be made by cheque or credit card. If wishing to pay by credit card we will send you documentation to complete and return.


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