Where we started

In 2001,South Australia was the first state in Australia to appoint a Minister for Volunteers. This appointment recognised the importance of volunteering to individuals, the community and to promote a civil society. The International Year of Volunteers was also celebrated in 2001, and a journey commenced in South Australia to create a compact between the Government and the Volunteer Sector. The compact, “Advancing the Community Together” was subsequently signed by the Premier and 29 volunteer-involving organisations.

In 2011, South Australia tabled a report of significant achievements to the United Nations to celebrate the 10th anniversary of International Year of Volunteers. That year also saw a re-commitment to the compact with the release of the revitalised “Advancing the Community Together” partnership.

The Volunteering Strategy for South Australia is a continuation of this important journey of collaboration, for the benefit of volunteers, volunteer-involving organisations and the advancement of volunteering.

The Vision

We want to ensure that the number of volunteers continues to grow, even in the face of these changing community norms and our ageing population. We need to respond to these trends and embrace new opportunities, so that volunteering remains vibrant and strong.

This volunteering strategy is the result of a collaboration between the Government of South Australia, Business SA, the Local Government Association of South Australia and the peak body Volunteering SA&NT.

It provides a practical blueprint for action, which will bring real and lasting improvements to the volunteer experience for South Australians.

Focus Areas

Invest in the foundations of volunteering

This focus area will ensure that volunteers are welcomed and valued by society and are given the opportunity to develop according to their individual abilities, needs and aspirations.


As interest in volunteering grows, volunteer involving organisations need to be supported to build their capacity to inclusively recruit, train and support volunteers. The aim is to deliver experiences that match the needs, aspirations and lifestyles of volunteers and higher standards of volunteer management.

Now what?

Key actions to achieve change will include:

  • Raise the status and profile of volunteers and volunteer management
  • Clarify the difference between volunteering and paid employment, while acknowledging the benefits shared between the fields of volunteering and those of employment-driven internships and work experience
  • Increase opportunities and accessibility of training for volunteers and managers of volunteers to increase recruitment and retention of volunteers
  • Update, accredit and increase the uptake of the National Volunteer Standards and best practice
  • Increase partnerships that develop the capacity of community organisations, minority groups, young people and communities of interest
  • Identify fiscal barriers for volunteering in all sectors and research solutions
  • Review the definition of volunteering to address emerging trends


Promote and inform on the benefits of volunteering

This focus area will raise the profile of volunteering in South Australia to ensure all facets of the community have a greater understanding of the benefits of volunteering, with the ultimate goal of facilitating greater participation. A key challenge is to create and strengthen more resilient communities by sourcing volunteers to meet demand.


Where there are issues such as shortages of volunteers, marginalised groups being underrepresented or people from diverse backgrounds facing barriers to inclusion, it is vital that the benefits of volunteering are accessible to all volunteer-involving organisations. This builds community wellbeing and a robust civil society.

Now what?

Key actions to achieve change will include:

  • Develop a holistic promotion strategy for volunteer recruitment with a unified message
  • Promote positive images of volunteers and the diversity of volunteering roles
  • Identify innovative and new IT models for volunteer recruitment, training, engagement and funding
  • Research and promote the benefits of corporate volunteering and encourage employers to provide employee-working arrangements, which facilitate volunteering in the community
  • Recognise volunteering as both a pathway to employment and a pathway to retirement with multiple outcomes for individual well-being and connections to community
  • Simplify volunteer recruitment processes and consider common templates

Implement leading practice and high quality standards.

This focus area will support an active infrastructure that is essential to inclusive and sustained volunteer involvement. Issues that impede volunteering need to be responded to and more effective policy interventions need to be initiated to support volunteering.


Governments, business and volunteer involving organisations need to work together to ensure that regulatory requirements are as clear and uncomplicated as possible and that future policy decisions take into account any potential impact on volunteering.

Now what?

Key actions to achieve change will include:

  • Identify issues and gaps in the rights of volunteers in terms of work health safety, governance and recognition
  • Review government and private funding criteria to include volunteer costs, training and management
  • Investigate the transferability of criminal history record checks across organisations and jurisdictions.
  • Develop simple guidelines on how they should be used
  • Improve access to information on regulatory requirements, good governance and risk management for the use of volunteer-led community organisations, to reduce red tape

Progressively adapt through continuous improvement.

The value of volunteering to individuals and communities needs to be recognised across South Australia. This focus area ensures the impact of volunteering on individuals, organisations and communities is measured consistently with the aim of continuous improvement and advocacy.


There is a lack of information about the scale and impact of volunteering. This focus area generates and tests potential solutions to overcome barriers to volunteering and ensures the strategy remains focused on collaborative action and results.

Now what?

Key actions to achieve change include:

  • Support research and advocacy that documents the value and impact of volunteering
  • Address the time-poor barrier to volunteering by developing innovative avenues to volunteering such as family volunteering, on-line roles, ‘voluntourism’, episodic roles and opportunities for students, employees and the singles segment
  • Adopt a governance structure for the implementation of the Volunteering Strategy for South Australia in collaboration with stakeholders and strategy partners
  • Review the Volunteering Strategy for South Australia on an annual basis to ensure it is relevant, deals with current trends and practice and maintains partner and bi-partisan support

Download The Volunteering Strategy for South Australia 2014-2020

This volunteering strategy is a practical blueprint for action over the next three years, which will bring real and lasting improvements to the volunteer experience for South Australians.