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Involving Volunteers: Why they’re crucial to success

Running programs, events and activities to reduce alcohol and other drug harms relies on amazing people to keep them going.

Often organisers require an extra set of hands, which is where volunteers can help.

We’re going to look at the benefits volunteers bring to the table and provide advice on how to place them in your project.

What kind of help can volunteers provide?

Volunteers help projects by lending their expertise, providing new insight, or offering an additional level of support.

They give their own time for the common good and without financial gain.

What this looks like, depends on the nature of the project they’re involved in.

A volunteer could be doing anything from refereeing a game of basketball, to managing a Local Drug Action Team’s social media account. It all depends on what the program needs and the skills of the volunteers.

Volunteers give their own time for the common good and without financial gain.

What kind of things motivate volunteers?

A volunteer can be motivated by a variety of reasons, as outlined in our Involving Volunteers toolkit.

These include:

  • making a difference in their community
  • gaining a sense of purpose
  • meeting other people, making friends, and socialising
  • feeling like they’re part of a team and their community
  • learning new skills
  • contributing to a cause they find meaningful
  • staying busy when not working
  • contributing to a specific issue they or their family have or are currently being impacted by.

What makes a volunteer effective?

Volunteers that are appropriately trained, strategically engaged, and recognised for their contribution will be the most effective.

  • Finding the right fit. Think strategically about what your program needs and find volunteers based on those skills.
  • Provide growth opportunities. Training ensures your volunteer’s work aligns with the program’s objectives.
  • Recognition means your volunteers feel appreciated. Doing this in a way that acknowledges their motivations is important for volunteer retention.

Where can I find more information?

Our Community Hub has a range of free, evidence-based resources that can help you find volunteers to support your project.

  • Download the Involving Volunteers toolkit - Free to download on our Community Hub, this toolkit has useful, evidence-informed advice and information. Whatever questions you may have about involving volunteers in your project, you’ll likely find the answer here.
  • Watch the Involving Volunteers webinar - To support our toolkit, we’ve also shared our Involving Volunteers webinar. It provides a great overview to start you thinking about volunteer opportunities.
  • Browse our case studies - We’ve also posted our extensive range of case studies and stories! Here you can learn how volunteers are helping community groups around Australia tackle alcohol and other drug harms.

The ADF’s new Community Hub is packed with free and easy to follow resources to help you connect with volunteers to assist in the delivery of your project.

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