Many community organisations are completely volunteer-run, or rely heavily on the commitment and support of their volunteers. There are many organisations, like Volunteering Victoria, Volunteering Australia, and local volunteer resource centres and skilled volunteering groups which can link you with potential volunteers. They often have online resources about volunteer recruitment and management issues. We have provided links to some of these organisations in the Resources section below.
PilchConnect focuses on the legal issues that may arise when attracting, screening, selecting and managing volunteers.
Your organisation owes its volunteers certain legal obligations. These are sometimes hard to work out - the way that the law applies to volunteers is often different from the way that it applies to employees and independent contractors. Also, there are laws which provide that, in certain situations, your organisation will be held legally responsible for the actions of its volunteers. This makes it crucial for your organisation to have good volunteer management practices, policies and insurance in place.
The information on this website is intended as a guide only, and is not legal advice. If you or your organisation has a specific legal issue, you should seek advice before making a decision about what to do.
The following resources are designed to provide Victorian community organisations with basic legal information about volunteers:
- What is a volunteer? What's the difference between a volunteer, an independent contractor and an employee?
- Recruitment - What legal issues should we consider when we take on a new volunteer?
- Entitlements - What legal obligations might our organisation owe to our volunteers?
- Liability - Can our organisation be legally responsible for the actions of our volunteers?
- Volunteer FAQs - includes answers to questions on insurance, IP, tax and equal opportunity.
Volunteer support organisations and brokers
Volunteering Victoria is a not-for-profit, non-government state peak body representing all aspects of the volunteering sector in this state.
Volunteering Australia is the national peak body working to advance volunteering in the Australian community. The site includes resources to assist not-for-profit organisations with volunteer management, including an information pack on volunteers and sexual harassment laws (2011).
This guide developed by the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) provides community organisations with information about a range of 'brokers' that can match them with skilled volunteers.