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Video title: Volunteers time with Kate

Video duration: 3:47

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Video transcript

Kate Aplin: If someone is working, has family, has lots of other commitments and they can only commit to a two-hour event once a year. That's just as valuable as someone who can volunteer 80 hours a day, five days a week. Time is the gift that a person can give, and it is appreciated and valued! It doesn't make one volunteer better than another volunteer because it is the gift that matters.

So one thing that is happening research wise with volunteering is what people are calling episodic volunteering. So it used to be that people would retire and go volunteer somewhere and stay volunteering with this organisation until they wanted to move to something else or they couldn't volunteer there any longer. People aren't retiring now. People can't afford to retire. So they thought that volunteering is only for older people who have retired.

We need to get rid of that. But what they also mean is that people are doing more episodic volunteering, which means they are not committing to it for a long period of time. That might be a six-week period, or it might be a three-month period, or it might be a year. But if you're as lucky as we are to give the likes of Grant and Janet, who's been at our desk for nine years, and, you know, we're lucky that we do have some longer-term volunteers, the expectation of organisation though, is don't expect someone to be longer than a year.

And in this area, it's even more so because we have the three tertiary institutions. So people were here for two or three years or five years, and then they move out once I've got the degree. We also have the military bases, and they get posted every two years. So people don't want to commit to something that and three years they don't even know if they'll be here.

So volunteering is when there's no financial gain. It's totally unpaid. And you do need to be very careful around that. When you're looking at recognition and rewards and make sure that it's not payment. And I do a workshop saying people can learn the difference between recognition and reward and also payment, but particularly if you're on a benefit, whether it's a pension, super or disability.

Return to jobseekers, whatever, if you were on a benefit and you seemed to be getting a payment, you could get in big trouble with the industry and you want to avoid that. So while an organisation that you volunteer for might think that they're doing you a nice thing by giving you $20 every month to cover your pay truck or whatever, unless you can show that it's a reimbursement as opposed to a payment, you can get in trouble and so can that organisation.

From 3 minutes and 11 seconds

Scott Groves: It's very embarrassing saying that to. Yeah. Yeah, it is.

Kate Aplin: Organisations shouldn't put volunteers in the position of having to say no. So that's where I come in, as I've believed with the organisations about, you know, I know you're really trying to do your best and you really want to do a good thing for these volunteers. But remember, they can only give a reimbursement.

Last updated on Tuesday, 18 July 2023

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