Reconnected Tasmania - social capital conversations
The Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP – Member for Fenner
Shadow Assistant Treasurer | Shadow Minister for Competition and Productivity
Shadow Minister for Charities and Not-for-Profits | Shadow Minister for Trade In Services
Social capital conversations – Launceston LINC
On 30 August 2017, around 50 Tasmanian charities joined Labor's Ross Hart, Justine Keay, Brian Mitchell and Andrew Leigh.
The small group conversations generated dozens of ideas and observations, some of which are set out below. Please note that this list does not reflect Labor policy, but the ideas that were proposed by the charities and not-for-profits in attendance.
Engaging and enlisting volunteers
- Volunteers respond well to time specific tasks, well defined roles and variety. Sustainable programs will match the talents of volunteers with relevant tasks and opportunities.
- Volunteer co-ordination needs sustained resources as relationships are built over time.
- Volunteering prepares people for work and teaches them employable skills, it should be presented as an effective channel for preparing people for the workforce.
- Funding models need to fit the structure of the organisations – organisations addressing long term, systemic problems need stability to implement long term plans, while smaller, startup organisations need to be able to access seed funding on shorter term agreements (ie that recognise their experimental purpose, and that recognise outcomes are prospective at the outset).
- Short term funding is a good fit for small projects with modest expenses that might be seed-ground for larger, self-sustaining projects.
- There are disparate resources and skills waiting to be tapped, could be corralled by an agent to bring volunteering services into facilities – community centres / libraries / schools / aged care centres – or to direct skills to organisations in need.
- Transport support can dramatically increase the reach of services – ie a community bus can increase the service range of an ageing support hub, increasing the potential pool of clients from a local neighbourhood to a small region.
- A representative association for NGO / NFPs would help groups manage regulation and share costs of representing sector interests (ie legal advice). It could also look at whether the regulatory environment allows charities to readily share resources with other charities (benevolent oversight could set terms for freer exchange).
- Create incentives for organisations operating in related issues to collaborate
- Create an expectation that higher education, for example, includes a mentoring component – could be supported with generic resources for colleges and high schools to set up programs.
- Volunteering ambassador – liaise with schools and young people to show them the opportunities and experience that comes with volunteering, and to create pathways
- Intake for vulnerable people into confronting government or support systems would be smoother with a buddy or mentoring element, and a simplified entry system, the more steps people have to go through, the more people will drop out along the way.
- Organisations that rely on volunteers are more open and outward looking – this is something to celebrate and promote as a sign of collective agency and openness to the influence and ideas of committed contributors.