Reconnected - Thursday 6 September, Shoalhaven Library, Nowra
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 – Shoalhaven Library, Nowra, 6 September 2018
On 6 September 2018, local charities joined Labor's Andrew Leigh and Fiona Phillips to discuss strategies for increasing social capital in our communities.
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.
- People engage and volunteer their time when they see a direct link to an organisation’s purpose with their own life or community, to draw in potential volunteers make the link clear (education and communication about the purpose they can assist)
- Volunteer co-ordination needs sustained resources as relationships are built over time.
- A central hub, aggregating all grant avenues from different sources and funders would ensure organisations don’t miss opportunities for financial support
- Short term funding is a good fit for small projects with modest expenses that might be seed-ground for larger, self-sustaining projects.
- Encourage collaboration and cross-pollination through grants that reward ongoing collaborations between organisations with compatible purposes.
- There are 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 volunteers 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.
- In the absence of adequate financial resources, organisations could look to share services and barter skills / functions. A network where organisations could share records of their staff capabilities would facilitate skill-sharing and collaboration
- Time and resource strapped organisations would benefit from template tools and ‘how to’ kits, for fostering, and formalising partnerships
- Up to date mapping of existing networks and needs would allow organisations to seek out partners working on compatible causes, or draw on the skills and strategies of organisations addressing doing similar work elsewhere in the country.
- ‘Not-for-profit’ should be changed to ‘for purpose’
- A public awareness campaign could help people see the need for volunteering and community service and also present the value of the sector – this will increase people’s sense that it is a worth their time and that the time they might give is a meaningful contribution.
- 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
- 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.