1. Volunteering with the Australian-Syrian Charity

1.1. Volunteer policy values & definitions

The Australian-Syrian Charity (ASC) encourages and values the involvement of volunteers and the contributions that they make to the community. ASC is committed to involving and supporting volunteers to ensure a mutually satisfying experience for the volunteer, agency and community. Volunteers enable ASC to reach out to more families and individuals who are vulnerable and disadvantaged.

ASC commits to Volunteering Australia’s formal definition of volunteering – that volunteering is an activity which takes place through not-for-profit organisations or projects, and is undertaken: to be of benefit to the community and the volunteer; of the volunteer’s own free will and without coercion; for no financial payment; and in designated volunteer positions only.

1.2 Philosophy & objectives for involving volunteers

ASC understands that volunteer involvement is a two-way relationship. Community involvement is across the charity’s programs and services. It is essential to promote diversity, equality and inclusiveness among volunteers involved at ASC, just as we also ensure that opportunities for community participation are accessible to ASC’s diverse communities. For us, volunteering provides the opportunity to achieve program and service goals and contributes to better social and community outcomes for our refugees and communities.

For volunteers, impacts and benefits from their involvement may be measured in a variety of ways (including but not limited to): supporting individuals’ empowerment and self-worth, building general wellbeing, emotional resilience, pride, purpose and accomplishment, and expanding their skills and connection to the Australian community.

Involving volunteers is a practical way in which ASC realises its commitment to community engagement and ownership. Actively engaging volunteers at all levels of organisation (within appropriate activities and programs) encourages meaningful participation from volunteers that match their skills, interests and expertise. Developing the knowledge, skill set and networks of volunteers is important to us.

1.3 Principles of Volunteering

ASC commits to a set of beliefs or guidelines that are designed to protect the individual volunteer and also provide guidelines around volunteering. These principles define volunteering as:

• benefitting the community and the volunteer

• an activity that is unpaid

• always a matter of choice

• an activity performed in the not-for-profit sector only

• a legally accepted way to get involved in the community

• not a replacement for paid work

• respecting the rights, dignity and culture of others, and

• promoting human rights and equality.

1.4 Volunteers’ rights and responsibilities

ASC strives to maintain the highest standards possible for the protection and promotion of the rights and responsibilities of volunteers. ASC commits to the following as the basic rights and responsibilities of a volunteer, as set out by Volunteering Australia and Volunteering Victoria.

Volunteers have the right to:

• have a position description and agreed volunteering hours

• be treated in accordance with equal opportunity and anti-discrimination legislation

• have confidential and personal information dealt with in accordance with the principles of the Privacy Act 1988

• be given orientation and information about the organisation

• be provided with sufficient training and support to do the volunteering

• not to bring the Charity into disrepute through social media presence refer to

Appendix A: ASC Social Media Policy. 

• to act in an acceptable way which does not bring disrepute on the organisation 

• to always seek advance permission before bringing visitors into ASC premises

• be given a volunteer policy and other policies that affect the volunteering

• be supported and supervised in the volunteering role

• be adequately covered by insurance

• work in a healthy and safe environment

• have access to a grievance procedure, and

• decline a position previously held by a paid worker.

Volunteers have a responsibility to:

• be reliable

• respect confidentiality and privacy

• carry out the agreed volunteer position

• be accountable for the volunteering that is done

• be committed to the values of the organisation

• not to bring the Charity into disrepute through social media presence

‘Please refer to Appendix A: ASC Social Media Policy’.

• to act in an acceptable way which does not bring disrepute on the organisation

• be willing to undertake training

• ask for help and support when needed

• be prepared to follow policies and procedures

• report any suspected abuse, on reasonable grounds to the volunteer co-ordinator

• give adequate notice before leaving the organisation

• value and support other team members

• carry out the agreed task responsibly and ethically; and

• carry out ASC policy, procedures and agreed practices that are designed to promote the rights of ASC’s clients and service users to receive services that are:

• free

• non-judgmental

• impartial and anti-discriminatory, and

• that respect the right of individuals to self-determination.

ASC Volunteer Policy – 2019