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COVID-19 | Volunteering Victoria Activities & Support Update: 18 - 31 March 2020

message from our
C H I E F  E X E C U T I V E
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As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, each passing day brings new developments and our top priority remains the health and safety of you, our members, stakeholders, colleagues and volunteers. 

We recognize how stressful this particular situation is, and we share your concerns. In keeping with the Department of Health and Human Services guidelines, we will continue to follow the advice issued by the government with regard to the Coronavirus.

If you are available, please join me in person or online on Friday afternoon as I present key messages from this email at the DHHS Community Inclusion Forum. Click here for more details.

Should you have any queries or questions regarding our activities, please contact our office on 8327 8500 or info@volunteeringvictoria.org.au

Scott Miller
Leading volunteers during COVID-19

Volunteers who are already engaged with your organization remain a vital resource as you navigate these unusual circumstances and, as such, deserve some thoughtful strategizing around how to leverage their skills while also protecting them physically, mentally, and emotionally.​ Consider the following:

Prioritise your organisation's staff, volunteers, constituents and community

Set up additional washing stations, encourage social distancing, and set up systems for staff and volunteers to work remotely where possible to reduce the spread of disease.​

Adjust volunteer and staff training 
Postpone training and leverage online training options. Offer your volunteers opportunities for online convening - this is a great way to keep volunteers' skills up! 

Determine which volunteer positions are crucial to your current state of operations
Support your volunteers in working remotely wherever possible in the ways that staff are increasingly being encouraged to work remotely.

Plan for a volunteer workforce shortage

  • Survey volunteers to determine their availability: currently; if schools were to close; and if quarantined (only if remote volunteering is possible.
  • For volunteers who have high availability: ask if they would be willing to increase their ability to do any online volunteering (if possible)
  • Track responses: keep a database and anticipate availability in certain situations
  • Work with organisational leaders to prioritise programming/services that are delivered by volunteers. 
What do volunteers need in times of crisis?

During times of stress, stakeholders find the following three leadership traits particularly helpful and are asking these questions subconsciously to assess their presence: ​​
  • Consistency​: Do you show up the same way you did last time? ​Do the messages you share represent a logical narrative? ​Do they align with the organization’s proclaimed values? ​
  • Transparency:​ Do you say what you mean? ​Do you speak the truth, even when it’s unpopular? ​Do you admit mistakes, even if it’s uncomfortable?​
  • Predictability​: Is it clear where and when leaders will take action or, if more information is forthcoming, communicate the next steps? ​Is everyone kept in the loop about what happens next, even if it’s just an update on status? ​
Visit our COVID-19 page for more information and resource guide

Volunteering during COVID-19

Volunteers are a vital part of any community's recovery in a time of crisis, but before you consider volunteering ask yourself - Am I well enough to volunteer? 

Your safety and limiting the spread of the coronavirus being the main priority, please follow DHHS guidelines on how to best avoid COVID-19, both in the work environment and at home.​

If you can, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed or infecting others.

If you are well enough and wish to volunteer, here are 2 main ways you can help:

  • Contact and register with your local volunteer centre
  • Volunteer informally in your own community​: ​If you know people in your community who may be vulnerable and can contact them safely (e.g. phone call, whatsapp), just let them know that you are available and can assist with shopping for urgent supplies or by lending a friendly ear for a chat. Social distancing does not mean we can't still be connected with our communities
Visit our COVID-19 page for more information and resource guide
Other useful resources

Volunteering Victoria Resources External resources
Up-coming COVID-19 sector meetings
DHHS: Volunteering and Community Organisations Forum

When: Friday 20 March 2020 1:00 - 2:30 pm
Where:
 Face-to-face option: Room 1.10, 50 Lonsdale Street Melbourne 3000 
*Live streaming. Details to be provided once registered. Auslan interpreters will be available and supported both face-to-face and on-line.  
>> View agenda here

The purpose of this meeting is to: 

  • provide updated information with regard to the latest health advice regarding COVID-19 
  • support your organisation to plan your response to COVID-19  
  • discuss concerns and approaches that can be used to continue to support social connection and wellbeing.  

>> Register to attend

Volunteering Victoria: Additional SIG Meetings (Members only)

Leadership in Volunteering:
Wednesday 25 March 9:30 – 10:30 am via zoom
Employee Volunteering: Wednesday 25 March 11:30 am – 12:30 pm 
Inclusive Volunteering: Thursday 26 March 11:30 am – 12:30 pm via zoom

Volunteering Victoria is organising additional special interest groups next week for you to connect with other leaders of volunteers, and share ideas.

>> Zoom invites have gone out to regular SIG attendees but please contact sara@volunteeringvictoria.org.au to receive the Zoom invite.
Changes to up-coming activities
We are implementing the following social distancing measures to try and reduce the impact on communities and flatten the curve. 

In 2 weeks, we will be reassessing our up-coming engagement activities with you and will be providing the necessary updates.

Please read the below information carefully. What does this mean for you?
  • Cancelled workshops: email Sara Sterling sara@volunteeringvictoria.org.au or 8327 8509 to get a refund
  • Postponed workshops/masterclasses: we will update you in 2 weeks
  • Workshops in May and June: we will update you in 2 weeks
*Please do not register for any up-coming workshops until our next update, in 2 weeks.

Unaffected activities
Volunteering Victoria: Your state peak body for more effective volunteering

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