National Standards

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The National Standards for Volunteer Involvement

Volunteering Australia’s new National Standards for Volunteer Involvement were launched on Monday 11 May 2015 to mark the beginning of National Volunteer Week 2015 (11-17 May). The new Standards incorporate significant changes to the original standards in order to reflect best practice in volunteer management in Australia’s current work environment.

The Standards provide a sound framework for supporting the volunteer sector in Australia. The Standards are much easier to follow and are adaptable to different organisation types and different forms of volunteering which reflect the diversity of this growing sector.

Direct benefits to organisations:

  • They provide good practice guidance and benchmarks to help organisations attract, manage and retain volunteers, and
  • Help manage risk and safety in their work with volunteers.

Direct benefits to volunteers:

  • They help improve the volunteer experience.

The National Standards for Volunteer Involvement are available here for free download.

Implementing the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement

The National Standards for Volunteer Involvement contain benchmarks specifically designed to help organisations attract, manage, recognise and retain volunteers, and to manage risk and safety with respect to volunteers. If you coordinate or manage volunteers or have management or governance responsibility in organisations that work with volunteers, the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement will be a useful tool for your organisation. There are a number of ways to prepare and plan for the implementation of the National Standards and self-assess your progress.

1. State/ Territory Peak Bodies

State and Territory Peak Bodies are established in each State and Territory in Australia. Among their many functions is the key role they play in promoting excellence in volunteer management. Should you want help with implementing the National Standards you may contact your State/Territory Peak Body for more information on the services they provide.

2. National Standards Workshop

This four hour workshop will assist organisations to prepare and plan for their implementation of the Standards with the guidance of our experienced facilitators and with support from the sector. Workshop objectives include:

  • gain an understanding of the benefits of implementation
  • assess the gaps of your organisation
  • manage the necessary change
  • begin an action plan

To find out more about a National Standards Workshop being held in your area, contact your State/Territory Peak Body.

3. Implementing the National Standards Guide and Workbook

This Guide and Workbook is designed as a systematic and ‘user friendly’ method for implementing the National Standards in your organisation. It contains a comprehensive set of instructions and resources to guide you task-by-task through the implementation process.

This resource is suitable for anyone who wants to implement the National Standards or whose job it is to involve volunteers. When used in conjunction with the National Standards, the Workbook will help you to determine where you need to make improvements in your system for managing volunteer involvement. Importantly, it will also enable you to identify your strengths – what you are currently doing well.

To obtain a copy of the Implementing the National Standards Guide and Workbook, contact your State/Territory Peak Body.

4. The National Standards for Volunteer Involvement Online Self-Assessment Tool

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The National Standards for Volunteer Involvement Online Self-Assessment Tool provides organisations across Australia with an easy-to-use online self-assessment tool to work towards meeting the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement. The National Standards for Volunteer Involvement Tool is a tailored version of Standards & Performance Pathways (SPP), a leading Australian online service for the completion of service and quality standards, compliance activities, and for managing risk and quality performance. Click here for more information and to subscribe to the National Standards for Volunteer Improvement Tool.

Additionally, Volunteering Australia will be developing a flexible, tiered voluntary certification, or ‘Quality Mark’ system to enable organisations to check how they are tracking in implementing the Standards.

Review Process

The development of the new Standards has been an inclusive project led by the CEOs of Volunteering S&NT, Volunteering Tasmania and Volunteering WA. Following the establishment of this working group, and a sector wide reference group comprising representatives from all states and territories, a draft document was prepared and presented to the sector for feedback via a survey and series of consultations across Australia.

From that process a set of revised Standards was created that were easier to understand and use, contained clear criteria and relevant content, and had wide applicability to different types of organisations and volunteer situations.


The first Australian National Standards were developed for Volunteering Australia by Volunteering Victoria in 1996. Sector consultation took place in 1996 and 1997 and the Standards were formally adopted in February 1998.

Following that time Volunteering Australia actively sought feedback on the functionality of the first set of Standards and as a result of feedback Volunteering Australia developed a new second set of standards that truly embraced the full diversity of volunteer-involving organisations and of volunteering.

This second set of standards was launched in 2001, the International Year of Volunteers, and remained in use until today.