14 Feb 2012
- Written by VolunteeringQld
Imagine you are in a key strategic meeting with a room full of people that look, sound, think and act like you. How many actually need to be there?
These days, building a culturally diverse workforce is viewed by most as a powerful strategy for encouraging, innovation and productivity. However the focus seems to have been largely on paid staff rather than on volunteers.
Chances are, you are already sold on the value of engaging volunteers and you are now looking to ways for the diversity of your client target groups to be reflected in your volunteers.
Recently Volunteering Qld's Pathways for Better Access hosted a forum on this very topic. The discussion was lively and extensive and the following key themes emerged as principles that organisations might incorporate into their recruitment strategies.
- Collaboration – By working together, organisations can not only share ideas and resources for recruiting culturally diverse volunteers, they can even share volunteers e.g. some organisations have more volunteers than they have work!
- Reciprocity – The most powerful strategies are those that actively recognise that both the organisations and the volunteers will benefit e.g. recruiting volunteers from a non-English speaking background, not only increases an organisations community engagement capacity, but such volunteers get to develop their own language and literacy skills.
- Learning – Rather than getting bogged down in planning to “get it right”, the best way to achieve something new is to give it a go and to be willing to make and learn from the mistakes that will inevitably be made.
- Resources – The reality is that recruiting and retaining a diverse pool of volunteers means extra effort and resources. However, not only is this a beneficial investment in the development of the organisation but it is client-centred and socially just.
What other principles do you think should underpin strategies to engage volunteers from different cultures?