Making sure that your organization or volunteer program is inclusive and open to all will ensure not only that you are meeting your legal obligations, but will boost your power to meet goals and objectives.
Diversity can mean many things, we are all unique human beings with many factors that make up our experience and perspective. When engaging volunteers, it is important to make sure that your organization or group is planning for diversity at every stage. For instance, do you use language that is inclusive? Are your communications accessible to everyone, including those who are visually or hearing impaired? Do you need to translate any of your documents or promotional material to reach people in their own language? Or change any messaging or signage at your organization to include all genders and abilities?
By opening up your organization to the whole community, you are increasing the possibility of reaching more people, gaining more volunteers, accessing more skills and reaching your organizational goals more successfully.
If you do not have a Diversity or Inclusion Policy, it may be worth planning to improve the way your group or organization actively seeks to include the whole community. There are templates and ideas located in our website Resources: https://www.volunteercentralvic.com.au/managing-volunteers/
Be mindful that you are always acting within the law when it comes to Diversity. This year, we have seen some organisations placing restrictions on who can volunteer to align with DHHS recommendations regarding COVID-19 and vulnerable groups.
A reminder from the Australian Attorney-General:
In Australia, it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of a number of protected attributes including age, disability, race, sex, intersex status, gender identity and sexual orientation in certain areas of public life.
For further detail on Diversity, Volunteers and the law, Justice Connect is running a webinar in February 2021: https://www.nfplaw.org.au/managing-legal-risk-diverse-volunteer-workforce-0