You are definitely not alone

Ally, you are definitely not alone. Whilst it is important to be aware of the legal issues (and thank goodness for people like Sandy and Mark Restall who help us navigate these waters) we should always focus on good volunteer management first as that’s the best way to avoid problems in the first place. I like to draw an analogy with tightrope walking (bear with me).

Good volunteer management makes sure the wire is secure, the walker is well trained and supported etc.. The legal side is about ensuring the safety net works if everything else fails. Focusing on the legal side ain’t going to get the person across the tightrope but it will help protect them (and us) if they fall.

Also, during the Volunteer Rights Inquiry, one person who gave evidence suggested that volunteers were unhappy with the way they are treated because volunteer managers have spent too much time worrying about the legal/risk aspects of what we do and so focus on what we can’t do for volunteers rather than focusing on what we can do and creating a great experience for them.

If that is true then it is a fairly cutting analysis of volunteer management practice and the disconnect with what our volunteers actually want.