Finding New Paid Staff

Recruiting paid staff is often just a matter of advertising in a local or regional newspaper and letting existing members and volunteers know about the vacancy.

The pay rate is decided by the ‘award’ for their position. When referring to pay rates, an ‘award’ is a document with the conditions and pay rate for an industry. The award for most welfare jobs is the Social and Youth Services Employees (State) Award. The award for administrative workers is usually the Clerical and Administrative Employees (State) Award.

Finding New Volunteers

Recruiting volunteers is a bit different from finding paid staff. After all, they’re not getting paid. Instead it pays to think about what they are getting and how to make it as easy as possible to volunteer.

Why do People Volunteer?

Studies show that volunteers are most often rewarded by personal satisfaction and social contact. They are also motivated by the chance to help others in the community, to be with friends or to do something worthwhile. New volunteers might quickly lose interest if these needs are not being met, so anyone who is working with the volunteers needs to remember that they need to:

    • Feel they are valued.
    • Feel they are helping the community.
    • Make friends.
    • Feel satisfied.

How do we Make it as Easy as Possible to Volunteer?

Recruiting volunteers is most effective if a specific person from within the organisation is made the Volunteer Coordinator, who can take responsibility for the whole process. Any new volunteers can be sent to this person, who knows the most about where the organisation needs the new recruit’s help.
Position Description – Volunteer Coordinator (39 KB)

This is a sample position description for a Volunteer Coordinator. This person is responsible for finding and training volunteers and keeping the volunteer program running. This responsibility is often a part time responsibility, a few hours per week. It could be part of a paid position, or a volunteer position itself.

Once a person asks about volunteering, the Volunteer Coordinator should be ready to talk about the possible jobs that can be matched to the volunteer’s skills. Selection and screening help make sure that the most appropriate volunteers are appointed to the positions available.

Before looking for volunteers, the Volunteer Coordinator should make sure they have all of the necessary forms, strategies and processes in place. Volunteers will often be put off if the job descriptions are not ready, if people are unclear about where they could use volunteers or if there are no processes for smooth entry into the position. It’s worth taking a few minutes to prepare.

Is the Organisation Ready for New Volunteers?

Think about:

    • How many of volunteers you need and what they are needed for.
    • Which jobs can be done by volunteers and which need to be done by paid staff.
    • The skills already in the organisation – ask around with workers, members and volunteers and see what skills they already have to offer.
    • Roles and responsibilities of  volunteer.
    • Roles and responsibilities of the organisation.
    • How you can arrange training of staff and volunteers.
    • Ongoing daily support that can be provided.
    • Recognition strategies.

The Australian Sports Commission suggests the following ways of recruiting volunteers:

    • Produce volunteer information kits, including job descriptions for volunteer roles.
    • Check past and present membership lists for potential volunteers.
    • Take a look at the skills already in the organisation- you might find that someone already has the skills you are looking for.
    • Give new club members information on ways they can get involved as a volunteer (in membership information).
    • Write a letter inviting members to volunteer.
    • Organise “recruitment” drives using current volunteers to promote the club and its activities.
    • Use the local community newspaper – classified ads, letters to the editor, feature articles.
    • Produce posters, pamphlets or flyers that promote the club and the roles for which volunteers are required – distribute where potential volunteers may visit.
    • Organise community notices on the radio.
    • Promote your organisation and its activities as part of Year 11 and 12 physical education studies at the local high school.
    • Offer young members the opportunity to take on the role of apprentice volunteers and use existing and experienced volunteers as mentors.
    • Promote your organisation and volunteer roles at local retirement villages and organisations.
    • Advertise for volunteers on your organisation’s website.
    • Offer volunteers the opportunity to “job share” their volunteer role with a friend or partner.

(Source: Recognising Volunteers – Active Australia Volunteer Management Program; Australian Sports Commission)

For more detailed information about how to recruit volunteers, download this training manual from the Australian Sports Commission’s website –

You can also advertise for volunteers using online (ie internet) services that are specifically set up for finding volunteer positions and workers. Their terms and conditions vary, and they may be of more use to metropolitan organisations than rural, but their service is free to not for profit organisations. They are:
SEEK Volunteer
Go Volunteer –

Your local volunteer centre may also be able to help. Look through this list to find your local volunteer centre –

Preparing Position Descriptions

Position Descriptions, also known as Job Descriptions, are formal records of what each worker in the organisation is required to do. They are presented to people when they apply for the job, so they know what it involves. We have attached several sample Position Descriptions, for the following positions:

This is a sample position description for a worker who runs activities for young people.
Position Description – Activities Worker (43 KB)

This is a sample position description for an administrative worker. This person is responsible for much of the paperwork of the organisation, the typing, basic finances and being at the front desk and taking enquiries from whoever walks in the door.
Position Description – Administrative Worker (37 KB)

This is a sample position description for a worker who provides one-On-one case work with young people, as well as running groups, making referrals to specialist services and liaising with other organisations to meet the young persons’ needs.
Position Description – Case Client Worker  (39 KB)

This is a sample position description for a Volunteer Coordinator. This person is responsible for finding and training volunteers and keeping the volunteer program running. This responsibility is often a part time responsibility, a few hours per week. It could be part of a paid position, or a volunteer position itself.
Position Description – Volunteer Coordinator  (39 KB)

What you Need to do with These Samples:

Each of these position descriptions need to be adjusted to suit your needs and the specific positions in your organisation. In particular, you should adapt them by:

    • Including the agency’s name where indicated.
    • Adding the hours – is the job full time, part time or casual? Is it permanent or just for a set period (eg just this year, only during school term, or until the funding runs out)? Is the worker required to work weekends, evenings, overnight?
    • Checking who the position is responsible to. Is their boss the coordinator or the board?
    • Adding relevant attachments. Each of the descriptions expects the worker to abide by the organisation’s customer service standards, mandatory reporting requirements, code of conduct, anti-discrimination policy and access and equity policy. Your organisation might feel it is important to include some or all of these policies or others.

For more information about writing and developing your own position descriptions,
Position Description – Volunteer Coordinator  (39 KB)

You should first check your own organisation’s policies. If your organisation does not have these policies, they should be approved by the organisation’s board/management committee before they are used. Creating these policies is one of the board’s jobs and they should be adapted to the organisation’s vision.

Screening and Selecting Staff

It is always a good idea to do a background check on someone you are thinking of employing in any position, either paid or voluntary. This is simply a phone call to someone who would know them well, ideally in a work related role or one similar to the position being applied for.

This form that suggests some questions you could ask when you are doing a background check.
Reference Check (32 KB)

 If the position is child related employment, all workers, both volunteer and paid, must sign a form to  say that they are not prohibited person. This is one way to make sure the children we are responsible for are kept safe. Prohibited persons are people who have been convicted (in NSW or anywhere else) of serious sex offences, child related violence, murder, indecency offences, kidnapping or offences relating to child prostitution, child pornography or attempting or encouraging these offences.