Understanding How and Why Different People Volunteer

The 6th Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference will be held this month over 22 – 23 May at The Star Gold Coast (previously Jupiter’s), Queensland.

Ms Jasmin Craufurd-Hill, Area Manager with St John Ambulance Australia (NSW), joins us to discuss ‘Crucial Capital: Understanding How and Why Different People Volunteer (and Continue to Volunteer) in Emergency Services’.

There has been much debate in the literature surrounding generational change and what this means for volunteering in Australia but minimal research into what this means for emergency services. This research sought to understand the growing change in volunteering style and volunteer motivations being seen in St John Ambulance Australia (NSW) and what this meant for deployable capability, training and retention.

The project drew upon a combination of historical demographic and performance data, previous research projects and annual HR reports, to understand longer term trends across the organisation. The project then sought to give context to this information through new member surveys, focus groups and interviews with segments of the membership, covering variations in age, length of service and location of service.

From this work it was possible to gain insight into what motivated different segments of the Australian population to consider volunteering in community and emergency service organisations, what factors supported and enabled their volunteering and what influenced their retention beyond the organisational median service length.

By drawing on these findings and research methods, volunteer emergency service organisations may be able to gain additional insight into the effective recruitment and retention of their volunteer workforces and how to enable them in times where surges in staffing may be required, such as in responding to natural disasters.

For more information on the 2017 Australian & New Zealand Disaster & Emergency Management Conference and to secure your spot, visit www.anzdmc.com.au.