Volunteering SA&NT

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National Standards

Refreshed National Standards for Volunteer Involvement

The National Standards for Volunteer Involvement (National Standards) are a best practice framework to guide volunteer involvement. They are an essential resource for all organisations and groups that engage volunteers. The National Standards can be used flexibly, recognising that volunteering takes place in highly diverse settings and ways.

Volunteer involvement is a two-way relationship. It provides volunteers with an opportunity to contribute to social, economic, and community outcomes and it enables organisations and groups to achieve their goals, vision and purpose.

The National Standards for Volunteer Involvement have been refreshed to ensure they are contemporary and inclusive of the diversity of volunteering and volunteers.

The National Standards are a best practice framework to guide volunteer involvement. The National Standards can be used flexibly, recognising that volunteering takes place in highly diverse settings and ways.


The development of the refreshed National Standards was informed by a sector wide consultation process conducted across each state and territory in 2023. Thank you to everyone who contributed.


Insights gained through the National Strategy for Volunteering consultations also informed the refresh as well as insights from overseas and other ‘national standards’ arrangements. The project was funded via the Australian Government’s Volunteer Management Activity.


All organisations and groups can implement the refreshed National Standards at any time. The refreshed National Standards have retained the core aims and principles underpinning the previous standards and the eight broad focus areas of the National Standards are the same.


Volunteering State Peak bodies, including Volunteering SA&NT, are leading the implementation of the refreshed National Standards and will be offering training in the coming months.

The National Standards focus on eight standards:

  1. Volunteering is embedded in leadership, governance and culture
  2. Volunteer participation is championed and modelled
  3. Volunteer roles are meaningful and tailored
  4. Recruitment is equitable and diversity is valued
  5. Volunteers are supported and developed
  6. Volunteer safety and wellbeing is protected
  7. Volunteers are recognised
  8. Policies and practices are continuously improved

Each standard is accompanied by specific criteria and examples of evidence that indicate a standard has been met or how it could be met. The criteria reflect the core components of the National Standards, and the evidence acts as a guide as to whether the organisation or group is implementing that standard in practice.

Using the National Standards

  • As a general guide to improving practice.
  • As guidelines or a checklist to help identify opportunities for making improvements.
  • As a framework to assist in planning and establishing a new volunteering program.
  • As an audit tool that provides a snapshot of organisational performance.
  • As a baseline from which progress in making improvements can be monitored and measured.

The National Standards for Volunteer Involvement are available here for free download.

The 2023 refresh of the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement was funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services under the Volunteer Management Activity. Intellectual Property for the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement belongs to Volunteering Australia.

We’re playing our part to raise the standards

As a peak body, we have a role to play in helping improve standards of excellence in volunteer management.  We do this by conducting learning and development sessions and state volunteering networks, providing volunteer management advice and support, and by providing information and resources. 

If you would like to be involved in a networking group, please contact us below, or click here to learn more about learning and development.

We can answer queries on policies and procedures

Good practice in policies and procedures can effectively guide all aspects of volunteer involvement, protecting volunteers and the organisation itself. 

To find out more about how we can help your organisation contact reception@vsant.org.au

Helpful online resources right at your fingertips

The Volunteering Resource Hub

This initiative of Volunteering Australia brings together useful, evidence-based and current best practice resources, tools, research and information to support effective volunteer management. It’s mapped against the National Standards and includes examples of policies and procedures that organisations can adapt to their own needs. Read more

National Standard for Volunteer Involvement Tool

An easy-to-use online self-assessment tool to work towards meeting the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement. The tool measures your organisation’s performance in volunteer involvement and helps you to achieve best practice, ultimately improving the organisation’s ability to attract and retain volunteers.

  • Assess your organisation’s performance against the Standards.
  • Identify actions required to achieve compliance with the Standards.
  • Automatically generated action plan for good practice.
  • Great workflow management tools — add staff/team members as users, assign them actions and set-up weekly action reminders.
  • A number of resources to improve your organisation’s volunteer involvement.

The tool is available at the flat rate of $350 (plus GST) for a one-year subscription.

Visit the National Standards Tool website for more information and to subscribe. The online tool was developed by Volunteering Australia in partnership with Breaking New Ground (BNG).