Today is International Volunteer Managers Day

DATE: 5 November 2018

Today is International Volunteer Managers Day

We’ve interviewed Melanie Cass, Manager,Volunteer Engagement at Yooralla, for IVMD this year.

International Volunteer Managers Day (IVMD) celebrates the life-changing profession of volunteer leadership on 5 November each year.

IVMD recognises the skills, knowledge and contributions of managers of volunteers that play a vital role in effective volunteering.

We’ve interviewed Melanie Cass, Manager,Volunteer Engagement at Yooralla, for IVMD this year.

How long have you worked in volunteering?

I have been working in this role for one year now. Yooralla created this position mid 2017 as it was identified that the volunteer sphere is a crucial component of any organisation and requires a dedicated team to develop, grow and provide the appropriate level of support to the volunteer base. When I was offered the position I felt it would be a wonderful challenge and I could be instrumental in supporting in the establishment of a successful volunteer team.

What is the best part about your job?

My favourite part about this role is engaging with people from various cultures and life experience. I am grateful to have the opportunity to learn from others and support them to find a volunteer position where they will be meaningfully engaged. It is wonderful to see volunteers giving back to their community but it is just as thrilling to see their awareness and empathy for those living with disability developed through their volunteer work.

What is your typical day like?

As the manager of volunteers across the state, I do not have a typical day. I may be needed to deliver training in Benalla, for face to face interviews with volunteers at Fawkner Community Hub or to help sort donations at Yooralla’s opportunity Shop in Chelsea. I work closely with People and Culture to ensure all of our volunteers go through the correct recruitment process, develop projects that encourage volunteer engagement, visit volunteer expo’s to recruit and form partnerships with universities, corporates and other auxiliary groups.

What makes a good volunteer?

Anyone can make a good volunteer. The trick is to find the perfect placement for the individual – where their skills and interests are utilised meaningfully and where they are constantly engaged and where they feel supported.

In the disability sector I encourage volunteers to demonstrate a high level of tolerance, an open mind and to empathise with people rather than pity people.

Who can become a volunteer at Yooralla?

We welcome volunteers from all cultures, professional and community backgrounds. Whether you are a student wanting to bridge the gap between study and career, a job seeker wanting to increase your professional skill set or a retiree looking to contribute your expertise, volunteering at Yooralla offers rewarding opportunities to expand your skills and contribute to the community.

We have a range of volunteering opportunities across our services and try to match your skills and interests with the needs of our customers.

How much time do volunteers need to commit?

The time and commitment required to be a volunteer varies and will depend on the volunteer position you agree upon with the Manager, Volunteer Engagement. The commitment could be as little as one hour a week or as much as a few days a week or for the occasional Yooralla event such as our Annual General Meeting.

What volunteering opportunities do we have at Yooralla?

We have a range of volunteering opportunities across our services and try to match your skills and interests with the needs of our customers, including:

  • Community access support: supporting people with disability to access the community and achieve their individual goals
  • Activity support: supporting people to participate in activities such as reading, computer programs, exercise, gardening, cooking, music, art and craft, swimming, movies, shopping and other areas of interest
  • Office and administration: providing support to operational areas of the organisation such as finance, information technology or human resources
  • Event support: supporting key Yooralla events with pre-event administration, participant bag packing, registration and assisting with set-up and pack-down
  • Retail positions: supporting our opportunity shops

If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering with Yooralla, please contact Melanie Cass at or 03 8851 0809.

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