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Innovation and culture

The innovation and culture working group is tasked with exploring how to make giving simpler and more accessible for existing donors and to attract new donors, including a younger generation.

Alexandra Gartmann, member of the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership, and Volunteering Australia jointly hosted an expert workshop in Sydney on 5 December 2016. About 30 participants from volunteer involving organisations, agencies that facilitate volunteering opportunities and peak bodies shared their particular knowledge of, and expertise in, volunteering in Australia.

The working group is currently exploring the existing and emerging technology and platforms that enable the giving of funding, goods and volunteering hours, including opportunities to enhance the uptake of these.

Convenor, Alexandra Gartmann notes that “emerging technology and innovation has the potential to bring Australia’s long tradition of giving and community service into the 21st century”.

To support the understanding of emerging technology for Non-profit organistations, the Department of Social Services commissioned the Queensland University of Technology Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Non-profit Studies to research technology and platforms for giving and volunteering.

5 December was International Volunteer Day and a good opportunity to discuss the current state of play for volunteering and explore options for the future.

Participants discussed a wide range of ideas and issues.  When asked to drill down to the key actions that would have the greatest impact on building volunteering levels in coming years, participants prioritised the following:

  • governments should role model innovations in volunteering & giving such as time banking
  • collaborate with other sectors to share knowledge about and build understanding of volunteer involvement
  • government and the volunteer sector to ensure decisions about volunteering are evidence based
  • build brokerage capabilities between volunteer supply and demand
  • understand that volunteering doesn’t happen by itself – it needs infrastructure to support it, and
  • support greater levels of harmonisation of regulation – national checks working with children, young people & vulnerable adults.


This working group comprises:

Alexandra Gartmann (Convenor of the working group)

Kevin Bailey

Colleen McGann

Peter Scott

Nicola Forrest

Tim Fischer

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