Council of
Australia’s 665,000 Voluntary Community Groups      


Australia has 700,000 community organisations and not-for-profits. About 35,000 of these employ one or more staff, and many of these deliver community services for governments. The other 665,000 community organisations do not employ staff and rely on voluntary resources in serving their communities and generating social capital and belonging.

In neighbourhoods and communities, self-help activity and service to others, sporting activity and recreation, arts and culture, conservation and heritage, education and health care, faith and spirituality,  these voluntary community groups constitute the social fabric of Australia.

Australia's 665,000 voluntary community organisations are unrepresented and without a voice in the public arena. When governments consult with community organisations, they usually talk to the 5% with paid staff and service delivery contracts, and ignore the other 95%.

The lack of voice and representation of Australia's 665,000 voluntary community groups has led to invisibility in the public arena and a lack of recognition by governments, policy makers and the media.

Voice and Representation

The Council of Voluntary Community Groups has been formed to rectify this problem.

Our Statement of Purpose appears below.

We are inviting expressions of interest in joining the Steering Group to guide the development of the Council.

Expressions of Interest in joining the Steering Group may be expressed through this online form.

To register your interest, and/or that of your voluntary organisation, click here.

This development process is hosted by the Centre for Civil Society.


Statement of Purpose

1. Voluntary associations and not-for-profits organisations are the principal generators of social capital and community belonging in Australia. They constitute Australia's social fabric. Ninety-five per cent of these community organisations (about 665,000 in number) do not employ paid staff: they rely on, and generate, extensive voluntary resources in serving the well-being of their members and their communities.

2. Despite their pivotal role in social life, voluntary community groups lack voice and representation in the public arena. They lack recognition by governments, policy makers and the media. They are typically overlooked in favour of large charities and government service delivery organisations.

3. A representative voice of voluntary community organisations will redress this lack of voice and representation, and generate a visibility for voluntary community groups in public life that matches their social and community value.

4.
A Council of Voluntary Community Groups will advocate for major regulatory reform to create a less burdensome operating environment for voluntary community organisations.

5. A Steering Group comprising representatives of diverse voluntary community organisations will be established to guide the development of a public voice in 2015.


Membership

Membership of the Council is open to all voluntary community organisations and not-for-profits that meet the following eligibility criteria:

1. They are voluntary associations of members;

2. They rely on voluntary resources to conduct their core activities with minimal paid support; and

3. They serve the well-being of their members and/or their community and are not instruments for the delivery of government services.

The following table contains additional information on this eligibility criteria:

An eligible group will: Notes/Explanation
Be a voluntary association of members
 
The group may be incorporated or unincorporated. It may be a branch or a parish or a district section of a larger entity where the local group exercises significant autonomy in its associational life.
 
Rely on voluntary resources to conduct its core activity The group may receive grants or donations from governments or any other source, and may engage  administrative support and/or occasional contractors or suppliers of services, but will rely on voluntary resources rather than paid staff to conduct its core activity.  
Serve the well-being of its members and/or their community and is not an instrument for the delivery of government services The group may receive grants from governments but may not enter into contracts with governments for the delivery of government services.

 


Membership

There is a membership fee of $20 per annum for voluntary community organisations to join the Council.*

* This fee is waived for organisations which are members of Civil Society Australia.

Click here to register your interest, and/or that of your voluntary organisation.




Enquiries


Vern Hughes
0425 722 890
vern@civilsociety.org.au


© Civil Society Australia 2015