Updated: Jul 20, 2022
If we look back in time, traditionally Disability Organisations in the Australian Non-for-profit sector, run/lead volunteer programs providing services to their clients with disabilities. Programs developed and run by volunteers with the assistance of a few paid staff were the norm. In the Pre NDIS era, there was a huge need for such programs, and one main reason was to deliver the diverse types of services within the limited government funding, as it not only made it affordable for Organisations to provide more services with less funding but also volunteering did extraordinarily contributed to the overall culture of an Organisation.
Since NDIS started in the year 2016, the disability sector has seen many changes and is still continuing to change with time. Improvements in funding availability and making it consumer directed are one of the key changes and the providers can now claim for every episode of service. The reform is great as we can now offer more services due to the availability of funding in the NDIS plans, also offering choice and control directly to the client however is it true that the change led almost all Organisations to tweak their strategies to rethink as a business, including most charities in operation.
Considering that the scheme undoubtedly gives the advantage of readily available funding for both participants of the scheme and the Organisations willing to provide services, an important question that arises here is – are we completely forfeiting the volunteering model for front-line service delivery with an assumption that it is less likely to fit in this new model or is it not required anymore.
As most of us who volunteered in the sector, we are aware o the engagement and the connection the volunteering model brings to the culture of services in disability and aged care sectors. Undeniably, we may still be volunteering to much extent at different levels, however, is it not true - that we are more focused on the business models?
Some questions to think about -
Is it going to be a slowdown of a rich volunteering culture in the Australian disability sector for front-line service delivery?
What changes are we expecting for the future of volunteering in the disability sector under NDIS?
Are the Organisations still keen to deliver services for people with Disability in conjunction with volunteers?
Are the participants encouraged to use any volunteer services?