33 BACK TO NAVIGATION 2018 AusLSA Member Performance Eighty-six percent of AusLSA member firms have programs in place or in development that coordinate skilled and non-skilled non-legal volunteering programs for staff. Fifty-four percent of these firms allocated paid staff time to participate in volunteering. Ninety percent actively supported their employee’s and partner’s participation on boards and administrative positions in not-for-profit community organisations. Seventy-nine percent said their partners and employees currently sat on boards of community organisations. Examples of the types of volunteering activities undertaken in 2018 include various charity events and appeals, blood donations, student tutoring and mentoring, local community sporting days and secondments to NGOs. Only thirty-three percent of firms with volunteering programs said they monitored the levels of participation but a further forty-two percent said they were currently developing these systems for future reporting. The average participation rate currently recorded is twenty-nine percent. Challenges and Opportunities Community service organisations often lack skilled workers and financial means to build their existing volunteer base and engage with corporates effectively. Thirty percent of organisations were unable to engage their optimal number of volunteers because there were not enough suitable candidates, or the organisation was unable to locate them. Volunteer programs can benefit from an increased and more consistent commitment by firms through a stronger connection to selected programs. The growth of the community partnerships provides a new model to apply volunteering activities in a strategic way that makes commitments and investments based on the needs of organisations and to achieve agreed objectives. This approach can provide a greater shared focus and a more disciplined way to deliver programs and activities in a way that also aligns closely with the firm’s priorities. The investments in non-legal volunteering programs or initiatives at individual law firms can involve significant time and financial costs. While there are established systems in place to record and reward lawyer time provided on pro-bono legal matters, systems to record non-legal volunteering time and recognise their contribution are rare. Improved monitoring and evaluation systems will assist the firms to understand and tell the story of the benefits that comes from these investments. Volunteering is an act of freewill and so firms also need to find and promote opportunities that are attractive and varied where volunteers personally value the difference they make. Just as not all accountants want to be the treasurer, some lawyers enjoy the variety of volunteering in a non-legal capacity as it provides a break from their legal work and allows them to follow specific interests or causes. PARTICIPATION MONITORED % 33% 25% 42% Yes No Currently in Development