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A Unique Model: A Personal Account of an Innovative Volunteer Program

A Unique Model: A Personal Account of an Innovative Volunteer Program

For nearly a decade, Susan J. Ellis, the publishing editor of e-Volunteerism, has been encouraging (read: nagging) Andy Fryar, the journal’s manuscript developer, to write about an innovative volunteer program that he oversees in Adelaide, South Australia. After nearly 10 years of resisting, Fryar recently concluded, “I find myself completely out of excuses!”

In this feature article, Fryar presents a rather unique structural model for volunteer engagement and the innovative method of volunteer recruitment employed at the Lyell McEwin Regional Volunteer Association, a 750-strong, health-based volunteer involving agency based in Elizabeth, a northern suburb of Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia. Fryar has been chief executive officer of the Lyell McEwin Regional Volunteers since 1997, growing the organization from a workforce of around 180 volunteers to its current 750 members. Though volunteering at Lyell McEwin Hospital began in fairly typical hospital fashion, Fryar explains why the Regional Volunteer Association today is an outstanding example of new and innovative ways to run a volunteer program – in hospitals and other volunteer-dependent organizations. And he thanks Susan Ellis for 10 years of nudging and nagging to tell this story.

To read the full article

Wed, 10/23/2013
Thank you for writing the article, it was informative and very well written. You've taken in the factor that working outside the hospital could lead to numerous problems in retaining volunteers, but getting the commitment of staff inside and having them take responsibility for retaining the volunteers was really smart. Here, new supervisors are usually an unknown. Most of the time, they are great and committed to working with volunteers. But once in a while, the supervisor ignore the volunteer and then wonders why the volunteer doesn't stay or why the work doesn't get completed correctly. Really!

Fri, 01/17/2014
I'm sorry it has taken me so long to read this article. I got excited in a blog last year about 'outsourcing volunteers' ( and here all the history and development of such a practice is outlined, and the benefits are clear to see. I hope this model will encourage other volunteer programmes to recognise the potential for their own future development.