Why is diversity important?

There are many people in the community who would like to volunteer but who find it hard because of their diverse background. This might be because they have a disability, or because of their cultural and linguistic background, age, gender or sexuality.

Volunteers from diverse backgrounds are just like any other volunteers – they want to give their time and energy to improve the community. They can contribute to your organisation in many ways based on their unique personal experiences.

Many volunteer organisations feel that recruiting people from diverse backgrounds has made a very positive influence to their organisation. By putting in a little effort, their workplace has become more representative of their clientele or the community they're in.

There are other benefits to encouraging volunteers from diverse backgrounds to join your organisation, such as:

  • Tapping in to a wider pool of potential volunteers from the community
  • Having access to people who bring different sets of personal and professional qualities, skills and perspectives
  • Increasing your organisation's credibility, reputation and engagement in the community
  • Promoting mutual respect, tolerance and understanding, and actively working against ignorance in the community
  • Complying with legal and moral obligations to be inclusive.

Legal obligations

The Equal Opportunity Act 2010 came into force in August 2011 to improve the way discrimination and sexual harassment is managed in Victoria.

It is still against the law under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 to discriminate against a person because of any of the personal characteristics listed as a type of discrimination, including (but not limited to) age, disability, marital or parental status, race, religion or sexual orientation.

Sexual harassment is also against the law.

Visit the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission website for more information on types of discrimination.

Tools and resources