CEO update | February 2018 | Volunteering in RI
Hello to Resolution Institute members and colleagues,
The contribution that volunteers make to civic life in Australia and New Zealand is awe-inspiring. Whether it be coaching kids’ soccer teams, serving food in a soup kitchen, being a home helper to an ageing person, participating in an emergency service, advancing professional standards or contributing to professional learning, as communities we are enriched by people going out of their way for others.
It’s the spirit of volunteerism that attracts me to the not-for-profit sector, and specifically to Resolution Institute.
Resolution Institute members volunteer in a range of ways.
Members volunteer to run local networking, practice and special interest group events. Mostly, these volunteers have been elected by local groups of members to Chapter and Special Interest Group committees. In 2018 following the extended summer holiday siesta, these committees and other volunteers have already organised four special interest group events In Australia and one each of a virtual practice group and a face to face practice group meeting in New Zealand during January and February. The March schedule is almost filled with 9 events already scheduled across New Zealand and Australia.
Feedback from many members is that the face-to-face interactions with other DR professionals is essential for them to feel part of a professional community, particularly in the early phase of their DR careers. Connection with others working in the same field helps them to form a professional identity. When building these connections can be combined with quality professional learning, face-to-face events become even more attractive.
We are tracking what helps local events to be successful and so far we are finding the following:
- advance notice - at least four weeks
- an informative and interesting topic that people can see is relevant to their DR practice
- an appropriately experienced presenter
- a description of what the presentation will cover.
Members volunteer to provide expertise through committees and working groups. The New Zealand Committee meets regularly to consider issues important in the NZ DR landscape and to provide guidance to the Board. The Board Determinative Committee considers a range of options for increasing the attractiveness of determinative DR to parties. The WA Determinative Special Interest Group has recently worked on adjudication procedures in that state.
From the feedback we receive, we think that members have an appetite for expanded contribution. We are grateful for all the ideas that members currently share with us. We are keen to harness these ideas and turn them into actions for positive change. The Board and management are currently considering increasing the number of working groups and committees to offer more opportunities for members to contribute in meaningful ways.
Members volunteer as pro bono providers of DR services. Research tells us that there are growing numbers of litigants in developed countries who are self-representing because legal services are out of their reach. DR offers people in dispute more cost-effective, faster and often more satisfactory ways of bringing matters to conclusion. And yet, even with the costs of DR options being lower than litigation, there are many in our community who do not have the resources to access DR services. Realising this, many of our members offer pro bono services in cases they consider would otherwise proceed without any professional aid.
Members also volunteer as Board members. Resolution Institute Board members are elected by Resolution Institute members for two year terms. Board members meet for two hours about eight times per year, mainly online using Zoom. They also meet at least once per year for a two-day face-to-face meeting. For all these meetings, there is considerable reading in preparation for matters to be discussed. The first of the face-to-face meetings in the term of the current Board is being held in mid-March. At this meeting, Board members will review the Resolution Institute strategy and decide priorities for action. High on the agenda will be the value proposition for members and promotion of Resolution Institute and dispute resolution. Board members set aside significant time often over several terms to contribute to strengthen and grow Resolution Institute in the best interests of their fellow DR colleagues, and the Australian and New Zealand communities.
Thanks everyone, for your volunteer efforts.
I hope March is bright for you both personally and professionally.
Chief Executive Officer
22 February 2018