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

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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.