ARV Playbook

A hands-on kit to help event coordinators plan events for kids from asylum seeker and refugee backgrounds.

Australian Refugee Volunteers

Australian Refugee Volunteers (ARV) run monthly excursions for children and teens from refugee or asylum seeker backgrounds. Every month, the admin team must plan and organise the activities for the day - trying to balance social development, education and of course, fun!

the problem

Consistently creating engaging and thoughtful events can be challenging, and with the admin team being dynamic in nature, critical information about program planning is lost when admin members leave the organisation.

Additional, some of the most committed members were dropping off from the monthly roster. Could programs that were better-run retain voluteer numbers?

dream team assemble

I managed to rope in two other volunteers and we created a well-rounded working group with the expertise to meet this challenge head-on.


Qualitative research uncovered why admin, volunteers and clients joined ARV, what they hoped to get out of the experience, and what was missing from their current experience.


We also ran a workshop with the admin team to answer this question:

How might we assist admin teams to create engaging and enriching programs that highlight the long-term and meaningful difference in the clients’ lives.

research findings

admin goals

→ Create fun and meaningful programs
→ Add value to the clients' lives
→ Foster a fun & inclusive environment
→ Support & empower the volunteers

admin needs

→ Increase the amount of training to be better equipped to create programs and organise clients and volunteers
→ Increase access to resources
→ Minimise the amount of work needed to organise each program

volunteer goals

→ Make a difference
→ Experience working with kids
→ Help the clients feel they belong in their community

volunteer needs

→ Increase the amount of structure, planning & communication
→ Increase the validation of effort so volunteers feel valued
→ Increase training to be better equipped when dealing with “difficult” kids

client goals

→ Have fun!
→ Try something new

client needs

→ Increase the program structure so there's less time sitting around
→ Increase the amount of pizza

developmental aims

As an organisation, ARV had development aims that were used in grant applications or on the website. We worked with the admin team to formalise these into a comprehensive list that could be linked to monthly programs and discussed with volunteers openly.

the playbook

A template for a set of activity cards was created which would become the go-to program resource for planning the day. Retaining the knowledge from current admin members would make the planning of future programs easier.

activity types

Categorising each of the activity cards allows for quick identification when planning a program.

developmental aims

Each activity card was linked back to the developental aims, so admin could create a program about a specific theme to discuss with the volunteers.

at a glance

Information that needed to be accessed quickly including recommended age group and duration of activity was placed in a highly-visible area.

Content collection underway

The ARV team are currently filling out a database which will provide the content for these cards. We are hoping to finish them by the end of the year.

Website design

© 2020 Giselle Stidston