This week is National Volunteer Week.
Please join us in saying Thank You to all the wonderful volunteers who have tirelessly assisted the Foundation since its inception.
In 1954, a group of volunteers came together to form the then Geelong & District Community Chest to assist those most vulnerable in their community. A group of dedicated volunteers continue 63 years on, forming the Foundation’s Board of Directors (currently chaired by Murray Boyd) providing valuable leadership and governance to the Foundation.
In 1966 6 volunteers from local businesses, became the first intake of Loaned Executives. Over 1,500 people have since walked in their footsteps volunteering as Loaned Executives providing invaluable support to our Workplace Giving Program, the backbone of our fundraising.
Just last week, a record 160+ volunteers came together to begin our annual Grant Review Panel process, reading and reviewing our 2017 grant applications. These volunteers will assist the Foundation in reviewing almost 100 grant applications requesting $4.8million and making recommendations of how to best target the allocation of almost $1.8million in grants to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our community.
Volunteers help the Foundation in our day to day work; assisting with our fundraising events, helping out administrative tasks and providing valuable professional and expert input on our working committees from the GROW program through to event committees.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (Census 2011) reported that 19.4% of Australians were actively involved in ‘formal’ volunteering. The 2010 Australian Voluntary Work Survey highlighted that approximately 38% of adult women and 34% of adult men (just over 6 million Australian adults) volunteered; with the majority (44%) aged 45 – 54 years. Volunteering was more common amongst those who worked part-time (44%) and living with a partner with dependent children (48%). The survey also found that volunteering levels were slightly higher in regional areas (41%) as opposed to capital cities and volunteers chose to dedicate their time to sporting organisations followed by welfare / community organisations.
The Survey valued the total input into the Australian economy of formal volunteering at just over $25 billion (using the hourly rate of $27.45). During the 2016 / 2017 financial year, the Give Where You Live Foundation estimates that over 400 volunteers will have provided over 2,500 hours of service to assist with the operation and impact of our Foundation. Using the hourly rate of $27.45 we estimate the value of this at over $67,000.
So why do people volunteer? The State of Volunteering in Australia survey (PWC 2016) found the number one reason was to:
- Give something back to the community
- Helping with a cause the volunteer believed in
- To make a difference
- To gain skills and experience
Volunteering also provides a sense of belonging and personal satisfaction, assists in building skills and knowledge as well as gaining confidence and providing insights into other aspects of community. For others volunteering provides an outlet in a busy life, a religious expectation or an opportunity to meet other people, building new friendships or even doing something ‘good’ together with friends and family.
There is a wealth of anecdotal evidence that volunteering has a positive impact on health. Volunteering Australia states that those who volunteers are happier, healthier and sleep better than those who do not volunteer; it also assists with:
- keeping people active and connected to their community
- assisting with lowering rates of depression
- assisting with improving the quality of lives of participants.
The State of Volunteering in Australia survey highlighted the benefits to organisations who used volunteers were varied and included:
- Volunteers bring new insights to their organisations and operations
- Volunteers increased effectiveness and efficiency in operations
- Volunteers enhanced the positive image of the organisation
So, it not only makes good sense to volunteer for your own health and wellbeing, it also provides an invaluable contribution to helping your community. Volunteers are the lifeblood of the community sector and without them, the sector couldn’t provide the services, support and help it provides to so many Australians. On behalf of Geelong and the G21 region we would like to say Thank You to the hundreds of people currently volunteering for the Give Where You Live Foundation and all of the community service organisations in the region, as well as the thousands who have given their time, service and knowledge to the community through our Foundation over the past 63 years.
Happy National Volunteer Week!