Corporate volunteering help that really works

NABs Phil Molloy (left) and Charles Allen (right) are thanked by Meals on Wheels recipient Frank Ringrose of Goonellabah.

National Australia Bank employees Phil Molloy and Charles Allen took a break from their desks recently to deliver Meals on Wheels to the frail and elderly. Phil and Charles are part of a new breed of volunteers called corporate volunteers. They nominate a not-for-profit organisation of their choice to help and National Australia Bank allows them time off on full pay and even use of the business car.

Corporate volunteering is a new trend being embraced by a growing number of businesses who realise that social responsibility is a key element of having a successful business.

Andre Othenin-Girard from Volunteering Northern Rivers says at present there are more than 650,000 not-for-profit organisations in Australia that are entirely run by volunteers and they are often ill-equipped, lack resources and skills, and each day is a struggle.

In addition, volunteers are harder to come by and their numbers are declining, due to busier lifestyles. This decline needs to be stopped and redressed and this is where corporate volunteering can really make a difference, Andre said. Involvement can be simple or complex, ranging from an ongoing regular participation such as delivering meals for Meals on Wheels to one-off specific projects like tree-planting, building a website or writing a business plan.

Volunteering Northern Rivers, aided by local councils and the Office of Regional Engagement at Southern Cross University, will officially launch Corporate Volunteering on May 12 (the first day of Volunteering Week). The idea is to create a central hub for corporate volunteering and inspire businesses to come on board.

Many businesses already contribute to the community but there is a need to go beyond the ad-hoc participation to a more structured way that benefits everyone, including participating employees and employers, not-for-profit organisations and government departments, Andre said. The object of the launch is to have business managers/owners and not-for-profit organisations attend and be briefed on the possibilities the concept offers them. Practical examples will be featured and corporate speakers already involved in the concept will relate their experiences and answer questions.

Any business owners or not-for-profit organisations who would like to get involved should register with Andre on0414 591 367.


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