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Skills Exchange – A good charitable fit

Media Release

Skills Exchange – A good charitable fit

The formidable task of recruiting a “spare pair of hands” just got easier, with the launch of a cool new website aimed at bringing not-for-profit organisations and volunteers together.

Unique in New Zealand, Skills Exchange is an online tool developed by AUT University and founding partner Vodafone, where community organisations lodge projects – anything from needing a marketing plan written to having a fence painted – for participating businesses and their employees to review, select and do.

The website provides a simple and efficient tool for employers to focus, track and report on their organisation’s involvement with the community, is easy to search and fast to match a skill to a not-for-profit.

One of New Zealand’s leading not-for-profit organisations – the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind is a major supporter of the Skills Exchange programme and has already signed up.

"We love working with volunteers from companies like Vodafone. Volunteers make a huge difference to the lives of blind, deafblind and vision-impaired people. In fact, research showed last year that volunteers contributed 1.5 million hours to the Foundation annually. We simply could not get by without them,” says Paula Daye, CEO, Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind.

The partnership between AUT University and Vodafone was brokered by the Robin Hood Foundation, which specialises in bringing together business and non-profit communities.

Foundation CEO Jude Mannion says the community benefits from such a facility will be tremendous.

“From a global perspective we’re not aware of a partnership of this nature that delivers what this initiative will - simply millions of dollars of donated time and skills into the non profit sector. Its potential is enormous.”

AUT University’s Community Relations Manager, Ian Leader says Skills Exchange allows the education and business sector to better engage with the community and provides an effective tool to help other like-minded businesses.

“One of the great things about Skills Exchange is that it gives businesses and community groups hard data about how the volunteering process is working for them. It can generate a whole myriad of reports useful for presenting to boards and other important audiences.”

Andrea Midgen, Vodafone Director for Customer Care and Vodafone Foundation New Zealand trustee, says her company has always been passionate about enabling its staff to work directly with community groups of their own choice.

“Our people do an enormous amount of volunteering. Skills Exchange is a great way to help us manage the process for everyone’s benefit. Our people get more job satisfaction for doing work they are good at, and the charities get really valuable work in return.”

Skills Exchange is free to community organisations upon proof of their legal status as a charitable organisation, and provides them with the opportunity to access a wide range of skills, time and expertise.

Businesses will make a nominal annual contribution to Skills Exchange to help cover operational costs.

Mr Leader says the Skills Exchange programme becomes a very useful tool to help businesses quantify their community involvement programmes, both in a financial sense as well as from a staff motivational and retention point of view. He added that the programme is different from other volunteer recruitment services such as volunteer centres.

“Skills Exchange is a bridge between community groups and workplace-based volunteers for one-off projects. We’re not about recruiting treasurers and long-term volunteers. We’re about specific needs paired with the right skills from high-level technical capabilities to basic manual labour,” he says.

To find out more about Skills Exchange visit www.skills-exchange.org.nz

ENDS

Skills Exchange Volunteering Statements

From Nielsen Media Research “Good Is Gold” research

University Graduates

One third (32%) of University Graduates are involved in volunteer or charity work.

University Graduates are 29% more likely to get involved in volunteer/charity work.

Mobile phone users

1 in 4 people who use a mobile phone are involved in volunteer or charity work.

NZ a good place to live

27% of people who believe that NZ is a good place to live are involved in volunteer/charity work.

Balancing Work and Life

Nearly one third (28%) of employees who find it is difficult to balance work and leisure are involved in volunteer or charity work.

People who agree it is difficult to balance work and leisure are more likely to be involved in volunteer or charity work than their colleagues.

Employees

88% of employees feel a strong sense of loyalty to their company if it supports charitable causes

Consumers

62% of New Zealanders 15+ years bought a product or service because of its association with a charity or worthy cause

57% said they would buy products or services which were more expensive than similar products if they were made by a company linked with a charity

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