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Volunteering Makes Good Business Sense

3 December 2007

Volunteering Makes Good Business Sense

New Zealand businesses are increasingly talking about corporate social responsibility – how they contribute to their communities through time and money. Volunteering for a not-for-profit organisation is one way to help.

Wednesday 5 December 2007 is International Volunteer Day, a day to celebrate the contribution that volunteers make to our society.

Tim Burns, Executive Director of Volunteering New Zealand says, “the not-for-profit section is unique in that there is a mix of paid professionals and voluntary staff. Those involved in the sector are value-based and passionate about their work while volunteering provides a mechanism for members of a community to help each other in safe ways.”

Judy Kerr of Volunteer Wellington connects employee volunteers with not-for-profit community groups on a regular bases. Each year to further promote businesses working in the community, and thanks to sponsorship from Wellington Region Foundation, a Corporate Challenge series is run from February to June. In total, around 700 business volunteers contribute their time and skills annually.

Judy organises it all – matching projects to businesses, setting dates and times and issuing ‘school camp’ type lists outlining what volunteers should wear and take with them.

Recently she connected PricewaterhouseCoopers with Kelburn Playcentre in Wellington whether they did gardening and painting and dug out the kids’ fort, putting new bark chips in. BNZ recently spent two days painting a multicultural centre, which hadn’t seen a lick of fresh paint in twenty years.

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“It’s a win win situation, says Judy.

“Not-for-profit groups get the help they need and businesses can be seen out and about, helping their communities.”

Volunteer Wellington’s Wellington Region Foundation Corporate Challenge 2008 series starts on 1 February.

Regular financial contributions is another way workers can help not-for-profits. Last week Peter Dunne, Minister of Revenue released a discussion document, Payroll giving: providing a real-time benefit for charitable giving, outlining some options for developing and implementing a payroll giving programme in New Zealand.

Payroll-giving enables employees to make regular charitable donations from their pay. The employer forwards these donations either directly to a charitable or philanthropic cause or to an intermediary, who passes on donations to those causes.

The Government is now seeking submissions on the document.

International Volunteer Day was designated as 5 December by the United Nations General Assembly in 1985 as an annual celebration of voluntary action by people, communities and governments of the world. International Volunteer Day (IVD) is for volunteers of all walk of life working in communities around the globe.


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