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Turning The Tide On Our Volunteer Crisis

Today is International Volunteer Managers Day. If New Zealand is going to make the most of the volunteering opportunities that promise to keep some of our critical community organisations afloat, we need new ways of connecting New Zealanders to the causes they care about says Chris Hooper, Director of Be Collective New Zealand.

We live in a moment of great social and environmental change, challenge and opportunity.

For a lot of us, particularly friends and whānau in Auckland, it’s the challenges that are trumping the opportunities right now.

Nowhere is this truer than in the volunteering sector, where the new need for remote working is leaving many organisations short in the lead up to Christmas.

Even in ordinary times, those at the coalface of volunteerism know that creating real change is no small feat. The recruitment and retention of volunteers alone can be a hugely complicated and time-consuming task, with spreadsheet, email and telephone-based project management creating just as much complexity, double handling, and confusion as it solves.

For those looking to donate their time, this disconnection plays out in other ways.

Volunteers can have trouble finding opportunities to make a real difference, and when they do find something, their enthusiasm can all too easily be squandered by poor management, doubts about what's being achieved, or simply the sense that their efforts have gone unrecognised.

Sausage sizzle cancelled? No kidding.

Your most loyal volunteers calling to say this year is the year they need to wrap up? Figures.

These are challenging times, and our volunteer managers are doing it tough.

If we are going to entice a new generation of volunteers into the organisations that desperately need a sustainable volunteer workforce, we need to put better supports around our volunteer managers.

Whether you are organising referees for Saturday sport, or rostering lifeguards to patrol our beaches this summer, I can guarantee your job is harder than it needs to be.

My organisation, Be Collective is a B Corp Certified Social Enterprise that puts private sector technology to public purpose.

Be Collective is a digital platform designed to bring community goodwill together, to help organisations engage, manage and leverage their volunteer communities and local ecosystems for the greater good.

We’re already working with volunteer centres across the motu – and want to support as many volunteer managers as we can to hit the ground running in 2022.

On the surface, Be Collective operates a bit like an online ‘job board’ for good works in the community. Anyone can sign up and start creating opportunities for free.

Those looking to volunteer can quickly log in to the website, create a profile and browse opportunities and organisations based on their interests, skills and location.

When they find something suitable, they can reach out and connect at the click of a button.

Behind the scenes, the Be Collective platform is something more, supplying the technology, social infrastructure and deep expertise organisations need to better activate and manage volunteer communities.

Simple but sophisticated tools bring clarity to the volunteer management process and let organisations attract, recruit, and reward volunteers, all from an easy-to-use central hub. Events can be managed just as easily with a full suite of management and communication tools right at hand.

And once the work is done, Be Collective makes reporting easy, even creating individualised ‘social CVs’ for volunteers - a digital record of that individual’s impact on the community, with every hour logged and every new skill verified.

That hits to pathways to employment for folks out of work thanks to the pandemic and looking to build recognised skills in new areas.

And though the technology is impressive enough, Be Collective is more than just a tech solution.

The platform is backed by a team of real experts in the non-profit space, who can help volunteer managers tailor their community presence for the greatest impact, as well as support staff onboarding and training.

With Be Collective, doing good doesn’t need to be difficult.

Take a look around – www.becollective.com

- Chris Hooper, Director Be Collective New Zealand

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