6th June 2016Emily Salkey
Volunteering Success Stories
Volunteers Week (1st June – 12th June) has sparked a lot of discussion at Philanthropy Company about the benefits of volunteering; not only for organisations, but also for the volunteers themselves. For many of our staff, this led to their first opportunities in the charity sector and was instrumental in getting them to where they are today.
Our CEO Caroline Underwood began her career by volunteering to help with “envelope stuffing” at the John Power Gallery at the University of Sydney. The museum soon became independent, starting its journey towards becoming the Museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay Sydney.
Within 3 weeks, Caroline had been asked to become press officer, and eventually worked her way up to Membership Manager, working on an award winning DM campaign. Following this, an international search appointed her Director of Marketing and Development where she was instrumental in getting the Museum open with no government funding.
Likewise Kelly Hague, Prospect Researcher, also began her career in the charity sector by volunteering. After deciding she wanted to work in environmental conservation, Kelly volunteered at the Somerset Wildlife Trust, helping to put names in a spreadsheet for an upcoming event they were running, as well as also going out on their reserves and helping with physical work.
Kelly then volunteered with the North Wales Wildlife Trust, using her marketing background to put together a sponsorship package for companies and another for legacies. This then led to her first paid job in the sector as BirdLife International’s Marketing and Fundraising Manager.
Similarly, Associate Director Alistair Lomax had not had any experience working with a large organisation, so he spent 8 months with Oxfam helping to settle the new volunteering strategy. During his time as a volunteer, Alistair carried out a national survey, ran a 12-strong steering group and reported back to the senior team.
“It didn’t lead to a paid role with Oxfam, but gave me so many other benefits,” Alistair explains. “The time with Oxfam was a calling card later to consultancy work with British Red Cross, to Save the Children International and to the Scout Association. I draw on this experience all the time and would recommend volunteering to anyone.”
There is clearly no limit to the paths volunteering can take you down and the valuable experience it can provide. Volunteers Week is the time to celebrate and appreciate your volunteers, and also to shout about the great opportunities you have gained through volunteering. How has volunteering has been beneficial for you or your organisation?