This week in Australia it has been National Volunteer Week; a time to stop and recognise the fantastic contribution volunteers make to the Australian community. Just under 4 million – that’s 19.0% of the population aged 15 years and over (2016 census) volunteer their time, skills, friendship, and experience to make a difference to the Australian community. Be it lending a hand in times of natural disaster, offering companionship in an aged care facility or providing customer service in a charity shop.
Some people don’t even realise that they volunteer themselves. They’re the first to berate volunteering as just something Christian ‘do-gooders’ do, when in fact they are volunteers themselves, not considering that lending a hand at their child’s school fete or coaching the school soccer team is in fact volunteering.
I am continually surprised by people who tell me that they are “just a volunteer'”as if that makes them less worthy; Or the paid staff and managers – I mean managers for goodness sake – who think volunteers have webbed feet or two heads making them some kind of freaks who aren’t worthy of the same due care and attention you’d be giving to paid staff (it’s only a volunteer, you don’t want to be spending that much money on them surely!) There is still a heap of educating to do out there in the NFP sector workplace!
Just consider this – if all the volunteers in the country or the world, come to think of it, went on strike, what would happen to our communities? Wouldn’t the world come to a grinding halt? YES it would – for sure!
The theme of this year’s National Volunteer Week was Give a Little. Change a Lot which represents the millions of volunteers and the impact they make to their communities by giving a little of their very precious time, and in our time poor lives, this is a true gift. So, whether you volunteer one hour a week by providing online support or risk your life in our country fire services – hats off to you and thank you – with you here, the world is a better place.