As we celebrate volunteers around the country as a part of National Volunteer Week, it reminds me how very grateful I am to work for an organisation that is committed to giving back to the community. Whilst we are a small team, we make a big contribution to the community through the work we do, both in a paid and a volunteer capacity.
As a team we provide our skills and expertise on a volunteer basis through a range of projects with community and not-for-profit organisations.
Individually we are also supported by The Social Deck to contribute to projects and initiatives we are passionate about. I am fortunate to volunteer on a not-for-profit board, Read the Play, providing strategic support to a mental health literacy program for young people in Victoria.
The foundations of The Social Deck were built on creating a business for good.
Our founders, Kate and Steve, started the business in New York over seven years ago, and the initial ideas for our services came from their volunteering work.
On arriving in New York City, they both volunteered their professional skills and time through Catchafire, which offers skills-based volunteer matching.
This experience led them to realise that there are thousands of not-for-profits out there who need the support of professionals, but who find it hard to get it when they need to pay full rates for smaller pieces of work and advice.
So Kate and Steve made the decision to make volunteering part of the core of the business and introduced a Pro Bono Bank, where we allocate 10% of all paid hours into pro bono projects and skills-based volunteering.
Over the years, The Social Deck has provided 1699 hours equating to more than $250,000 in pro bono services supporting a range of community based projects and organisations, including:
- Helping Project Rhythm crowdfund a mobile studio to bring music education to underserved kids in New York City
- Working with African Rainforest Conservancy to develop a public relations strategy
- Crowdfunding photojournalism to pursue underreported stories about the war in Afghanistan
- A communication and social media strategy for Pollinate Energy to help them tell the story of their programs to bring clean energy to the developing world.
- Profiling and promoting more than 250 Australian entrepreneurs through our online magazine Ideas Hoist
- A successful Try, Test and Learn funding proposal with Mission Australia, Max Solutions and Marist180 to develop an innovative approach to supporting young people at risk of dropping out of education
- Supporting the establishment and ongoing running of Innovate Noosa as Board members for 2 years
- Facilitating the development a new strategic plan for the Sunshine Coast Environmental Council
- Event management, workshops, facilitation and strategic support for SIMNA, GoodNorth and CQUniversity
- Strategic communication advice for Queensland Youth Housing Coalition
- Strategic advice and support through board membership of Read the Play
- Probono support to engage people in bushfire affected communities on behalf of NBRA
It’s not just the community who benefits. According to Volunteering Australia, corporate volunteering has many benefits for employees and the business.
Employees are given the opportunity to develop their skills and expertise and explore new challenges. For the business, staff morale, motivation and team spirit is increased when providing employees with opportunity to contribute to positive community initiatives.
And these are all benefits that we have realised through our probono work at The Social Deck.
At The Social Deck volunteering and providing probono services is our opportunity to continue to influence behaviours for positive social and environmental impacts. Something that that all of our team is passionate about.
If you want to know more about how we manage skills-based volunteering and our Pro Bono Bank, contact our Manager of People and Projects, Marty, at firstname.lastname@example.org