There are many small non-profits of various types which impress us here at NFP Resource.
In this series we feature some of them.
NFP Resource recently encountered a charity whose principal purpose is to help other charities. As this is a purpose very much aligned with that of NFP Resource, we sought more information, and this is detailed below. We had been thinking about updating our website for some time and – as much as a trial of Helptank as to improve the website – put Helptank to the test. Within 2 days we had received a number of offers – all potentially able to assist our project – and selected one of them. Our experience – of Helptank and of the volunteer himself – was most positive. This website is the result.
Who Did You Help Today (WDYHT) is a registered charity established in 2016, to unleash the magic of helping so that social good grows in New Zealand.
Who Did You Help Today has three projects that support connecting our communities to create positive change.
HelpTank (www.helptank.nz) is a digital platform, launched in 2017, which connects community organisations with skilled professionals to enhance collective capability. Free to community organisations, HelpTank focuses on project-based skilled volunteering. Over 500 registered professional are seeking opportunities to volunteer their skills on projects such as strategy, web development, graphic design, business and marketing planning and a whole host of other professional skills.
Mothers Project connects volunteer lawyers with imprisoned mothers to provide assistance to maintain family ties while mothers are separated from their children, empowering them through knowledge and alleviating family challenges. Mothers Project operates in all 3 women’s prisons in New Zealand and WDYHT’s 110 volunteer lawyers have helped almost 500 mothers in prison since 2016.
Homework Club partners businesses with low decile primary schools across the country to help children with their reading and homework. Students get to think broadly about education and job possibilities, while volunteers learn about their communities and the students. Over 400 children have been helped through the support of volunteers in business.
For more information on theTrust, check out the website www.whodidyouhelptoday.org. Community organisations wanting to know more about HelpTank should contact the Helptank team by emailing:firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website www.helptank.nz
Skilled Project Based Volunteering and HelpTank
According to Statistics New Zealand, around one third of New Zealanders undertake
voluntary work for an organisation and about two thirds undertake unpaid work outside their
home. That’s something to be really proud of!
For those working in the not for profit sector that is not a surprise as many simply cannot operate without the help of volunteers. However, we know that the number of volunteers is decreasing due to a number of factors such as an ageing population, work commitments and simply lack of time to commit to ongoing volunteering. Some insights from Volunteering NZ’s State of Volunteering 2017 Report suggest that organisations are now looking at alternative ways to recruit and retain volunteers. These include developing project-based volunteer opportunities, giving volunteers more flexibility with location, time and supporting corporate volunteering. With this changing landscape, there has been an increase in more innovation ways of connecting with volunteers through the use of technology and digital platforms.
The founders of the Who Did You Help Today Trust identified a particular gap in the link between working professionals and corporates employees willing to offer their skills pro bono but unable to find the right volunteering opportunity. HelpTank was launched in 2017 and provides a digital matching service where community organisations can get support to list and clarify their project requirements. When projects are uploaded, a notification is sent to the registered volunteers with a skills match who can choose to apply. Participating employers include Xero, Z and Spark as well as a range of individual professionals. With over 500 volunteers, close to 250 community organisations, and growing, and almost 200 matches HelpTank is gaining momentum. Some of the most significant benefits that HelpTank aims to achieve are improvements in not-for-profit capability, systems, processes and policies that may generate ongoing cost reduction and effectiveness.
It is also recognised that by connecting volunteers with a one-off project-based volunteering opportunity there are often benefits that extend way beyond the time committed to the project or the results. It is important that community organisations recognise the importance of these longer-term benefits to make the experience for the volunteer a positive one – a transformational one. There is the potential for a longer term volunteering relationship in the future, becoming an external champion for the organisation or in fact a change in the perception of volunteering in their workplace, among friends and in society.