National Volunteer Week is a time to turn the spotlight on Australia’s almost six million volunteers who dedicate more than 600 million hours to selflessly serve others.
Research undertaken by Volunteering Australia has revealed that 78% of companies now have a volunteering program and more than half of those intend to increase levels of participation.
This commitment to corporate volunteering is something that we not only encourage but strongly support at Greater Bank and are constantly amazed by the wonderful deeds of our employees who regularly support the communities that support us as an organisation.
Since 2012, we have seen more than 700 employees participate in volunteering programs, which have contributed significantly to the support of both Greater Charitable Foundation and Greater Bank community partner programs.
A key platform of the Greater Charitable Foundation's activities is the involvement of Greater Bank staff in funded projects through volunteering and pro bono assistance. Similarly, Greater Bank’s other community and sponsorship investments provide platforms for Greater Bank employees to volunteer and connect with their local communities.
Greater Bank’s 75th Anniversary tree planting program which is currently being rolled out across our areas of operation, has provided such opportunities for staff and community members to volunteer together to plant some of the 75,000 trees at sites in their local communities.
While Greater Bank formally offers its employees one paid charity leave day per year, many more choose to do additional work outside of their working schedule, volunteering with our community partners, as well as a range of other programs, services and clubs within their local communities.
Like so many aspects of our lives, COVID-19 forced us to put our volunteering program on hold during 2020 to ensure the safety of the broader community, our charity partners and our employees.
As restrictions eased at the start of 2021, Greater Bank has recently re-instated the volunteering program, which was met with great enthusiasm by more than 100 Greater Bank employees who readily lent their support to community programs.
While volunteering should not be dependent on praise, and in fact most volunteers do so purely for the satisfaction that comes with helping others, acknowledging people for their effort and the impact they are making proves beneficial to everyone involved.
It is for this reason that six years ago, Greater Charitable Foundation established its own Employee Volunteer of the Year Awards to recognise and acknowledge staff members who go above and beyond in their capacity to ‘give back’.
Our contribution to volunteering was also recognised at the 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards when the Greater Charitable Foundation was named winner of the Corporate Team of the Year for the outstanding work our employees had undertaken with Foundation partner, the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, for more than a decade.
The consensus amongst our employees is that to be a part of a company that supports the community is something to be proud of. But it is a two-way street, as without employee engagement and a willingness to volunteer our community contribution wouldn’t be as impactful.
National Volunteer Week is timely for us all to come together to ensure we celebrate those amongst us who give up their time, effort, energy and intellect to support others and, in doing so, help make a change for those who need it most.
National Volunteer Week is Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteers, held from Monday 17 to Sunday 23 May 2021.