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How one not-for-profit grew from 900 to 4,100 volunteers in one year

Not-for-profit Share the Dignity has rapidly boosted its number of volunteers by utilising an online communications tool

Not-for-profit Share the Dignity has grown its volunteer workforce from 900 to 4,100 since 2017, by using a suite of free and easily accessible communication tools.

The organisation has consolidated communication in one place by taking advantage of the familiar Facebook platform and by utilising its Workplace by Facebook tool, which allows charities to be more accessible to their volunteers no matter their location across Australia.

Share the Dignity Founder, Rochelle Courtenay, told Third Sector: “We’ve been able to effectively get a message out to the thousands of warriors that spread our message from there. This is not something we would have achieved without Workplace.

“Our volunteers are without a doubt our most valuable asset, so it is crucial that we have a tool that makes communicating with them, and also organising them for our various initiatives, as easy as possible.”

Share the Dignity works to improve the quality of life for homeless women and victims of domestic violence by collecting and distributing personal hygiene products. It has credited the increased volunteer base to Workplace’s suite of tools which allows the organisation to break down complex messaging to its growing Australian network.

“We were one of the first to use Workplace and it has completely changed the course of the charity. When we were still a really young charity, just three years old, we had only ever used Facebook to communicate in closed groups,” Courtenay said.

“We needed something that would allow us to break down our communications into groups and make sure the right messages were getting to the right people.”

Share the Dignity relies, like many other charities, on the hard work of volunteers, but knows first-hand the positive impact a solid volunteer base has on your organisation. According to Volunteering Australia, more than 3.6 million Australians are engaged in voluntary work through an organisation or group.

Workplace by Facebook allows volunteers to stay up to date through a personalised News Feed of work activities and reaches colleagues instantly for Work Chat for video or voice conferencing. The organisation can broadcast live to members of the group, search all files and conversations and report on activity to manage teams and projects.

Head of Workplace Asia Pacific & Japan, Luke McNeal, told Third Sector one of the biggest challenges facing employers and volunteers in not-for-profits is the increasing amount of information that needs to be processed. He said organisations are consistently struggling to get the right messages to the right people.

“Workplace by Facebook services this challenge by providing a single platform that can house internal conversations all in the one place, whether by text, instant messaging, live video, group chats or more,” McNeal said.

McNeal added that the platform connects organisations that aren’t tied to one location, giving people the right tools to connect volunteers in different places. It also makes life easier for people who need to stay connected while on parental leave and to ensure that employees on flexible workplace arrangements are not forgotten.

Courtenay said the only challenge the organisation had was people not wanting to change. She added that whenever organisations try something new, “there is always a handful of people who are resistant to taking up new systems and processes”.

“Because of this, we also had to think hard about how we could communicate most effectively that implementing Workplace was the best for Share the Dignity, which we did and we have never looked back.”

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