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Keeping morale high in unprecedented times

There is no doubt that we are living in turbulent times. We are all concerned about our survival, how local businesses will cope and about our friends in the community. Most importantly, there is a sense of worry about our families.

For many of us, the human interaction that we rely on for day-to-day comfort has evaporated in a short time. We’ve had to adapt, and quickly. 

However, COVID-19 has seen our country become innovative and continue the community spirit which is at the very core of our nation. Even though we cannot show empathy physically, we’ve shown through the advancement of technology that we can remain connected in the face of adversity.

Share the Dignity relies on nearly 6,000 hardworking volunteers on the ground to make a difference to the lives of women and girls experiencing homelessness, fleeing domestic violence or doing it tough.

We assist these women by collecting thousands of sanitary products each year through our collection drives and campaigns, and distribute them directly to charities across Australia. 

Last month, we had to make the tough decision to end our Dignity Drives early to ensure the safety of our volunteers, our business partners, charity partners, and the wider community. We know we will be needed more than ever before, but it was imperative we prioritised the safety of everyone at this time.

Once we had made this decision, we made a conscious effort to keep communicating to our family of volunteers, to make sure they stayed positive. Needless to say, we could only do this through technology. 

We have been using Workplace from Facebook as a communication mechanism for over three years. It has been a vital tool for us to share updates, news items and connect with our frontline volunteers day-in-day-out.

We have been regular users of the platform, but it’s taken on a life of its own in recent times. It helped us communicate vital messages at a rapid pace to our volunteers to make them aware of the latest Dignity Drive developments.

This has given us the transparency all of us need at this time. 

More importantly, however, it has given us the ability to strengthen our bond as an organisation. We’ve created initiatives on the platform such as virtual pen pal, where volunteers partner with another volunteer from a different part of the country to check in on how they’re feeling.

In the lead up to Mother’s Day, we’ve asked volunteers to take a picture of them and their mothers to show the important women in their lives. Team leaders of each state would normally share videos once a month, but we’ve encouraged them to show their emotions through video and words more often through COVID-19.

We’ve also started a virtual book club, so people can swap opinions on various books, which has caused lively debate!

These ideas have been driven by our workers and have been great ways to show support for one another. Our charity relies so much on a human touch, but through collaboration we’ve been able to stay united in tough times.

I have been heartened by the drive and determination of our community to remain positive and stick together. Keep going Australia, you are not alone.

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