After 17 years of dedicated service to the volunteering sector and local communities, Volunteering Bay of Plenty (Volbop) has passed the baton to SociaLink. SociaLink vowed to continue to maintain all contact details in the strictest confidence and remain cognisant of security requirements via our Be Collective database platform. So no change and the great service continues on.
As it was for the rest of the world, Covid 19 pandemic certainly took its toll on the non-profit sector and Volunteering was no exception. Volfest 2019 never took off as a result and significant change occurred as Board Trustees moved on and Lisa Ford resigned from the General Manager role. Tony Snow stepped into the Chair and Lillian Richmond as Secretary.
The decision was taken to seek a CEO as opposed to a GM to have a clearer separation between governance and (empowered) management.
Vanessa Lister was instated as CEO in the midst of her 2020 lockdown in Melbourne. She made use of virtual tools to manage the Volunteering Bay of Plenty (Volbop) team, inspire the Board of Trustees and run the organisation.
She led a time of significant change during the pandemic. A key pivot was to establish the organisation as the peak body for Volunteering, where previously it was seen more like a matching service only.
Extant data analysis supported the anecdotal feedback that New Zealanders and indeed, the Bay of Plenty Region felt their district communities are diverse and different from each other. This meant that plans for local visibility and representation would be key to connecting with the people we serve.
A refresh of the vision, mission and purpose statements ensued, and a magnificent rebranding project including logo change, transformed the organisation. The supporting Strategic Plan emerged to ensure that “Through advocacy, collaboration, consulting, training and events we empower individuals and organisations to create excellent Volunteering experiences”. Our Strategic Framework, C.A.P.E. (Connect, Advocate, Protect and Educate) – guides everything we do at Volunteering Bay of Plenty.”
Head Office was now seen as the provider of supporting operations for the entire region – ‘separate’ from the service delivery at Tauranga Hub. A watershed moment was the launch of the Rotorua Hub (opened by the Mayor, The Honourable Steve Chadwick) which co-located with Red Cross on the corner of Rangiuru and Lake Road, Rotorua. Plans for establishing a Hub in the Western BOP and the Eastern Bay of Plenty were in place.
The team made up of paid and ‘permanent’ volunteers, grew to a healthy number of 12.
To support the connecting of communities involved in Volunteering, a new database was employed that would provide the digital eco-system required to facilitate Volunteering. Our Volunteer numbers were now in excess of 4100, more than 120 non-profits joined. At any one time, more over 80 Volunteer roles and opportunities were uploaded and available for Volunteers to apply.
The inaugural Volfest 2021 was launched and extremely well received! A significant milestone celebrated at Bay Court, Tauranga.
Consulting services were the start of the social enterprise thinking needed to diversify income streams. Significant clients were Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust (Volunteer Management Program including a Training Needs Analysis), Breast Cancer (mentorship of Volunteer Lead) and Brother International (Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development Goals).
A suite of training and development materials were designed and written that included basic employability skills, the rights and obligations of Volunteers, health and safety and soft skills (emotional intelligence, diversity and inclusion, critical thinking and decision-making, etc.). Importantly, the need for training on “Managing and Leading Volunteers” was recognised and the modules produced were fit for purpose.
A big vision requires resources and financially, it was a bad time for all non-profits. Volunteering Bay of Plenty suffered from lack of support by the largest regional philanthropic funders due to historic governance issues.
Despite this major challenge, Vanessa Lister secured more than half a million dollars from other sources during her tenure. However, this was unsustainable, and she actively pursued the merging of synergies with a like-minded organisation that had the support of these critical funders.
SociaLink rose to the occasion and on 3 October 2022, accepted the baton from Volbop and continued the delivery of Volunteering Services in the Bay of Plenty.
2019 has been an exciting productive year for Volunteering Bay of Plenty.
We have seen some changes of staff and trustees throughout the year but welcome Acting General Manager Lisa Ford in October (who was previously a Trustee) and the appointment of our new Chairman Ron Scott at the AGM in November.
The Board of Trustees and team set the strategy for 2019/2020 to hold the inaugural ‘VolFest 2020′ a volunteering festival here in the Bay of Plenty. This is the newest family event celebrating volunteers in the region, and gives the opportunity to showcase how to get involved in the community. Volunteering Bay of Plenty’s purpose is to advocate, connect and educate everything that is volunteering and we believe that VolFest 2020 is the ideal platform.
To ensure we continue to be fit for purpose, we need to be flexible, understand our customers’ needs and promote what we do. We need to take advantage of disruptive technologies and use them to our advantage. Volunteering Bay of Plenty is extremely fortunate to have a strong Board to provide governance, oversight, and advice. We are blessed to have exceptionally supportive funders, members and volunteers. Last , but not least, our hardworking team are committed to supporting volunteering in the Bay of Plenty region.
2018 was a busy year for Volunteering Bay of Plenty. We saw many changes in staff throughout the year including a new General Manager, Helen Stewart, coming onboard full time in early November. We also moved out of our office in The Historic Village to take up residence in the new building within the village grounds, The Kollective.
Our AGM in November also saw our chair Alan Withy stand down and our new chair, Tony Snow was appointed. We also had a new board member Lillian Richmond appointed throughout the year with Lisa Ford and Paula Naude appointed at the AGM.
To be fit for the future we need to be ever more flexible, attuned to customer needs and better at marketing and promotion. We need to take advantage of disruptive technologies and use them to our advantage. Volunteering Bay of Plenty is extremely fortunate to have a strong Board to provide Governance, oversight, and advice. We are blessed to have exceptionally supportive funders, staff, members and volunteers.
Together we will continue to make a social impact.
2015 to 2017
By 2015 volunteer numbers and organisation numbers are up; the centre’s profile is vastly higher than it has been before, with numerous events, newspaper articles and Social Media activity; and the Centre is engaging businesses with volunteer community. This is great news to attend the Centre’s 10th Anniversary celebrations.
The Employee Volunteer programme was re-energised in February 2015 when interest from companies looking for volunteer projects showed potential development. By mid-2015 there is a paid coordinator, and some large businesses have joined the programme.
In 2016 Volunteering Bay of Plenty supported some of our member organisations in their volunteer management and coordination.
Using skills and expertise, guided by Volunteering New Zealand best practice guidelines, we were able to help Avalon revitalise their volunteer engagement.
Support, by way of recruitment and coordination, was given to Multicultural Tauranga and Welcome Bay Community Centre for their community festival.
Volunteering Bay of Plenty also produced a scoping document for Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust, giving advice on how to improve their volunteer engagement.
In 2017, after the success of the scoping document in 2016, Volunteering Bay of Plenty was contracted by Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust to coordinate their volunteer engagement for 1 year. We are the first centre to do so in New Zealand and we hope this is the first step in being contracted by more organisations to help them in the future.
National Volunteer Week (held 18th-24th June) saw many events hosted by Volunteering Bay of Plenty with 3 of these events, held in Tauranga and Rotorua, being attended by the Minister for Communities and Voluntary Sector. During this week, Volunteers were also treated to a quiz lunch with the quiz host being a DJ from a local radio station.
Support was given to Tauranga City Council by way of recruitment of volunteers for the Paradox Festival.
Volunteering Bay of Plenty took 4 volunteer coordinator shifts to assist Oxfam with their Trailwalk event in Whakatane.
2013 / 2014
In 2013 the Chairperson’s Annual Report records “this year has been the most difficult we have experienced since we opened”. However, new manager Janine Branson adds “it is these very challenges that make us stronger and more determined to make our mark in the community as ‘the place to go for everything relating to volunteering”.
Income is received from a range of national and local trusts as well as government sources.
Sponsorship from local businesses and individuals is also welcomed as untagged funding to support events and special programmes. In 2013 the Centre is able to increase income by more than $20,000. The figure below (from the Annual Report of 2013) illustrates the heavy dependency on grants from government and philanthropic trusts. Volunteer of the year is Sandra Gilligan (Breast Cancer Support Service); Youth Volunteer is Nathan Harney (YMCA); and Trustee of the Year is Rev David Ansell (Alzheimers Tauranga)
More positive accounts are reported by 2014. There is renewed focus on building and strengthening relationships with members, stakeholders and fellow Volunteer Centres. A new online database for volunteer positions is being prepared. Management of the Centre is now in the hands of Theo Ursum.
The Third Annual Volunteer Awards Ceremony, held on the International Volunteer Day (5th December), was another success.
2009 - 2012
A succession of changes in Managers has a natural impact on the Centre’s operating efficiency. Beverley Rudd completed her term in June 2009, to be succeeded by Di Walters (to July 2010), Louise Houston (Sept 2010 – Feb 2011), Margaret Butler (Feb 2011 – April 2013), Janine Branson (April – November 2013).
Despite this turnover, the Centre achieves a TrustPower Award in 2010, winning the Community Category, an achievement repeated in 2013.
Digital communication is enhanced in 2010/11, when manager Margaret Butler builds the website and Facebook page for the Centre.
In 2012, a very successful Volunteer of the Year ceremony is held, adding lustre to the Centre’s profile in the community. Winners were Luci Carter (Royal NZ Foundation for the Blind), and Youth Volunteer Rafael Ortiz (YMCA).
Generous support and sponsorship was offered by Allison Stewart and Eves Realty Groups, including some good advice for next year’s event.
2007 / 2008
By the end of the 2007/08 year the Centre has become a well-recognised service agency for Western Bay of Plenty. Funding from local trusts has enabled replacement of old and slow computers. Marketing and publicity opportunities have attracted a greater variety of organisations and individuals, and in greater numbers.
A Migrant and Refugee Project, and the appointment of a part-time paid Coordinator, allows liaison with Settlement Support and development of connections and volunteer opportunities with local ethnic communities.
2008 sees the beginning of the Employee Volunteer Programme. This popular form of volunteering began in 2008 with an arrangement between Body Shop and the Stewart Centre, continuing for the full year. Other successful matchings were ANZ Bank Staff with Alzheimers Society; Mormon Helping Hands with Women’s Refuge; and Tauranga Boys College with Riding for Disabled and Model Engineers.
The global financial crisis of 2008 has a direct impact on the Centre when funding sources suspend grant applications or reduce their level of funding. At the same time there is a dramatic increase in volunteer registration, particularly from people who are now out of work.
Annual reports over the next few years record the challenge to maintain financial sustainability as funders continue to be impacted by the ongoing economic recession. Staffing reductions meant Board members take on fundraising and accounting functions.
2005 / 2006
Volunteer Western Bay of Plenty Trust is duly incorporated under the Charitable Trust Act 1957 on July 4, 2005. The Inaugural Board Chair is John McGowan who acknowledges the capable management of Beverley Rudd, along with her team of volunteers.
For the first year of the new Centre organisation secured funding from local trusts, Mayors’Funds, and were also supported by grants from Community Organisation Grants (COGs), Lotteries Board and Department of Internal Affairs.
The day-to- day running of the Centre and its function of recruiting, registering and referring potential volunteers to registered member organisations continue as before, and the Board Chair reports that independence results in a more robust, well-governed and managed organisation.
In 2006 a part-time paid administration assistant is recruited, 3 to enhance financial reporting to the Board and allowing the Centre Manager to focus on development work.