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Hi-tech help advances social good

“We want to be part of growing the volunteering movement in New Zealand,” HelpTank trustee, Sarah Paterson, says.
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Help for community organisations is at your finger tips thanks to a hi-tech platform developed by Helptank.

It’s all about matching skilled corporate volunteers with social-good organisations to make New Zealand a better place and grow the volunteering movement.

A common request for help is to grow their online presence or improve their branding. Writing health and safety policies is also sought after.

Since HelpTank launched in 2017 around 180 organisations and 400 volunteers have registered.

Trustee, Sarah Paterson (pictured above), says it is quite innovative from a New Zealand perspective.

Projects are clearly defined and short term.

It fits with modern life,” Sarah says, “People want to do things quickly and via technology.”

Projects are easily searchable by interest area, skills sought and location, and individuals register and apply to do the projects.

Digital platform key to HelpTank

Key to getting HelpTank up and running was a digital platform where projects can be listed and notification sent to the pool of people who have volunteered.

In the past, people often connected with their community through locally-based groups such as schools or churches.

Sarah says that for various reasons those connections may not be a strong as in the past.

“Today the emphasis is more on mutual benefits,” she says.

“We want to be part of growing the volunteering movement in New Zealand.”

Volunteers come from a range of ages and with different motivations. HelpTank is ideal for getting retired people – who often feel isolated – involved in community-based projects.

People can also volunteer for projects in pairs or as a team. Sarah says this is ideal for firsttime volunteers.

I see a lot of interest from young people and a desire to be involved in the community.”

Some corporates support their staff by giving them paid leave to volunteer.

Dressed to succeed

Wellington’s Dress for Success  in Boulcott Street has had HelpTank assistance with two projects.

The first was help with a health and safety manual and risk register. They were matched with a health and safety expert who happened to work in the building next door.

The second project was some IT help. They were matched with an IT team leader at a corporate that gave him paid time to volunteer his professional skills.

Dress for Success is part of a global movement that aims to empower women by providing professional clothes to help them thrive, especially in the workplace.

Lorna Ingram, pictured, is the operations manager of the Wellington branch of Dress for Success in Boulcott Street.

Dress for Success’ Wellington operations manager, Lorna Ingram, says they would “definitely” call on HelpTank again and have already recommended them to others.

Another recent HelpTank match was between Caleb, from Spark, and Marianne, from the Child Cancer Foundation. They tell their story here.

Under umbrella

HelpTank and two related projects – Homework Help Club and the Mothers Project – come under the umbrella of registered charity, Who Did You Help Today?

Trustees are Sarah Paterson, Stacey Shortall and Rachelle Sutton.

The Mothers Project connects volunteer lawyers with mums in prison to help them maintain family ties. Volunteers help mothers to understand where their children are, who is caring for them, and what the mothers need to do in order to preserve their legal rights.

The Homework Help Clubs connect workplaces with lower decile primary schools to support students’ learning at a weekly club. Students get to think broadly about educational and job possibilities while volunteers learn about their communities and the potential the students have.

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For more information:

To become involved in HelpTank click here

To go to the ‘Who did you help today?‘ website click here

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