Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Connecting volunteers for volunteer’s week.

This week marks National Volunteer Week in Australia. Yesterday I was honoured to be invited to a very unique event in Brisbane.

Volunteering Qld, in partnership with Westpac officially kicked off a week of celebrations from a CBD boardroom, along with dignitaries, community organisations and regional volunteer hubs as ‘virtual guests’ - thanks to technology.

CEO of Volunteering Qld, Jelenko Dragisic, said the use of webcam technology was a turning point for connecting volunteer hubs from regions like Bundaberg, Stanthorpe, Toowoomba and Rockhampton with Brisbane and Logan counterparts to celebrate achievements in real time.

The “One Big Thank You!” reached out across Queensland showcasing not only the connectivity that is available if organisations know how to tap into it, but how such technologies can be used to create personal and organisational rewards for the benefit of the community.

I have to say that this was a visionary and brave initiative of Volunteering Queensland. As I sat there next to another Volunteer Manager before the event commenced we wondered at the technological aspect and were admittedly nervous for the event organisers. We could hear them do checks with all the centres around the state. It reminded me of the voting process during a Eurovision Song Contest albeit on a smaller scale! This was a live event and I believe a first for volunteerism in the country. So our fingers were crossed!

There was no need to worry as the event went off beautifully! It was wonderful to witness. We had volunteers link in from all around the sate from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast, from Bundaberg to Logan and Rockhampton to Stanthorpe and Townsville. You could feel the excitement emanate from the volunteers as they participated in this event.

The use of webcams to include regional’s as ‘virtual guests’ at the official CBD function was brilliant. It also got me thinking about the possibilities and opportunities such technology provides for Volunteer Managers in Australasia and even worldwide. I will be suggesting this as a future tool of communication for the Australasian Association of Volunteer Administrators. AAVA members are scattered throughout 2 nations and technology like this must be looked at as a means of bringing us all together!

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