Toolbox Grant to explore opportunities to attract and retain volunteers

Clyde River and Batemans Bay Historical Society received a $7,659 grant through Toolbox Funding to support NFPs to engage with their community to attract new members while keeping the new and current members engaged.

In an era where community support and volunteerism are more critical than ever, the “Helping Hands” project stands as an innovative initiative dedicated to assisting NFPs in engaging with their communities, attracting new members, and, perhaps most crucially, retaining their valuable volunteers.

The roots of the “Helping Hands” project trace back to 2021 when it was first run in Batemans Bay by the Historical Society. Since its first delivery, it has garnered immense interest within the sector, with several other NFPs expressing a keen desire to have the program run again. The demand for such support is a testament to the challenges faced by NFPs, particularly in the wake of the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic deeply impacted the volunteer landscape in the Eurobodalla region. Many long-standing volunteers, primarily from older age groups, reduced their engagement due to concerns about their health and safety. This shift had a profound impact on the ability of numerous organizations to continue delivering essential services to the community.

In the past, NFPs relied on natural attrition, where departing volunteers were seamlessly replaced by new recruits. However, the pandemic disrupted this equilibrium, as many volunteers retained their membership but curtailed their physical presence. Instead of gradual transitions, there was a mass exodus, leaving a void that has proven challenging to fill.

In light of these challenges, NFPs have recognized the pressing need to adapt, engage with their communities, and attract fresh faces willing to step into the roles left vacant by the pandemic-driven changes. Equally important is the need to find innovative ways to keep these new members engaged and motivated—a task that many NFPs are navigating for the first time. The “Helping Hands” project serves as a lifeline for NFPs grappling with these challenges.

The “Helping Hands” project promises to equip participants with practical skills to address the twin challenges of attracting new volunteers and retaining their interest. Its curriculum is tailored to the unique needs of NFPs, focusing on strategies that are not only effective but also adaptable to the evolving landscape of community engagement.

By providing NFPs with the tools to actively engage with their communities, the “Helping Hands” project aspires to rejuvenate volunteerism in the Eurobodalla region. Through this initiative, NFPs will be better prepared to bridge the gaps left by the pandemic, ensuring the continued delivery of essential services to their communities.

In a time where the strength of communities hinges on the dedication of volunteers, the “Helping Hands” project embodies the spirit of resilience and adaptability. By extending a helping hand to those who have long supported their communities, this initiative holds the promise of a brighter future for NFPs and the communities they serve.

What is the Toolbox of Support?

Toolbox Grants are only available to previously funded applicants to the IRCF program that are looking to lead a project that supports multiple organisations working on common capacity issues.  Funding is available through a simple rapid response grant process to respond to shared capacity issues that are present throughout the program and need to be acted on in a timely manner. You can explore the Toolbox Guidelines to see if your project can be supported through this mechanism.