April 2019

People often ask me “how do we get more volunteers”?



Gayle Walters (centre) and the QCPCA Board


What a busy start to the year we have all had – it has been amazing to see the true Queensland spirit shine during times of hardship and adversity. To all our friends and families in northern and north-west Queensland: we are all here for you and are sending you much support to help you through these difficult times. P&Cs are now allowed to make financial donations via www.Givit.org.au and if you are hosting an event, please support this community charity that is getting the funds and items to those who most need it.

I read with great interest an article in The Courier-Mail the other week on the health benefits of volunteering. A recent study showed that volunteering supported better mental health for people of all ages. (Something we in P&Cs know a lot about!)

People often ask me “how do we get more volunteers”? Well, here are some pretty useful reasons why people might want to volunteer and how they could actually be improving their health:

Volunteering helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety. The social contact aspect of helping and working with others can have a profound effect on your overall psychological well-being. Nothing relieves stress better than a meaningful connection to another person.
Volunteering combats depression. Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you against depression.

Volunteering makes you happy. By measuring hormones and brain activity, researchers have discovered that being helpful to others delivers immense pleasure. Human beings are hard-wired to give to others. The more we give, the happier we feel.

Volunteering increases self-confidence. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.

Volunteering helps you stay physically healthy. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not.

Volunteers tend to walk more, find it easier to cope with everyday tasks, are less likely to develop high blood pressure, and have better thinking skills. Volunteering can also lessen symptoms of chronic pain and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Source: HelpGuide.org, online article “Volunteering and its surprising benefits”.

We all know that the “traditional” volunteering has changed dramatically in the last decade and people have become more “episodic” volunteers – “just one thing”. It’s vital that we look at different ways and means for people to be able to volunteer including technologically (via social media, updating newsletters, website development and support), in person (tuckshop, uniform shop, bake sale, sausage sizzle) co-ordination (fun run, a-thon’s, drives) and strategically (document and policy review, feedback, planning). Look for strengths in the people in your community and see if they can spare just a short period of time to volunteer – remember it will make them feel GREAT!

To all the schools hosting events on 18 May (Federal Election #democracysausage): may you have a great day – this is always a great opportunity to showcase your school to the wider community!

I also look forward to seeing you at our Conference in September. Registration is now open and we would love to see you there to look at all the great ways our P&Cs innovate and think outside the box. Have a great term.

Gayle Walters, President, on behalf of the QCPCA Board