Skilled Volunteers Make A Wish Come True
20 January 2017 at 4:49 pm
A move towards skills-based project volunteering is making wishes come true.
In a bid to create a “pirate princess” costume for a child with a life-threatening medical condition, Make-A-Wish Australia has turned to online volunteering platform Vollie.
The charity, which grants the wishes of children aged three to 18 who are battling life-threatening illnesses, used the platform to find a costume designer willing to volunteer their skills to help a four-year-old girl and her 11- year-old sister dress for a treasure hunt.
Make-A-Wish volunteer services coordinator Tess Melville said the platform had enabled them to reach out to the community “to help make this wish as unique as the child”.
“This pirate princess has such a vivid imagination, she knew exactly what her costume should look like,” Melville said.
“In order to make this little girl’s imagination come to life we needed a designer to create a custom-made costume.”
RMIT graduate Miranda Dix has now volunteered her textile skills to bring the wish to life.
She told Pro Bono News the project was a “perfect fit”.
“I felt like doing something to help out and learnt about the costume design they needed via Vollie so got involved straight away,” Dix said.
“It started because at one of my jobs, I was working as a Santa photographer, and they had a Make-A-Wish child come in and I was really inspired by that whole thing because we got be part of giving the child a present and working with Santa and seeing all that pan out and seeing how happy he was and that just really inspired me to do something to make a difference and use my skill set somehow.”
Dix, who is based in Melbourne, will be working remotely to complete the project but said the child had sent her requests via email and photos.
“They are very particular in what they want which makes it easy for me because I want to make them happy,” she said.
“I’ll add my aesthetic to that and work with the inspiration photos they sent me to create this sort of whimsical mood.
“I don’t really do costume as much myself [but] I do a lot of avant-garde looks I guess, so this is down my alley, I like to be bold and be creative and use bright colours and sparkles and things so it is sort of the perfect little project.
“Just knowing how happy and excited they will be even for a moment makes me happy… and feel fulfilled that my talents and my creative side can be put to use in that kind of way, I never really thought that it could so it is a really different thing for me to do.
“I would like to inspire others to do it and I would strongly encourage anyone else to use their skill set or anything else they have to offer… to help out.”
Vollie founder and managing director Matthew Boyd said the platform was unlocking a new way for people to volunteer as they can do it online, from anywhere in the world, all while utilising their skill set for the greater good.
“Vollie is opening up new avenues for not for profits, as they’re realising during their weekly meetings that there are projects they can put on Vollie to get assistance with,” Boyd said.
“We will see more and more remote online volunteering in the non-profit sector, as there’s demand from the Australian public to volunteer in this way and charities are understanding that.”
Projects posted on Vollie by not-for-profit organisations can range from copywriting, marketing plans, bookkeeping and social media all the way through to full website builds, with each project having a clear start and end date, meaning volunteers aren’t locked into a long-term commitment.
Melville said the volunteering sector was heading towards specific skills based project volunteering.
“Vollie enables us to keep up with the trends of the sector, while being able to utilise our network of skilled professionals in an online way,” she said.
“[It] has made us start thinking about every aspect of the organisation and has helped us identify projects that could use volunteers and be enhanced by volunteers’ experiences.
“It’s going to be really exciting to see the effect Vollie has as it’s providing that missing piece for millennials to get involved in volunteering.”