By James Holmsen
National Volunteer Week (18-24 May 2020) acknowledges the efforts of volunteers in the community Australia-wide. The 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics census showed that 3.6 million Australians had volunteered in the previous 12 months, contributing nearly $50 billion to the economy. Volunteering has traditionally been recognised as a great way to give back to the community and connect with others. Clubs WA is fortunate enough to have a group of volunteers passionate about what they’re doing and who are more than willing to help support clubs state-wide spread happiness amongst their members.
Clubs WA’s very own Melody Solovko volunteers as an Accounts Assistant which she combines with an accounting and bookkeeping certificate at South Metropolitan TAFE. Her tenure began in October 2019 and she has recently returned to her duties after a break due to COVID-19. During this time she continued another part-time volunteering role in the community and home-schooled her two daughters. She managed to make it to “all of the beaches” for some relaxation during this period, displaying a clear passion for the ocean. She is an avid swimmer and you will often catch her at the local pool ripping up the lanes. Balancing all these aspects during the break she described as “challenging” and she was relieved when school returned.
Understandably, the appeal of a “quiet environment with very helpful and friendly people” was enough for her to jump at the opportunity to return to Clubs WA. The structure and opportunity to continue to develop her skillset also added incentive. She also enjoys the comradery between her colleagues and considers them to be like a second family. The capacity to learn individually “gives her more confidence” about her profession and she will ideally take these learnings into a full-time role in the future.
Melody’s particular role is discreet and most people would not be able to thank her for the contributions she makes every day to the community. But she is a highly valued member within the four walls of Clubs WA and is just one example out of the 3.6 million Australians who volunteer annually. So during this week, we say thank you to Melody and all other volunteers nationally for their contributions.
A Great Opportunity for Marketing Volunteers
By Belinda Belton
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work as a marketing volunteer at the Clubs WA office in Cockburn Central for six months, from September 2019 to early March 2020. I come from a background in writing and editing, but my time at Clubs WA taught me many new practical skills in many areas, including administration (filing, manual collation and binding) as well as improving my skills in telephone etiquette, Outlook, Excel and Word.
A marketing volunteer at Clubs WA can gain hands-on experience with CRM, from Mailchimp to ACT, as well as improving their SEO skills on social media. They can also pick up skills in Adobe InDesign and web systems.
My time at Clubs WA honed my copywriting skills, by writing articles on a diverse range of topics and interviewing some inspiring members of Western Australia’s wider club community, from the 85th Anniversary of the WA Italian Club to Scouts WA’s recycling initiative.
Volunteers can also learn about events planning and coordination, by helping with expos, awards ceremonies and culinary events.
Highlights of my time include attending the industry expo, being a background extra in training videos, and tasting the treats made by Michelle’s daughter as she continues her culinary apprenticeship.
I hope that the opening up of Western Australia after the COVID-19 lockdown will once again see West Australian clubs flourishing.
I would like to thank Ian for his insights into the club industry. I wish Ian, Karen and Michelle and the team at Clubs WA all the best – I know how much they care about their club members and how they always have their best interests in mind.
As I commenced my final semester in my Accounting and Banking degree, it dawned on me that I did not possess any real-world experience relating to my degree. I had never even experienced what it’s like to work in an office environment before. The thought of this was overwhelming and I was determined to gain valuable experience before graduating.
To kickstart my career, I knew that I first needed to possess some standard office skills. Not knowing where to start, a friend suggested that I search online for volunteering opportunities and I was instantly drawn to Clubs WA’s “Marketing and Communications” position. Even though this was not an Accounting opportunity, I was still very interested in gaining office experience and learning new skills along the way. I understood just how important marketing is for any business and I thought this would be a great place to start.
Volunteering at Clubs WA over the last six months has exceeded all expectations. Not only did it allow me to learn valuable marketing skills, but I also gained skills in administration, business development, communication and writing. Clubs WA has also helped me gain confidence in myself and I feel ready to kickstart my career.
Clubs WA also helped me to step outside of my comfort zone. I have always struggled talking to new people and I knew that I wanted to overcome this. I was always encouraged to communicate with club members over the phone and introduce myself in person to new sponsors before meetings.
The people at Clubs WA are some of the most supportive and friendly people I have ever met. Ian has been an incredible mentor and has helped me so much, along with the rest of the team. He is very patient and saw potential in me, which I previously had not. I could never thank him and the team enough.
I could not recommend the volunteer program enough to anyone seeking valuable experience in marketing, business development, writing or graphic design, even other commerce-related experience. It is the perfect way to start upskilling yourself and you get to meet amazing people along the way!
Julianne de Souza
As a Marketing & Communications Volunteer at Clubs WA, there is a lot to be done and a lot to be learned. In just a few months, I feel like I’ve already gained a wealth of new and transferable skills.
While I have volunteered at a number of organisations, my role at Clubs WA has stood out in that from the get-go, I was trusted to work independently on various tasks. I really appreciate the opportunity to come up with and follow my own ideas. The staff at Clubs WA encourage creativity and working autonomously, while also fostering a supportive and inclusive environment.
This means that, in addition to being able to refine my skills in identifying news stories, conducting interviews and writing feature articles, I’ve had the opportunity to develop proficiency in other areas such as graphic design and social media marketing. I’ve really enjoyed becoming familiar with programs and software such as the Adobe suite and Mailchimp, to name a few.
Of course, it’s not just the work but the people that have made this experience overwhelmingly positive. The staff and fellow volunteers at Clubs WA are all extremely kind, patient and interesting people. From day one, I felt welcomed and like I was part of a team, as if I could ask any question, no matter how silly or trivial it might seem. I am supervised by Ian, Clubs WA’s Marketing and Business Development Manager, and he couldn’t be more generous with both his time and knowledge.
My experience at Clubs WA has highlighted just how fruitful and rewarding volunteering can be. In addition to gaining invaluable practical experience and meeting inspiring people, volunteering is an excellent way of expanding your knowledge and offering your time to the community. It’s reassuring to know that we are all working towards something that actively benefits other people, by assisting club members and volunteers with strengthening their communities and pursuing their interests.