Volunteer Task Force(VTF) is an organization supporting people with financial, social, and physical limitations in the community of Perth, Australia. Kath Snell is a senior manager at VTF with a background in volunteering and charity work.
What inspired you to get involved at Volunteer Task Force? Well, I had worked in a number of industries since leaving university in the mid 90s, most recently in Commercial Radio as Marketing Manager. During that time I was heavily involved with the internal charity and that work really interested and inspired me. When I left that job, it was part of a bigger move from Wales, over to Australia, and at that time I began to think what I might want to do in this ‘new life’ I was embarking on. I remembered that most of my job satisfaction from my previous role, had in fact come from the work with the charity, and not from the work with the radio station itself. With that in mind I started on my journey of volunteering. I figured I needed to get a bit more of an idea of the not for profit world and would need to do that by offering my time to volunteer. I did just that, and my interest heightened. Before I knew it, I was applying for jobs and was lucky enough to land my first role with the organisation I had been volunteering with. Back then, we were pretty small, but almost 8 years later, we have grown enormously and have become one of the largest service providers via our funding stream of services in Perth. It’s been and continues to be an incredible journey. What inspires me is the support offered to clients to live a life with more choice and independence, and the people who provide those services, both the paid staff and the volunteers, and what that feeling of belonging can bring to those individuals too.
What steps did you take to start this particular journey? I have probably covered that, but really it was around volunteering, and finding out about what interested me and what inspired me and how my skills could benefit that organisation.
What was or are the hardest obstacle(s) to overcome to meet your goals?/What is your proudest accomplishment so far in relation to your work? I feel I have been very lucky, I found an organisation that embraced my contribution and ideas very early on, and from that I felt I could grow and learn. A positive workplace and culture is vital in that process and I am proud to have helped forge that. My proudest accomplishment, that’s a tough one. I have to say I am proud daily at the relationships that have been built between staff, volunteers and clients and the work we do with clients and that is reflected in the feedback we get from all stakeholders. If I had to say one thing it is probably the complete rebrand of the organisation that I lead in 2010. This gave the organisation a new face, it breathed fresh air into our image and allowed us to become a recognisable, friendly, approachable yet professional brand. The feedback has been outstanding.
How can people get involved either through VTF or in their own communities?
I think the key to involvement is to find something you love and do that. The volunteers we have, sometimes come to us with a passion, or they develop it over time. The main thing is, people are welcomed and we work with volunteers to find their best fit. The majority of our volunteers contribute in the gardening team, and that suits so many due to the nature of the role: outdoor, team work, fresh air, working with nature, easy to see instant results, (and often a morning tea with the client!). Others prefer to do office work or social support where we accompany clients to do their shopping or perhaps attend a wellbeing program, or go on an outing. There are lots of opportunities with us, but if you are not near us, there will always be dozens upon dozens of organisations that need your help, and you will be able to find one that fits your needs too. Check us out at www.volunteertaskforce.org.au or follow on Facebook