volunteer disrupt

Why volunteers need to be disruptive

Disruption is a word we hear a lot these days, particularly in the business world.

We are all familiar with improving and innovating the way we do things but where does disrupting sit?

It’s an interesting word and an interesting concept.

Recently, I had the privilege to address the National Volunteering Conference in Canberra and disrupting the way we volunteer was one of the key topics.

At Beyond Bank Australia, we already have a strong commitment to the volunteering ethos that extends to giving our 600 staff two paid days each year to get out and help in the community.

This shared value model works really well for our community partners and other causes that our staff feel strongly about and they always come back to work with great stories of their experiences.

Yet, it’s a model that may not suit all workplaces and that’s where I think disruptive volunteering is worth considering.

Disruptive volunteering simply means making volunteering more accessible.

It means allowing volunteering to bend and flex to meet the demands of those who want to participate.

Think of it this way: the volunteer is just like a customer. In business, the way we operate is based on customer needs and demands.

This is how it could and perhaps should be with volunteering. Opportunities to help are loosened up and tailored more to what volunteers want.

Volunteering numbers are reducing in Australia and our Government, community organisations and corporates will all benefit from disrupting the current volunteering model which is producing those results.

We need to create and environment and experience that drives more people to get involved.

Instead of asking what the customer or in this case, volunteer, can do for us, let’s ask what we can do for the volunteer.

That’s disruptive thinking and I believe it will lead to a sustainable and better way of doing things for future generations.

If you’d like to get in touch and discuss this further, please leave a comment below.


  1. Cecily Michaels

    We couldn’t agree more Peter! At TRI we’ve found it can sometimes be a challenge for volunteer involving organisations we work with to change the way they’ve operated for decades. It is fabulous BeyondBank is taking the lead to challenge the perceptions of how to engage with volunteers. Thank you

  2. Lyn Sugars

    Hi Peter,
    I’m pleased to say the culture at Red Cross is already a ‘disruptive’ one , and flexibility is our middle name.! lol. But wonderful to hear our world is changing and evolving into greater inclusivity and exploring many more facets of Human interaction and giving than ever before. It is a powerful moving force when barriers come down and the push behind them is the power of humanity. Well done.

  3. pippa fox

    Great idea, Peter – especially if we can think of ways to attract ”creatives” of any age, not just the under 35’s! There is a huge amount of untapped potential out there… why hasn’t anyone thought of it before? perhaps because change is not always comfortable, as Lyn suggests…

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