“I’m just someone who works behind a desk in an office – how can I really make a difference to fight poverty?”
I get asked this question – or a variant of it – on a regular basis. So, alongside the launch of our Australian Corporate Tour with Opportunity International, I wanted to take a moment to make some simple suggestions as to how you can fight extreme poverty through your workplace. Below are two actions that you can take at each of three different levels – your office, your whole company, and the your own life.
Around the office
Across the company
· Make giving easy.
Approach your HR department and work with them to instigate a workplace giving program that is part of the payroll – so that everyone in your company has the opportunity to have regular donations to an organisation of their choice made straight out of their pay. If you’ve already got a scheme like this, run a promotional drive for it to get more people involved – or challenge your workplace to start matching donations made by staff. Contact the Charities Aid Foundation if you’d like a hand to setup payroll giving.
You’re a person, not just an employee
· Volunteer your time. There are dozens of organisations fighting extreme poverty who need the skills of talented professionals. Provide pro-bono professional services in your spare time – financial, legal, logistical advice – or volunteering your time to support fundraising and awareness raising for your favourite charity. Just head to the website of your favourite organisation and follow the links to ‘get involved’ or ‘volunteer’ and you’ll see that even just a few hours can make a difference.
· Use your political voice.
The government, through AusAID are by far and away the largest aid donor in the country, on top of their role as legislators and regulators to set the rules of how we engage with those in extreme poverty. With an election coming us this year, it’s a key time to tell your member of parliament that you care about these issues. Get involved by joining your local RESULTS group.
Find out how, on our how-to page