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Volunteering for shared success

24 May 2018 |Community

Bendigo Bank is proud to partner with hundreds of Australian communities, and sees first hand the amazing difference volunteers make locally. Volunteering, within the Community Bank® model and more broadly across the nation, is a huge part of Australian culture, with an estimated 932 million hours volunteered each year.

Bendigo Bank Community Bank® branches are governed by local boards of directors. Nationally, there are more than 1,900 volunteer directors supporting 322 Community Bank® branches.

The concept of feeding into community prosperity, rather than off it, is fundamental to the success of the Community Bank® model – a model that has distributed more than $183 million to local communities since the first branch opened in 1998.

“During National Volunteer Week, I pay tribute to our volunteer directors who work hard to build their own enterprises. The investment of their time, skills and knowledge plays an important role in the success of their communities. I thank all of our Community Bank® directors for their passion and commitment to building the prosperity of their communities,” Executive, Robert Musgrove said.

The recruitment of directors has taken a different direction this year in Melbourne, with the introduction of the Students on Boards program.

“The Students on Boards program is a joint initiative with Deakin University. After a rigorous recruitment process, eight Deakin students began a two year directorship on Community Bank® boards throughout Melbourne. The students will have a mentor, bi-annual workshops and coaching, ensuring we set these young directors up for success,” Mr Musgrove said.

“The new directors’ involvement helps us be more relevant to the younger generations within community. It also provides a meaningful opportunity for young people to make a contribution within their local community. We estimate that by 2025 over 60% of the workforce will comprise millennials, so it makes absolute sense to ensure our boards represent this evolution,” he added.

Program participant and Pinewood Community Bank® Director, Shruti Verma echoes Mr Musgrove’s sentiments, finding the past four months an enlightening and rewarding experience.

“I saw this program as an exciting opportunity to develop business acumen and being the force of positive change for the local community. I was interested to partake in the program to gain professional skills whilst giving back to the community in a substantial manner,” Ms Verma said.

“So far I have learnt that a financial institution can be more than just banking and how it can make real difference in the lives of people and for the community,” she added.

In conjunction with being a Director on the Pinewood Community Bank® Board, Ms Verma sits on the board’s Community Engagement Committee, prepares the monthly minutes, and contributes to the engagement for the upcoming community pitch night.

“The fellow Directors have been of immense support in mentoring me, making it a really smooth transition from a Student to a Director,” she added.

Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Science (Environmental) student Tom Rochford has recently joined the Kew and Kew East Financial Services Board.

“Throughout my tertiary study I have been involved in a variety of volunteering programs, however I have always found the capacity to impact to be diminished by the nature of a voluntary role,” Mr
Rochford said.

“The opportunity to work with communities who are invested in the outcome of the bank and have a greater buy-in to the community projects that the bank is involved in would allow me to be involved in an environment that makes a lasting, sustainable impact,” he added.

Mr Rochford is excited about his two year directorship, and looks forward to learning how boards operate, budgeting, strategic decisions and the facilitation of grants programs.

“Having not had this experience before joining the board, this will provide extensive learning opportunities for me. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity,” he added.

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