This year’s National Volunteer Week 2021 has the theme of: ‘Recognise. Reconnect. Reimagine’. That is why at Communiteer, we are proud to recognise some of the volunteer champions who have used their skills to help not-for-profits with their causes.
We’re proud to share the story of Vijay Pawar, who volunteered for almost 80 hours with Endo A.C.T. Vijay is an IT professional and gave Endo A.C.T’s website a complete overhaul.
Vijay shares with us his experience with Endo A.C.T and what he thinks about volunteering.
To start off, tell us about yourself.
I am a permanent resident of India. I am in Australia on a vacation, visiting my siblings who live in Brisbane and Melbourne. At present, I am in Melbourne. I graduated with a Bachelor of Electronics Engineering and am a self-taught Software Developer. 21 years of professional work experience in the IT field. I have lived in Australia, Canada, UK, and the USA and worked at various Technical and Managerial levels such as Programmer Analyst, Technical Lead, Development Manager, Senior Project Manager, ISO and CMMI Process Consultant, etc. I gained experience working on diverse technologies and with diverse cultures. In my free time, I am a wildlife photographer and a supporting member of Cornell Lab of Ornithology, USA.
What motivates you to do good in general?
Doing good gives me a break from the daily circle of life which revolves around working, earning, and spending. I experience fulfilment that is different from other materialistic pleasures and gratifications. I feel happy when I do good.
Tell us about Endo A.C.T – what is it and what do they do?
Endo A.C.T is a registered charity located in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Australia. Its mission is to increase awareness of endometriosis in women and improve the medical treatment of endometriosis patients through their regular awareness campaigns and support events. The cause of endometriosis is not known and there is currently no cure. The Endo A.C.T. team is a group of enthusiastic, community-spirited women. Endo A.C.T is the only Canberra-run endometriosis charity and a member of the World Endometriosis Society.
Why did you decide to volunteer for Endo A.C.T? Was it because your skills fit what the organisation was looking for? Was it because you believed in the cause?
I consider myself lucky, safe and sound being here in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you all Australian citizens, the Government, and all the Businesses who united and courageously fought against the spread of COVID-19. I decided to use volunteering as a means of being grateful to the country.
My skills matched the needs of the charity. Initially, I had no idea about Endometriosis, however, after the ice-breaking session with Allison Pyke organized by Willem Booker, I was convinced that it was a good cause for me to support.
Tell us what you did for Endo A.C.T?
I executed all phases of the software development lifecycle for their website, starting with Requirement understanding, Design, Development, Customizing for Desktop and Mobile/Tablets, Creation of Graphics, Testing, UAT, Demonstration, Go-Live and ongoing support for updates. The charity had already procured the license for the WIX platform. We leveraged the features of WIX to build and roll out the website.
How did you find working with Allison from Endo A.C.T?
It was a pleasant and mutually beneficial experience. We established excellent camaraderie and trust.
How was your experience using the Communiteer platform?
These days, we use a myriad of IT platforms for day-to-day needs such as email, shopping, social networking, banking, travel, etc. Unlike these platforms where we communicate as a ‘User’ with a software application; Communiteer was an altogether different experience. After I created my account, browsed through the projects, and applied for some of them, I was pleasantly surprised to receive communication from Willem Booker. He quickly introduced me to the Endo A.C.T and perfectly liaised between the two of us during the actual meeting. After a few weeks, Willem also followed up on the progress of the project and proactively advised me to log the time and comments in the feedback section.
I enjoy using the Communiteer platform because it is backed by real people who make this platform a lively environment for both charities and volunteers. Being an IT professional myself, I gave some technical feedback on few occasions and received quick responses and acknowledgment from Bishakha Shrestha.
I look forward to seeing Communiteer as becoming the platform of choice and the most sought after by all charities in Australia.
And what about the contact you had with the Communiteer team? Would you like more or less of it, or the same?
The contact cadence was optimum. After the introduction meeting, a bi-weekly and then a monthly follow-up sets the rhythm nicely.
What did you learn from this volunteering experience?
This was the first volunteering experience in my life. I got an opportunity to add good karma to my life, and to experience a life well-lived. Thanks to Communiteer for making this possible.
Was there a highlight from your experience with Endo A.C.T?
As Communiteer was able to do a good match between the needs of the charity and the skills of the volunteer, the turnaround was very quick. We were able to deliver the project much ahead of schedule. In a record time of 72.5 hours, we went from the first introduction meeting to a live website where people were already registering for events and buying the tickets. The charity was able to save between $1800 to $2200 in development costs!
What do you think makes volunteering experiences so unique from other experiences?
The most precious resource that we as humans have is ‘time’. The number of breaths each of us has is limited. Devoting some of this limited time to make it a better place makes our life meaningful.
Money can buy us pleasure but not happiness! Happiness can only be experienced by giving selflessly what we have!
Now that you have finished, what else would you like to do?
I would be glad to have Communiteer introduce me to other charities that have needs matching my skillset.
Lastly, do you have any tips for anyone who might be unsure about whether to volunteer or not this National Volunteer Week 2021?
Volunteering is an opportunity to experience the happiness that money cannot buy. You need not be an expert at everything. Attainment of skills is a life-long and ongoing task.
To be a successful volunteer you need only 2 qualities:
- Desire to help.
- Attitude to learn along the way.
Life is a journey; volunteering makes this journey delightful. So welcome aboard!
Volunteering numbers have been slashed and the road to recovery will take it’s time. We’re highlighting our volunteers National Volunteer Week 2021 to show the sector the power of virtual volunteering to ignite this spirit once again.
To find volunteers like Vijay to volunteer for your organisation, get in touch with us!