home Customer Experience, Disrupt the Disrupters Australian startup unlocks the value of online volunteering

Australian startup unlocks the value of online volunteering

Vollie is an online volunteering platform, allowing not-for-profits and charities to connect with qualified professionals and students for skills based volunteering. Founded in 2016 and launched in 2017, Vollie has so far delivered 7000 hours of volunteer work worth over $370,000. Their success has been built on adopting a ‘customer experience’ approach to engaging millennials at the start of their careers.

Matthew Boyd, co-founder and CEO, was inspired to establish Vollie due the low rate of volunteering among young Australians (aged 25 – 35) compared to other age groups. Boyd comments, “We started Vollie because the rate of volunteering among young Australians aged 25-35 is much lower than other age groups and we wanted to change that. In this digital age, the workforce is increasingly mobile and work can be done from anywhere, meaning that job and location are decoupled. Digitisation and the entry of the millennial generation into the workforce is fueling this change”.

“At Vollie, we believe that it is vital for non-profit organisations to more effectively engage millennials and provide them with opportunities that fit into this new age of work. A lot of people out there don’t know where to start when it comes to volunteering their time. They can be overwhelmed by the fact that there are 300,000 plus NFPs in this country. They also struggle to find the time to support the causes they care about”, adds Boyd.

Understanding the volunteer’s experience

To engage a highly mobile and tech savvy demographic required a platform that was very user friendly and catered strongly to their needs and requirements. Vollie needed to understand why people volunteered or not as the case may be. They turned to the services of Tom Uhlorn from TinyCX, a Melbourne based CX consultancy, to develop a deep understanding of the motivators and detractors for online volunteering.

Founders Matthew Boyd & Tanya Dontas

Boyd comments, “If we went in blindly and based our decisions on gut and instinct, I’m not sure we would have unlocked as many volunteers as we did in such a short amount of time, or generated over $370,000 in volunteer value. With the help of a solid customer experience framework and the initial research undertaken, our team found that we were able to differentiate ourselves quite quickly from any competition and really add value to both the non-for-profits and the volunteers that interacted with our platform.”

Thousands of volunteers have signed up to Vollie where they can easily find and apply for projects they are passionate about. Vollie’s database is almost entirely made up of millennials, with 25-34-year-olds accounting for 50% of their database. The platform allows people to volunteer in a way that fits around their lifestyle and other commitments.

Boyd elaborates, “Vollie isn’t just a job board. We are an end-to-end service. We work with all parties, volunteers and NFP, from start to finish, ensuring they have the best possible experience. We run workshops with NFPs to help them navigate and articulate their needs, and transform them into actionable volunteer projects”.

Vollie has two revenue streams at this stage, NFPs and corporates. NFPs pay a small fee per completed project. “This ensures we are sustainable and scalable. It gives them an average return of $20 value for every dollar spent – one project is $49, a pack of three is $99 and a value pack of five is $149. We also have a three-tiered offering for corporations. It’s a personalised, on-demand approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that aims to improve employee satisfaction and retention.”

The future

Vollie has a big, bright and global future planned in the coming years. “We want to ensure Vollie is a major success in Australia over the next 1-2 years. We then plan to take it to new markets and connect with new charities and social enterprises. Vollie as a platform has the scalability to connect any cause to any passionate individual anywhere in the world for the purpose of online skilled volunteering We can’t wait to go global!”

Mark Atterby

Mark Atterby has 18 years media, publishing and content marketing experience.