In early March, the Queensland Alliance for Mental Health had the pleasure of welcoming Nicolas Marchesi, the co-founder of Orange Sky, to our Member Forum. Nicolas provided our members with an overview of Orange sky, a purpose organisation that works closely with the community to raise funds to support their services. The challenges of operating a volunteer-lead organisation and the unique solution developed in-house to streamline volunteer processes, increase engagement and long-term loyalty were also discussed.

Orange Sky is on a mission to connect with 116,000 Australians who are experiencing homelessness. The organisation does this by simply providing a regular laundry and shower service to the homeless in the community. By creating a safe, positive, and supportive environment, people who often feel forgotten or disconnected from others have a place where they can have that sense of belonging, be heard, and supported. The vans are operated by volunteers who love to have a chat, are engaging and great listeners.

Nicolas and fellow co-founder, Lucas Patchett, started their operations in 2016 in Melbourne. When they returned to their head quarters in Brisbane, they soon realised it was hard to track their vans and where and what volunteers were doing. They wondered if they could operate more efficiently, track volunteers to ensure their safety, and provide volunteers with the tools to view the volunteering hours they have worked and schedule further commitments. After searching for a solution, they realised there was nothing that suited their needs. Taking the plunge to develop their own solution has proven to be the right move. Orange Sky’s in-house Volunteer Management Solution has allowed the organisation to grow their volunteer base to 2,000 and introduce the system across their Australia and New Zealand operations to better manage their positive impact to the community.

In 2018 Orange Sky won the ‘Impact Challenge’ where Google invested $1 million into the Volunteer Management Solution, named Volaby. This has allowed Orange Sky to take their experience and their purpose-built solution to the industry and help other volunteer-lead organisations to better manage and scale their positive impact to the community. Since then, the use of Volaby has continued to grow. Updates and tweaks are made along the way to ensure this solution stays industry relevant and evolves with the changing needs of those they work with.

“In our industry, we are perpetually faced with the challenge of doing as much as we can, with as little as possible. We don’t believe this challenge is going anywhere, so we must challenge ourselves to find newer and more innovative ways to do more with less collectively as a sector, if we have any hope to achieve our missions”         Alex Urquhart, Partner Engagement Manager, Orange Sky

For more information about the Volunteer Management Solution, Volaby, click here

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