Our country has a land mass like the United Kingdom but with a very low population. Merely ½ the population of London and ¼ that of New York, “we box well above our weight”. Despite the many challenges fronted by New Zealanders, we live reasonably well by any measure. How is this so? A strong volunteer base is part of the answer!
There’s no denying it. Without volunteerism our country could not operate the same way it does. Volunteers are present in almost every sector of working life and represent some of the best principles and values of human kind; selflessness, compassion, protection, growth.
The big picture is that Volunteerism is likely to grow the four Capitals that support the intergenerational wellbeing of NZ; Natural, Social, Human and Financial. The Social and Human Capital outcomes of volunteerism are perhaps the most valuable.
Internationally New Zealand is ranked in the top five countries when it comes to volunteering. While this reflects the needs of a small isolated population (in global perspectives) we should never take for granted the work done for the common good.
Volunteers are a crucial part of the non-profit sector and our wider economy, providing the equivalent of approximately $3.5 billion to the country’s economy. (Statistics NZ, 2013). UFBA commissioned research concluded the annual contribution to the economy by FENZ volunteer personnel is over $500M (Esperance Capital Ltd, Valuation Report 2014). Not surprising given the fulltime nature of the volunteer workforce commitment including standby time. Money is but one small measure. The overall value contributed to the community (feelings of safety and security etc) is priceless!
Over 10,000 volunteers from all walks of life are involved in keeping people and property safe, whether through operations or firefighting as part of services under Fire and Emergency NZ. Beyond the hours recorded for service and muster there’s the additional time you commit in maintaining your brigade’s presence in the community, supporting local events and school programmes.
And time is essentially the most important thing you are contributing. We all have limited time in this world and yet, as a proud FENZ Volunteer myself, I’m sure you’d all agree that the rewards we get from volunteering make it worth every minute. Companionship, camaraderie, the chance to meet others in your neighbourhood and the opportunities to learn and grow as a person mean we’re all the more richer for choosing to give.
So, use this week to humbly remind your friends and neighbours why you do what you do. Let them know that as much as the service is there to protect them, it’s also there to help them grow too. They only need to take that leap and join!
Referenced from Overview Paper on the State of Volunteering NZ, available from: https://www.volunteeringnz.org.nz/state-of-volunteering/
UNDP Human Development Report 2016, Overview, available from: http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/HDR2016_EN_Overview_Web.pdf
Living Standards Framework 2017, NZ Treasury, available from: https://treasury.govt.nz/publications/presentation/living-standards-framework
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