OPINION

Workplace giving helps keep charities afloat

Workplace giving helps keep charities afloat

Helping others has always given me purpose, and I knew from a young age that a life devoted to helping others was what I wanted to do.

At 20, I took the plunge with my best mate Nic Marchesi and started Orange Sky.

We installed a couple of washers and dryers in the back of our van "Sudsy", driving around Brisbane to wash and dry the clothes of those doing it tough on the streets at no cost.

We found that the non-judgemental conversations around the six orange chairs that were set up while the washing was occurring was actually the most powerful part of our service.

Our purpose began to improve hygiene standards and restore dignity for people experiencing homelessness, but it quickly evolved into something bigger, a conversation and a movement.

Homelessness is an ongoing issue in Australia with 116,000 people doing it tough on any given night.

Orange Sky's purpose is to positively connect with as many of these people as we can to provide our services in communities across the country.

We now have 33 bright orange vans and thousands of amazing volunteers that offer their time, simply wanting to give back to their communities.

We heavily rely on our corporate partners and everyday Australians to keep our vans on the road.

With these donations, we can pay for so many our expenses like running the vehicles, supporting our volunteers and are able to keep expanding to reach as many people as possible.

Luckily, Australians are a charitable bunch - 82 per cent give to charities, but almost half of them do so in response to a need or issue, rather than proactively.

It's sometimes a struggle to receive funds at times when we don't have any special events or campaigns on.

Across Australia, June is Workplace Giving Month and it highlights the importance of employees within businesses that support those who are doing it tough.

Workplace giving is a growing initiative in Australia, with a 23 per cent increase in 2019 of employers offering payroll giving.

The best time to make a charitable donation is at the end of financial year as it's a great way to heighten staff engagement, retention, productivity and get your employees a tax break.

Your employees will have a more tax-effective way to build strong relationships at work and with charities like ours.

Every dollar makes a difference to Orange Sky.

If 110 employees gave $5 per week as part of workplace giving, we could fund 100 Orange Sky shifts.

To find out more about how to sign your business or yourself up for workplace giving, visit www.orangesky.org/orange-sky-australia-workplace-giving

Lucas Patchett is co-founder and managing director of Orange Sky.

This story Workplace giving helps keep charities afloat first appeared on The Canberra Times.