Pfizer turns to virtual volunteering during Volunteer Week

As Australia kicks off National Volunteer Week 2020 (18-24 May 2020) themed ‘Changing Communities, Changing Lives’, Pfizer Australia is preparing differently due to COVID-19, replacing the usual face to face recognition for volunteers with charity partners, with a renewed drive to mobilise more volunteers than ever in a virtual volunteering campaign.

Pfizer has partnered with Australian tech startup Communiteer, whose technology and crowdsourcing platform enables organisations to offer remote volunteering to support vulnerable communities. Communiteer’s volunteering campaign is aptly named ‘Virtually Together’ and is set to mobilise more than 10,000 volunteers (Pfizer colleagues among them) towards 300 charities, to support their needs over the next six months.

“When the reality of the risks of COVID-19 took hold and our workforce swiftly moved to working from home, face to face volunteering was temporarily suspended. We immediately began looking for how we could direct our caring colleagues towards virtual volunteering for social impact”, said Pfizer Australia Manager for External Relations, Leigh Simmonds.

“We are very excited to be collaborating with others to bring our colleagues’ skills to help solve a range of social issues, such as poverty, education, isolation, disability and ageing communities. We are looking to add resources and capabilities to the community sector at this unprecedented time, when volunteering is needed more than ever,” Ms Simmonds said.

“We hope this will support the many community partners we already work with, such as The Smith Family, Variety the Children’s Charity, Ronald McDonald House and The Red Cross, with our 1,700 caring colleagues. Pfizer colleagues are ready, willing and able to help and it is great to offer them a way to stay engaged in the community safely”, said Pfizer Australia and New Zealand Managing Director, Anne Harris.

Communiteer CEO and Founder Victor Lee said that in a time when isolation is a necessity for our protection, our most vulnerable community members, who were already isolated before COVID-19, are feeling even more isolated.

“Following the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing social issues being overshadowed by this crisis. We are partnering with companies like Pfizer to address the issue of social isolation and the need to resource charities through volunteering to help solve this problem,” Mr Lee said.

“This campaign on which we are partnering with Pfizer will target the needs of our most isolated community members through the community organisations that support them and bring people closer together”, he said.

Communiteer is the home-grown, virtual volunteering, platform provider Pfizer is collaborating with to translate charities’ needs into virtual opportunities, enabling colleagues to engage with charities from the safety of their own home, and make a difference at the same time. Communiteer was also voted the world’s best digital solution for citizen engagement by the 2019 World Summit Awards.

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