I am a country girl. I grew up in the country and after a small stint in the city for university, I reluctantly moved straight back to the country for a 2–year work contract. Eight and a half years later, I am still here and don’t look to be moving any time soon. Living in the country definitely has its benefits but it isn’t the night life or same day deliveries and it definitely isn’t access to Ola or Uber-eats. The pull of the country is hands down the people you come across. And some of the most awesome people you meet are the country volunteers.
Now this is nothing against volunteers in metro areas, because volunteers in general are amazing in my view, but there is something special about country volunteers. Country people have this inane ability to put their hand up, get in and get it done – no matter how busy they already are. The same people tend to be on a million committees across the community and their calendars are always full. But this seems normal to them because their parents typically were the same way. I spent many hours (all day) in the netball canteen growing up because my mum was on the netball committee. It’s just what you do!
Some of my best friendships in Pingelly have formed simply because we see each other three or four times a week for volunteer roles, from coaching netball, fundraisers for the school’s P&C to tennis club meetings. It is rare that there are no commitments on any given week but if not, you can bet that our Facebook Messenger app is going off non-stop all day (much to our husbands’ annoyance) because there are always things that need to be planned or done. I bet many of you are nodding your heads as you read this because you can relate.
Clubs and organisations are really good at pin pointing people for roles based on the skills they have and what they can bring to the club. However, with the same people doing multiple jobs for multiple clubs and organisations you don’t tend to be able to give one thing your all. This is where I think country volunteers and their “put their hand up, get in and get it done” philosophy can be their down fall. Being spread so thin, the job still gets done but some things can start to fall through the cracks. Some committees are now starting to outsource some jobs through the use of sub committees to take the pressure off. I think this is a fantastic idea, as we cannot do it all.
One thing I have regularly seen falling through the cracks is applying for the variety of funding opportunities that are out there. Often clubs just use their own, limited resources to purchase things that could have been funded through a grant or sponsorship.
I get it. Grant writing is a niche skill and very few people enjoy doing it. It can therefore get put on the back burner due to the general day to day operations of the club. Often, clubs put together applications hastily at the last minute due to a lack of time. Writing a grant does take some time and you are unlikely to be successful if it is a rush job. You need to ensure you have answered the questions and your claims are evidenced. Not to mention there is nothing worse than using some of your precious time to write a grant only to be told you were unsuccessful. Luckily, grant writing is one thing that clubs can outsource.
There are a number of organisations that offer a range of grant writing services to suit all organisational needs and budgets and will increase your chances of funding success. Whether it be writing the entire grant for you or reviewing your application and providing advice, there are people you can outsource this to. Just like many clubs go to an accountant to fulfil the role of treasurer because they are an expert in finance. Who better to approach about grants and funding than the experts?
Trust us, we at Whitney Consulting know first-hand how awesome country volunteers are, but no-one can do everything and it is ok to outsource. We are here and happy to help. Now excuse me while I run off to my netball meeting!