In 2010, 36.2% of people aged 18+ (6.1 million) had volunteered.
In 2010, formal volunteering (excluding travel) was worth $25.4 billion to the Australian economy.
96% of volunteers say that it “makes people happier.”
Sustained volunteering is associated with better mental health.
Support our friends on the street this holiday period
Orange Sky Australia • 2020 • 17 Dover Street, Albion Queensland 4010 • (07) 3067 5800 • ABN/Charity ID: 85890622990 • We are a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) All donations over $2 are fully tax deductible as a Deductible Gift Recipient by the Australian Tax Office
Coming out around the Christmas period is always a highlight of my year. I came out last year and just felt like I was part of Orange Sky’s mission to be a consistent presence for our friends. It’s a good feeling to be able to come out with the team at a time like Christmas to show our friends we really are committed and it’s no skin off our back. I mean it’s a couple of hours a week or fortnight and I think it is much more powerful to be consistent and reliable then just come when you can. It’s good that Orange Sky works hard to operate right the way through and it really helps strengthen how genuine the community is.
I get a lot out of it for myself, to be honest. To come and spend time with our community down here was a great way to finish Christmas for me. I got a lot out of it to come and say Merry Christmas to everyone and put a smile on all their faces and it puts a smile on my face. I wouldn’t keep doing it if I didn’t get a lot out of it. I think something that the volunteers and supporters can take comfort in is that you’re getting out what you put in. If you come along and get involved, you really do create genuine connections and it’s no longer just an obligation to turn up to a shift. You want to go and catch up with friends like Ros and I think just knowing that you provide a bit to them makes you feel good for coming.
One in seven homeless Australians are 55 years or older
A third of people over 55 are living on less than $400 a week
Between 2011 and 2016, the proportion of older people who were homeless increased.
Older people living in severely crowded dwellings increased to 44 per cent in 2016, from 35 per cent in 2001.
Jay Almaraz, Volaby Product Lead
If ever the Orange Sky story was one that begged to be shared, 90 seconds was far from the ideal length of time – but that was the challenge we were tasked with if we wanted to walk away with $1 million from Google.org.
We landed in Sydney before the sun had set the day prior and met up for dinner with an expectedly casual Lucas and an uncharacteristically anxious Nic. Tomorrow was the day of the Google Impact Challenge (GIC), an initiative by Google.org to power community minded projects. For the rest of us, the day was an opportunity to explore the Google Sydney campus and bump shoulders with other bright and interesting people. But for Nic, the day centred on a single performance; the pitch. Show them what you’ve got, pitch your idea, tell them where we’re going, and why Google.org should be the ones to help us get there.
It wasn’t a red vs. blue competition, everybody was there for the same reason; hoping to make the biggest possible impact for the community. Still, the panel of judges had the challenge of selecting three organisations out of the ten finalists. Eventually the time came to announce the winners: Xceptional – helping people with autism overcome employment challenges, Humanitix – a platform turning ticket surcharge into social impact, and Hireup – a platform for people with disabilities to connect with the perfect support workers.
Each winner accepted their position with a quick word of thanks, then returned to their seats. We all remained glued to ours, the pit in my stomach was so big I mightn’t have been able to stand up even if I tried. It wasn’t over yet though, as there was another award to be presented… the People’s Choice: Orange Sky.
Our mission is to positively connect communities, and that mission goes beyond vans and laundry. Community is a symbol of connection, conversation and depends entirely on the people within. It makes us so proud to think that our Orange Sky community, the people we connect with, backed us through the Google Impact Challenge. It’s a pleasure to welcome you all to an exciting new Orange Sky story.
Volaby is a platform built to empower other volunteer driven organisations with the tools to amplify their social impact, and connect with their volunteers. Volaby delivers features that have been derived from systems Orange Sky has been using and developing every day since 2016. The Google Impact Challenge award money has allowed us to fast track the development of Volaby, starting with finding the right people.
Growing Volaby from the stem of Orange Sky’s technology is an engineering problem, and to solve it we needed engineers. We set our sights on recruiting software developers who were talented in their craft, tenacious in their character and passionate in their purpose. At each point along the way, we found someone who fit the bill, and the result is a tremendous trio who have since joined myself and Tony on the engineering team. Tom, Lewis, and Bandita are all onboard now to help build Volaby to be the best platform possible.
Without a design team, Volaby was at risk of being a splintery ship; painful to look at and hazardous to board. The amazing Kaira joined the crew and is our User Interface/User Experience (UI/UX) designer. Thanks to her guidance, Volaby is a pleasure to use and a beauty to behold. We are establishing an experience that is as frictionless as software can be, for every volunteer and manager, every step of the way.
With the addition of Mike to help us lead the project, we had a team ready to power our ship and we set sail. Inheriting some early work, our captains were at the wheel and Volaby was well underway. With the GIC award filling our sails and a crew founded under Orange Sky’s mission, we are steering Volaby to the destination that we imagined one year ago. A platform to give the for-purpose sector a new edge through technology, to ultimately amplify their social impact and help to positively connect the community.
A huge thank you must go to Google.org – without their support, we wouldn’t have achieved what we have to date in building Volaby and creating a tool to help volunteer organisations around Australia and the world.
In 2014, two young blokes named Nic and Lucas found out that there were 116,000 Australians experiencing homelessness.
To put that in perspective, the MCG – our country’s biggest sporting arena – holds 100,000 people. Let that sink in for a bit.
Nic and Lucas knew that it was a big number and they wanted to do something to help. They had a crazy idea to build a free mobile laundry service and decided to hit up a big laundry company to get some washers and dryers.
The boys were told that it would never work, that no one would wash and dry their clothes in a park and that the machines would never operate in the back of a van.
It took them three days (and three sets of washing machines and dryers from the laundry company) to get the van working.
Nic, Lucas and Sudsy hit the streets and met a friend named Jordan. With the machines in full swing, there wasn’t a lot left to do but sit down and chat – and that’s where they learnt the real impact of the service. Sure, having clean clothes was important, but sitting down with Jordan and genuinely listening to his experience meant so much more.
That’s why at Orange Sky, our mission doesn’t involve the words ‘laundry’ or ‘washing’ – it is to positively connect communities.
We see everyday the power of a simple conversation and how feeling connected and part of a community can change a person’s life.
Here’s just a few of the friends that we’ve learnt that from over the past four and a half years:
George is one of our friends on the street who comes to shift each week to wash his clothes, have a warm shower and sit down for a chat with volunteers. He knows that he can rely on Orange Sky to be at the same place, same time, each and every week.
George has spent the past eight years living on and off the street and said it was the simple things that often had the biggest impact. “When you’ve been homeless for such a long time, it’s the small things that can give you a little bit more hope.”
When we first met Harry, he didn’t have a home, but we were able to provide him with access to clean clothes and genuine conversation. Harry taught us that homelessness is not about the absence of a roof over your head, but rather the absence of human connection. Although he no longer uses our laundry service, Harry still comes down every week for a chat with volunteers on our six orange chairs.
116,000 Australians are disconnected from the community and in need of support and human connection. But there’s something we can all do to help.
At Orange Sky, we’re lucky to have an amazing community of people who believe in what we do and support our crazy ideas – like the one to build a free mobile laundry van named Sudsy.
So, here’s another one for you all. It’s called The Sudsy Challenge; keep your kit on for three days, start conversations and support friends on the street.
Wearing the same clothes for three days in a row might be difficult or inconvenient, but that’s the whole point. It might give you just a small insight into some of the many challenges faced by our friends on the street. But it also might start a few conversations. Conversations that will help to raise funds and awareness so that everyone can have access to free laundry, warm showers and genuine conversation.
Help us build more vans like Sudsy and positively connect all Australians in need.
Sign up today for The Sudsy Challenge!
Meet Chelsea. She started working with Orange Sky in January and since then, we’ve learnt a few things about her; she is afraid of butterflies (we know, SO MANY QUESTIONS), she never reads the last page of a novel and she’s great at bringing in a buck or two (not surprising that she’s an Accountant!)
Chelsea and her partner, Arno are among our top fundraisers for The Sudsy Challenge, raising nearly $600 towards their goal of $1152 (which will support four friends for one whole year).
She said being part of The Sudsy Challenge gave her the opportunity to raise awareness about homelessness and experiences in her own community.
“Many of us are fortunate enough not to be in this situation, but there is something we can do to make a difference,” she said.
“My partner and I decided to do The Sudsy Challenge to help support the 116,000 Australians who are experiencing homelessness. We want to raise $567 to help support two friends for one whole year – and we pledge to match donations dollar for dollar, so we can help a total of four friends.
“We are passionate about volunteering and we are now very excited about taking the next step in furthering our impact!
“We hope people will join us in raising awareness for friends doing it tough and pitch in what they can – and don’t forget that it’s tax deductible!”
Chelsea is one of 2400 people who have signed up for The Sudsy Challenge and helped to raise more than $115,000 for people doing it tough.
Kitted up in her Sudsy shirt, Chelsea said she was hoping to have lots of “positive and informative” chats.
“We want to get out as much as we can because it’s a great opportunity to introduce Orange Sky and the Sudsy Challenge to our community! Since we are doing this as a team, we are planning on sticking together for the weekend. We are hoping that the matching t-shirts will invite a lot of curious eyes to our cause,” she said.
“We’ll start with our routine weekend errands, add in a few social engagements and end our weekend at our shower shift at Emma Miller Place.
“We want to emphasise the value in the conversations we have on our six orange chairs and hope that people will come to appreciate that broader conversations about homelessness must continue.”
Although Chelsea has only been with Orange Sky for a few short months, she’s had a huge impact already and is continuing her support for friends on the street through The Sudsy Challenge.
“Homelessness can happen to ANYONE. The power of empathy and human connection is what always pulls us back to Orange Sky’s mission of positively connecting communities. Without the continuous love and support that Arno and I have so graciously received throughout our lives, it could have happened to either of us. Being a part of the Orange Sky family and the Sudsy Challenge is our way of paying that love and support forward to those who deserve it just as much as we do.”
Want to support Chelsea and Arno?
by Megan Groundwater
In March 2018, when we launched Orange Sky’s laundry and shower service in Townsville, I told everyone “it never rains here”. Growing up in Ingham, 100km north of Townsville, I’d been through enough wet seasons to know that ‘rain’ and ‘Townsville’ were two words that generally didn’t go together.
But what did I know? The week of the Townsville service launch, it rained the entire time and was the wettest launch event that we’d ever had.
Despite the weather, I remember being so proud that Orange Sky had finally made it to North Queensland. I was excited that the service would reach more people in need and was determined to help grow the community’s understanding around homelessness. Not even a year later, ‘Caz’, our laundry and shower van, has helped the community in ways that I could never have imagined.
We often hear stories of friends who have had a few things go wrong and find themselves living on the street or in a position where they need to access support services.
The ‘one-in-100 year’ flood disaster in Townsville has affected thousands of homes and left so many people without a roof over their head. Orange Sky has been able to mobilise three vehicles, including Caz, to help provide assistance to locals – many whom have become temporarily homeless through the recent weather event. A team of local volunteers and staff have done more than 4000kg of laundry, helping to restore just a little bit of normality to people’s lives.
We’ve heard so many heart breaking stories over the past few weeks, but also many of hope, resilience and community spirit. So many people who, in the face of complete disaster and adversity, have found a way to just keep going.
Like Crystal, a single mum and education student lost everything in the floods. She had no insurance and said she was too overwhelmed to even think about filling out paperwork to access support. After staying at an evacuation centre for the week (her 10-year-old son thought it was all a big adventure), she found a place to live and Orange Sky volunteers were able to help her move the small amount of belongings that she had left.
There’s Neilin (pictured left with volunteers), an 18-year-old who volunteered with a group of mates to help clean up homes around Townsville. He even found time to pop in to an Orange Sky shift to let us know he loved what we do. He told us he was grateful for our support to his community and was hoping to sign up as an Orange Sky volunteer after just turning 18. (What a legend!)
Chloe was on her way home to Hughenden when she became stranded in Townsville.
“We are all in the same boat and have nowhere to go and all been affected. People are here to help us because they want to be here, not because they have to.
You can only wear the same clothes so many times before they start to smell in the heat. It was amazing to clean my clothes and I was at the point where I would have to hand wash my clothes, so Orange Sky meant the world. To be able to wash and dry my clothes and have them handed back to me meant the world.”
There’s the people who entrusted us with their most valued possessions, and as volunteer Tony explained, it’s not a job that anyone takes lightly.
“A lady came up to me and asked if we could please try and wash something for her. She didn’t expect a perfect result, but they had lost everything. She was going to throw it out, but thought we might be able to help. It was her wedding dress, with a three-foot train and fresh water pearls. It was 80 to 90 percent humidity on this day and everything was growing mould. She couldn’t get it to a dry cleaner and there was no vinegar left anywhere.
A woman also asked if I could please take special care of these items, it’s all she managed to save from her daughter who passed away. I’m relieved to say it was successful!”
Then there’s the Townsville volunteers, some of whom were impacted themselves by flooding. Their amazing compassion, kindness and generosity has inspired us all.
Caz has supported the community in more ways than I could had ever expected – not just through laundry services, but by providing an opportunity for people to sit down, have a chat, and maybe – even just for a second – forget about their reality. What’s happened in Townsville is nothing short of devastating, but like always, North Queenslanders have a way of just getting on with it and supporting each other in times of need.
By Megan Groundwater
Help to positively connect some of the 116,000 Australians doing it tough.
We see donations come through every single day; big and small amounts, regular or once off contributions, funds that have been raised from an event or donated for a cause.
Our Finance Manager, Emma Young (pictured above), has been at the forefront of this since she started with Orange Sky more than two years ago. Since then, she has noticed $1 go into our account every fortnight from an anonymous donor – and she has been desperate to find out who it is.
“I’ve always speculated about who it might be and have wondered if we’d ever be able to thank them. All donations, big or small, mean so much to us at Orange Sky. Every little bit counts,” she said.
“The donor had never given us their contact details so we didn’t know exactly who they were… until now!
“We sent out an email as part of our Christmas campaign and I couldn’t believe it when I saw the message in our inbox.”
It turns out the anonymous donor’s name is Alison. She told us that she’s on an Age Pension and has $1 deducted from her bank account every two weeks. She said that giving regularly to someone who deserves it is “good for the soul” and honestly our hearts could not be any fuller right now.
Emma touched base with Alison as soon as she received the message.
“I told that her that we were so excited to receive her email as we’ve noticed her fortnightly donation for years, and just how much it meant to everyone at Orange Sky and our friends on the street,” she said.
“We are so grateful to have people like Alison who believe in what we do and support us however they can.”
You can read Alison’s original message below:
Dear Orange Sky people.
I am on an OAPension and so I automatically (through my bank) donate $1 – I think it’s every month or every fortnight – from my pension. That’s all I can manage. But I encourage others to do the same. It’s not much but the totals add up, and I’ve been doing this for 2-3 years or even more – I’ve forgotten.
I praise you for your idea and work. God Bless. Have a happy Christmas – be careful, enjoy, laugh and share.
Sometimes we wonder if volunteers know the impact that they have on the lives of others; not just the people they encounter through volunteering, but the people they come across in everyday life. At Orange Sky, we are continually blown away by the generosity, kindness and compassion of our volunteers across Australia. We currently have more than 1,500 of them.
Today is International Volunteer Day and we are celebrating our volunteers and highlighting what they do best; sitting down on an orange chair, having a conversation and positively connecting with person in need.
There is no formula that makes up the typical volunteer. There is the university student with a few hours between lectures, the full-time worker who has their evenings free, the parent who has time to spare while the kids are at school, and the retiree who wants to give back after a life of employment. No two volunteers are the same, and yet all similar in the way that they bring people together through connection and genuine conversation.
Helen is one of our volunteers at Orange Sky’s laundry service in Melbourne.
She became a volunteer because she wanted to get involved and help out in a meaningful way – but has felt just as rewarded by the experience.
“We learn about compassion, understanding and acceptance, and so I think a lot of the volunteers really get a lot more out of it than we feel that we give.”
Watch the video below to hear more about Helen’s story.
The truth is, there are a thousand different ways to do it! We’ll give you a toolkit with some fun and out of the box ideas, so it won’t even feel like you’re hosting a fundraiser. We’ll also be here to support you the whole way through and keep you going when you just don’t think you can wear those socks for a third day in a row!
You’ve hooked people in with your clothes, but what next? A big part of experiencing homelessness is feeling disconnected from the community, and that why conversations are so important. The idea is that your outfit starts conversations – and in turn, raises some much needed funds for Orange Sky.
Your choice of clothing is totally up to you. You can keep your kit on in one of our event t-shirts (that we’ll send you when you sign up), the comfiest outfit in your cupboard or something that screams ‘I am doing The Sudsy Challenge!’ like a space suit or tutu.
Receive an impact report quarterly, detailing how your partnership has positively impacted the community (ie number of washes, showers and conversations)
As National Partner, we can create customised partnership T-shirts for your team, promoting our engagement and joint branding. These can be our uniform for joint events, fundraising and promotion.
At Orange Sky HQ, we will provide a dedicated co-working space for your team. This is an area for your team to feel part of the Orange Sky journey, collaborate on hack-a-thons and deliver customer meetings that highlight the partnership.
Vehicle Partners support the capital costs (33 percent to 100 percent) of Orange Sky’s laundry ($110k), shower ($110k), hybrid ($140k) or remote vehicles ($140k), for which they receive partnership benefits in return as outlined in Partnership Benefits matrix.
National Sponsors commit to donating between $200k – $500k p/a for a minimum term of three years, for which they receive partnership benefits in return as outlined in Partnership Benefits matrix.
Principal Partners are businesses, individuals, institutions or organisations who commit to donating $500k and above p/a for a minimum term of three years, for which they receive partnership benefits in return as outlined in Partnership Benefits matrix.
State partners commit to donating between $100,000 – $200,000 p/a for a minimum term of two years, for which they receive partnership benefits in return as outlined in Partnership Benefits matrix.
An exclusive once a year Orange Sky event that brings together our network of partners, innovators and change makers in the business community. It’s an opportunity to network and collaborate with like-minded individuals as we tackle an Orange Sky challenge and hatch new ideas that will help Orange Sky continue to positively connect the community.
We will work with your corporate and social responsibility team to create a workplace giving program.
Working with your Orange Sky Partnership Manager, we will work to create a launch that encompasses your network, stakeholders, community, staff or all of the above. We have had immense impact in the media, industry and community through our creative approach to raising awareness – let us take you on that journey.
Through your unique partner portal login, you will also receive an Annual Impact Report which includes recognition of the partnership, statistics of contribution and how it has impacted the community.
We will supply you with ‘Proudly supporting Orange Sky’ or ‘Proudly supporting www.orangesky.org.au’ logos for your company marketing or event material.
Download a monthly newsletter with details on the direct impact that your contribution is making in the community. Your electronic report will arrive in the form of a co-branded email; a great tool to share with your staff, stakeholders and customers allowing them access to the most up to date information on how you are supporting our friends doing it tough.
Every partnership is a relationship and our mission at all levels is to stay connected. That is why your business will be assigned an awesome Orange Sky manager to keep you up to date on the partnership, our joint engagement and your impact. It’s important to us that you understand just how important you are! We will work with you and support you to identify and create beneficial opportunities to continue to maximize the relationship.
A regular communication on Orange Sky news, events, impact and growth. Can be sent to any number of your staff, customers, partners or community.
Access to leadership team and Orange Sky founders for professional development days, networking events or ideation sessions.
Tailored to your messaging needs, a video capturing our joint partnership produced by the Orange Sky creative team. This case study is a great tool to for internal or external use (ie. end of year reports, company functions, website, social promotion, reception loop etc)
Principal Sponsors are businesses, individuals, institutions or organisations who commit to donating $500k and above p/a for a minimum term of three years for which they receive sponsorship benefits in return, as outlined in Sponsorship Benefits Matrix.