Corporate responsibility is taking on new meaning after BenchOn partnered with Disaster Relief Australia (DRA) to launch a world‐first, free platform that matches generous companies with impacted regions.
Australian communities ravaged by natural disasters have been given unprecedented access to employees of some of the country’s largest businesses through the simple click of a button.
Army veteran and BenchOn co‐founder Tim Walmsley came up with the idea for the corporate volunteer portal during the catastrophic 2020 bushfires with his team.
“We wanted to do something to help but the only option available to us at the time was donating money,” Walmsley said.
They adapted BenchOn’s existing portal – which digitally connects businesses to meet supply and demand for specialist talent, products and services – to enable companies to volunteer staff to support specific recovery efforts run by DRA.
The volunteer portal is the first of its kind, according to Walmsley, as it is designed to offer companies the opportunity to allocate staff time to particular causes both in person and online.
“Up until now, corporations wanting to do something directly to help during a disaster had the difficult task of having to find out who to register with and then figure out what exactly it could do,” Walmsley said.
“Now all the organisation has to do is register with DRA through the portal.
“It will be notified when opportunities to volunteer arise, and leaders can talk to staff about their availability to help."
According to DRA chief executive Geoff Evans, the new portal was a game-changer.
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“BenchOn’s platform enables us to mobilise corporate volunteer armies quickly and efficiently,” Evans said.
“We’ve seen how appreciative people in regional communities are when those from the city leave their homes to help, so we can’t wait to see this on a bigger scale.”
The DRA Industry Volunteer Portal will also benefit big business that want an easy way to highlight philanthropic work.
“It’s corporate social responsibility in action,” Evans added.
BenchOn’s platform has also designed with an option for businesses to be matched to paid contracts, linking commercial success and social responsibility together.
Walmsley hopes that BenchOn’s partnership with DRA would speed up the clean-up process for communities affected by disasters and help increase resiliency.
“By streamlining and automating the process, DRA will be able to ensure the people with the most appropriate skills are being sent to the places that need it most,” Walmsley said.
“There are so many communities that are still struggling from the bushfires, storms, let alone those hit by the recent Victorian earthquake.”
The former Army Major who served in Iraq and Afghanistan was drawn to DRA because of its work with veterans.
“DRA provides purpose after service for veterans transitioning out of the defence force by deploying them to regions where their unique skills and experiences can be utilised,” Walmsley added.
“We’re on a mission to help them become the predominant volunteer organisation in Australasia.”
To sign-up to the volunteer portal, visit www.dra.benchon.com.
Journalist – Defence and Security, Momentum Media
Nastasha is a Journalist at Momentum Media, she reports extensively across veterans issues, cyber security and geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific. Previously, she was a Content Producer at Verizon Media, a Digital Producer for Yahoo! 7 and Channel 7, a Digital Journalist at Sky News Australia, as well as a Website Manager and Digital Producer at SBS Australia. She started her career in media as a Video Producer and Digital News Presenter at News Corp Australia.