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Five ways to awhi community organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic

By Lani Evans, Vodafone Foundation and Sustainability Manager

COVID-19 and the rāhui o te motu (national lockdown) is hard on us all. The current situation is also exacerbating some of the existing inequalities in Aotearoa. So if, like me, you’re in a position of relative security and privilege, you might be thinking about ways you can help community organisations.

Here are five easy ways you can support.

1. Donate Money: Donate money to an organisation that has a connection to you and your hāpori (community). Cash donations allow organisations to set their own priorities – paying staff, keeping their doors open, moving their services online or purchasing the goods and services they need. At the Vodafone Foundation we’ve chosen to prioritise giving to community organisations that we already have a relationship with, and those who are providing essential and critical services to our rangatahi.

2. Spread your Social Capital: Now is a great time to use your social channels for social good. Amplify the voices of community organisations – help to celebrate their wins, help them connect to people and resources they need, and share stories of their work. It’s particularly important to get behind community organisations when they’re advocating for policy changes that will positively impact the most vulnerable members of our communities.

3. Volunteer: Some folks are busier than usual right now, and others have unexpected time on their hands. If you’re in the latter category, think about what unique skills you can contribute to community organisations. This might look like tech support, grant writing, mentoring, risk analysis, or helping organisations pivot to navigate our current reality. Contact intermediary organisations, like your local Volunteer Centre, HelpTank or the Student Volunteer Army. They’ll help connect you to organisations who can make use of your skills, without burdening frontline workers with your very well-intentioned queries.

4. Give blood: Giving blood is an essential service and the blood bank is in need, so if you are willing and able, this is a practical, tangible and (relatively) easy way to contribute.

5. Donate goods: If you’ve got goods to giveaway that’s great! But make sure those items can be of use to organisations right now. With no face-to-face contact and strictly limited distribution channels, community organisations may struggle to pass goods on to the people they work with, so approach with caution.

Finally, connect with the people in your immediate neighbourhood. There is an opportunity to the lockdown to flex your hāpori development muscles: put a teddy bear in your window; set up a WhatsApp group for your street; wave enthusiastically as you pass people from a distance, or simply practice being generous with yourself.

Stay safe and kia kaha whānau!

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