To more effectively address the requests of communities seeking volunteers Palms needs to evolve. Again! Without Government funding we can only maintain a small staff able to send around 14 volunteers per year and sustain no more than 25 in the field. I write to:
1) Seek your assistance with strategic changes to manage in the medium term and
2) Seek your cooperation with strategies to restructure Solidarity Volunteering in the longer-term.
1) The Medium Term:
a) We again need to prioritise volunteer placements in communities who can cover the airfares, insurance, accommodation and a small stipend or living allowance. To assist Timorese communities who cannot cover such costs we will ask those taking a Palms Encounter to commit to fundraising in their Australian communities on their return.
b) Volunteers will need to assist raise funds in their Australian communities to cover the cost of the support Palms provides during their preparation, in the field and upon return home.
c) Bishops are being asked to add the cost of preparing volunteers from their dioceses to the cost they currently cover for the re-entry program for volunteers returning to their dioceses.
d) A contribution from you is needed to cover our organisational and field visit costs so we can continue to fortify the partner relationships and properly scope potential placements.
2) The Longer term
I have started conversations about a whole church engagement in the mobilisation of volunteers for mission and development in Australia as well as overseas. I believe there is an opportunity not only to address a significantly greater number of needs in requesting communities, but also to influence the values of Australians so as to more effectively inspire mutual human development and solidarity.
We will ask various parties to prepare papers for a round table discussion in Sydney on April 10, 2015, followed by workshops for interested others to react to the ideas presented.
The outcomes of the longer term strategy will take maybe two or three years to be realised, over which time it is important that we continue to meet the many requests for Palms volunteers. As a supporter you know more than most the importance of Palms’ organisational strength in achieving successful placement outcomes.
As we approach the end of this financial year I ask that you please contribute as much as you are able, so that we can plan a budget to ensure this is maintained in the year ahead.
To donate, please visit https://palms.org.au/donate/ or call Palms on 02 9518 9551.
In love, peace and solidarity,