‘Rock’ of the office driven to help others

Described as the ‘Rock’ of the Oasis office, Erin Donnelly, an ex-chief clerk in the Army, had plenty to keep her busy and happy but felt there was room for volunteering to be a part of her retirement.

Erin joined The Oasis Townsville, a referral and support hub, in 2018, an appointment she describes as ‘natural and fitting’ considering her strong connection to the ADF. Enthusiastic and professional, she soon became pivotal in bringing the organisation closer to their objectives in her role as Volunteer Manager.

In order to better understand the nuances of volunteer management, Erin took on professional development and a secondment with another volunteering organisation early on. This created a solid foundation for The Oasis Townsville to manage the incoming flux of volunteers.

After spending long hours creating policy and procedure, organising the office, developing the Service Directory, being a warm and supportive leader, Erin has had the biggest role of any of the Oasis Townsville volunteers outside the board of directors. Besides her volunteer management role, Erin takes on whatever tasks need completing. The Oasis Townsville Chairman shares “it is often hard to describe in traditional terms what her job is given she does so much to keep the entire operation running and everyone knows it!”

Erin said, “Whilst I gained many skills during my working life, I believe there is always something new to learn or a skill to improve on. I particularly like volunteering with people who have the same drive to do what they can to help others. Giving back to the community by volunteering my time is very rewarding. Every little bit of time you give goes towards making a difference for all of us.”

To anyone considering volunteering, Erin said, “Give it a go. It is very rewarding and worthwhile and a bit different to working in paid employment. Also, give some thought to why you want to volunteer and with which organisation. It is important to ensure your volunteer experience is a good one. You can always change where and with whom you volunteer if it’s not a fit for you. Spread the love as I tend to say!”

Erin was nominated and shortlisted for the Heart of Volunteering Award at the 2020 NQ Volunteer of the Year Virtual Awards.

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