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Volunteer spotlight: Maddy Lynch from supporter services

Photo: Maddy Lynch

My name is Maddy and I have been volunteering in the Supporter Services team since November 2013. 

Supporter Service volunteers assist the Supporter Services Unit in helping to answer basic telephone queries; make outgoing calls informing new donors about Oxfam’s work; process general donations; update supporter details on the database system which ensures we can contact our supporters efficiently and other, necessary, administrative support.

Why volunteer?

My interest in human rights and compassion for those living in extreme poverty has always been present by virtue of the family in which I was brought up. This interest grew to a passion during my first year of university in 2009, through my studies on the Bosnian wars, the Apartheid and Civil Rights movement.

This passion to end was fostered through an overseas volunteering experience in Ghana. The level of poverty in the remote communities was something I could only have imagined. The lack of access to food was very confronting but continued to spur my interest in the injustices that exist around the world, and more importantly the organisations that work to alleviate poverty and the injustice of starvation.

Why Oxfam?

While I have followed the work and donated to Oxfam for years, my time as a volunteer in Supporter Services began a comparatively short time ago. Oxfam was preparing for the surge of supporters coming out for Christmas appeals like Oxfam Unwrapped and Christmas trees with volunteer recruitment.

The high level of esteem and admiration that I had for Oxfam and the work they do resulted in soaring excitement when called to come in to help. I quickly called my mum and family members saying “Guess what? I’m going to volunteer for Oxfam!” Yep that’s right, I was over the moon by being given the opportunity to volunteer in such an organisation!

What do you do exactly?

My time since then has been a wide variety of tasks. Every day is different.

The summer months were spent answering calls from supporters who made donations or inquries to the Oxfam Shop summer catalogue and Unwrapped cards. It’s always a great feeling when supporters remind you of the great work that Oxfam is doing, congratulating you for being a part of it, and having the opportunity to thank them too.

All the while, volunteers are invited into presentations as if they were any other staff member. The presentations can be about overseas assignments, budgets, upcoming campaigns, anything and everything really.

Assisting with National Close the Gap Day was so rewarding, and also a lot of fun. The other volunteers and I chatted away as we organised the thousands of supporter event packs being sent out to every state around the nation. The level of support for such a great cause was overwhelming. Of course on the actual day, it was great to go down to the park with the Supporter Services team and hear talks on the need to close the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

I have been told that as we move toward the end of the financial year Supporter Services will have supporters eager to donate to Oxfam. I’m eager to see what I bet will be an exciting couple of months. I hope I have the opportunity to learn even more about Oxfam and the work that they do.

Guest blogger: Maddy Lynch, Supporter Services Volunteer