The heart of business: U Ethical’s community commitment pays dividends.


May 16, 2024

For the team at U Ethical, simply offering volunteer days in their volunteering policy wasn’t sufficient.

“Having paid volunteer days in your policy isn’t enough. You need to actually action things and move them along. Many companies have a volunteering policy but team members never use it,” said U Ethical Executive Assistant, Alex.

“It needs to be pushed internally. Companies need to organise it.

“Luckily, our CEO, Mat, was very keen to have this executed. There is definitely a need for someone at leadership level championing it.”

As one of Australia’s largest dedicated ethical investment managers and a social enterprise of the Uniting Church, giving back to the community through volunteering was an obvious choice for U Ethical.

“As a sibling institution of the Uniting Church and knowing the great work Uniting does to support those experiencing vulnerability, it was perfectly logical for U Ethical’s team to volunteer with Uniting,” said U Ethical’s Chief Executive Officer, Mathew Browning.

“We are very grateful for the opportunity to support Uniting’s work in our small way. Volunteering provides a natural avenue for our team members to serve the broader community in a meaningful way.”

To pull this perk from their policy and into practice, Alex organised a fortnightly volunteer roster, pairing colleagues with someone they might not typically work within the office.

“I believe the pairings have made for better connections and it has helped teams integrate more,” said Alex.

Teams volunteered at Uniting’s emergency relief centre in Prahran, delivering food to those in the community seeking food relief.

“Every recipient was extremely grateful to receive the assistance of food supplies.” said Alex.

“It’s overwhelming to see the need and how thankful people are when you do provide that support. Community support is very rewarding.”

“Despite the vicissitudes of life, most of us are very fortunate to live relatively comfortable and productive lives. Volunteering provides an opportunity for team members to look outside ‘the bubble’ and appreciate the needs of the broader community,” added Mat.

Mat and Alex encourage other businesses to consider implementing paid volunteer days.

“I absolutely encourage other businesses to volunteer,” said Alex.

“It’s certainly worthwhile for companies to get behind, even if they can only offer one day per year. We have had only positive feedback from the team.”

Mat added, “Volunteering is often seen as part of the soft stuff in business. But it has tangible business benefits in improving team engagement and cohesion.”

Learn more about volunteering at Uniting.

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