• Nicola Smart

Using your skills for a worthy cause - Nicola's volunteering story

This week's volunteer interview goes behind the scenes with Nicola Smart, our Communications Manager who looks after the website, our social media channels and this blog! Her story is a little different from many of the other volunteers who work with Partner Housing, but shows the different ways volunteers can contribute their skills to a worthy cause.

How did you come to be involved with PHA?

I was introduced to Rod Johnston, President of PHA through a work colleague and former board member. PHA was in need of some help with their website and communications. I work in social sustainability however have some background in international aid development having been to Cambodia as part of an internship with an Australian aid charity, and was looking for an opportunity to again be involved in that area. PHA looked like a really terrific organisation doing great things with a small team, and I jumped at the chance to volunteer my skills for an organisation I could see aligned with my values.

What is the most fulfilling aspect of the work?

Identifying opportunities to improve how the organisation can operate and better tell is stories has been a big part of my time with PHA, and it's been really rewarding to see the impacts of this as we've improved our online presence and shared some really wonderful stories of our impact. Hearing from the other volunteers about the work they're carrying out and seeing how passionate they are about helping others is also a great part of the work. And creating the new website and seeing the finished product was definitely satisfying as well.

Are there any challenges you've found?

I haven't yet had the opportunity to travel to the communities we are working in myself, I hope I can do this one day in the future because then I could see the projects for myself! Right now I have to make sure I keep in touch with volunteers so I can get stories and photos from them as much as possible, otherwise there is no news to share!

What does the future hold for you? What are you excited about in the work being done with PHA?

I'm excited to continue building relationships with the other volunteers and brainstorm ways we can build up our storytelling, in the long run creating more engagement with PHA and inspiring more people to work with us. Volunteering is a wonderful way of giving back and I feel very proud I can use my skills to help out in such a way, so I hope to continue doing that and be a part of the ongoing work.



Nicola during a visit to Cambodia where she discovered a passion for international aid

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