Wellbeing Project

The Wellbeing Project – gaining a deeper understanding of the benefits of DRA’s volunteering program on the wellbeing of our members and enhancing the volunteer experience. 

Does volunteering make you happier and improve your wellbeing? 

Members of Disaster Relief Australia (DRA) tell us it does, and we want to understand this more.  

Members of Disaster Relief Australia (DRA) feel that helping others through volunteering gives them a sense of purpose, and in some cases, it has literally saved their lives. It’s not the reason why they volunteer, but they know that somehow, they’re better for it. According to Joep van Agteren, Lead Researcher of DRA’s Wellbeing Project, this ‘feel good’ factor is backed by research which shows that: 

“Happier people volunteer more and people who volunteer more are happier”.  

What is the Wellbeing Project?  

Through the Wellbeing Project, DRA seeks to validate the benefits of its volunteering program and identify opportunities for improvement. The project includes surveys and informal interviews to be completed by members at key touchpoints including onboarding, training, deployment and routinely over a 12-month period.  

What will happen to the surveys?  

Our research partner, the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) will collate the information from the surveys to formally assess DRA’s volunteering program to determine the benefits of the program and identify opportunities for improvement.  

How long will it take?  

The Wellbeing Project is taking place over two and a half years from December 2021 to May 2024.  

Where is the funding coming from?  

Funding for the project has been secured through our funding partner Movember; a charity organisation focused on men’s health issues. For the rigidity of validating and improving DRA’s program (for all volunteers), both men and women will be included in the Wellbeing Project 

Why is the Wellbeing Project being conducted?  

DRA hears from our members that volunteering with DRA has significant and long-lasting benefits on their wellbeing. We want to understand this more and, through the Wellbeing Project, DRA aims to gain a deeper understanding of the benefits of our volunteering program on the wellbeing of our members. The project also aims to identify opportunities to improve the volunteering program in order to enhance the volunteering experience.

Executive Project Sponsor Geoff Evans – Introduction to Wellbeing Project

How will we do it?

1. Wellbeing Snapshot Surveys  

Completed at the time of deployments and specific training events. 

2. Wellbeing Long-Term Surveys  

Commencing in August 2022, surveys will be sent to members to be completed every 3 months, over a 12-month period. 

3. Face-to-face Interviews and Focus Groups  

In-person interviews and focus groups will be held from May 2023.   

The Wellbeing Project will be underpinned by DRA’s core values of courage, mateship, endurance, service, tenacity and respect to ensure the integrity of the organisation and project are represented at every opportunity with project stakeholders 

We need your help

We would greatly appreciate your participation in our Wellbeing Project through completion of the surveys and / or taking part in the face-to-face interviews and focus groups.  Please keep an eye on your email for notification of when these activities will occur. 

For more information please contact Cindy Wadsworth, the Project Manager for the Wellbeing Project via email at  cindy.wadsworth@disasterreliefaus.org  or phone on 0421 307 641.

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Why does DRA want me to complete the Wellbeing Surveys and Wellbeing Chat Sessions?

DRA has a lot of feedback from volunteers to show that participating in our volunteering program is beneficial for volunteer wellbeing We want to understand that more so we’re partnering with Movember (our funding partner) and SAHMRI (our research partner) to take further steps to better understand the benefits you get from participating in our program, so we can support future growth of our tribe and improve the program where needed 

Do all volunteers have to participate?

No. You can choose to opt-out of the Wellbeing Surveys when you receive your first email or SMS reminder; however, we strongly recommend that all invited members participate, so that we can get a sense of how they are feeling about their DRA participation and wellbeing. 

How do I sign-up to the Wellbeing Surveys?

Long-Term Surveysevery DRA volunteer will be automatically enrolled into the 12-month Wellbeing Surveys, which will be sent at baseline, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months. When you receive your first survey link you can choose to opt-out if you do not want to participate.

Snapshot Surveyswhen you complete an EOI for deployment and/or some training opportunities you will automatically be enrolled into the Wellbeing SurveyWhen you receive your first survey link you can choose to opt-out if you do not want to participate. 

How do I participate in the Wellbeing Chat Sessions and Focus Groups?

Invitations to participate in the Wellbeing Chat Sessions and Focus Groups will be sent to individuals following deploymentIf you particularly want to take part in a Wellbeing Chat Session or Focus Group please register your interest with the Project Manager, Cindy Wadsworth via email at cindy.wadsworth@disasterreliefaus.org  

Can all DRA Members participate in the Wellbeing Project?

Yes, all DRA member will be invited to participate in the Wellbeing Project 

What will happen to my responses and data?

Surveys are completed through SAHMRI’s Be Well Tracker and your responses will be sent directly to SAHMRI so they can assess the impact of DRA’s Volunteering Program on volunteer wellbeing.   

SAHMRI will report deidentified data to DRA for the purpose of sharing their analysis of our volunteering program.  SAHMRI will not provide DRA with the detail of any individual responses. 

All information gathered via the Be Well Tracker will be stored on secured servers owned by Microsoft Azure Platform as a Service (PaaS) cloud infrastructure. All exported data will be placed on password protected pc’s and laptops owed by either SAHMRI or Flinders (who are supporting the research team).  

Who will be able to see my responses?
DRA will have details on who enrolled to participate in the Wellbeing Surveys but not who is actually completing the surveys nor their results.

Any data directly identifying survey participants is only available to the participant themselves and audited executives within SAHMRI’s research team.

How will the volunteering program be assessed?

The Wellbeing Pulse Check consists of three main elements being:

  1. Wellbeing Snapshot Surveys
  2. Wellbeing Long-Term Surveys
  3. Wellbeing Chat Sessions

SAHMRI will use standardised and substantiated questions, that have been used in a number of Australian wellbeing studies, as the basis for the Wellbeing Surveys and Chat Sessions.

Why should I get involved?
The benefits of the Wellbeing Pulse Check will impact all DRA members. Through our partnership with SAHMRI we seek to better understand the benefits that you get from DRA’s volunteering program and to improve it where needed.

We can only achieve our goal with your help.

What is the Most Tenacious Team Challenge?
The Most Tenacious Team Challenge is a team incentive offered to the team with the highest percentage participation in round one of the long-term Wellbeing Surveys. Each DRT Manager has nominated a prize for their team, based on their knowledge of their team and what will assist in boosting awareness of, and participation in completing the Wellbeing Surveys.
Why is a team incentive being offered?
We have ambitious targets for engagement of DRA Members into the project, in order to ensure the research team can draw accurate conclusions from the data collected. Creating a team challenge to incentivise participation is known to boost participation in surveys and help achieve better outcomes for research.
I’ve still got more questions – who do I talk to?
If you have further questions, please contact Cindy via email at cindy.wadsworth@disasterreliefaus.org or phone on 0421307641.