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Making it Happen in the Community

In May 2010 two of New Zealand’s top voluntary groups took to the big screen as stars of Volunteer Power, a new series on TVNZ6.

During the year 25 more amazing voluntary groups are going to be profiled and celebrated through this series.  

So when asked about what TrustPower’s Community Relations team does – well, we made that happen.  

Of course inspirational voluntary groups make up the majority of the recipe for that success, however it is TrustPower’s Community Awards programme that provides the platform on which these voluntary groups are celebrated and recognised.  

Spread throughout the country our four person Community Relations team works within the communities where we operate to forge relationships, build brand awareness and create positive profile for the Company. But we don’t see our job requirements in exactly those words. We just see that we are representing a company which chooses to be a responsible and active participant in society.  

My role involves coordinating TrustPower’s community support activities, the largest of which is TrustPower’s Community Awards programme. Over the last 16 years the Community Awards has grown from one single Award into a programme now run in 24 regions around New Zealand and which culminates in the TrustPower National Community Awards.  

An average day sees us working directly with members of our communities. We could be hitting the streets promoting the Awards, facilitating the tough job of judging Awards or hosting Community Awards events.   

Some days see us behind the computer screen, doing the little things that need to be done to ensure the Community Awards and our other community support activities run seamlessly. A major focus over the last year has been working closely with Rotary Club members on the West Coast and in Central Otago to establish a TrustPower Lend A Hand Foundation in each of these regions.  

Rather than coming from the “we’ll just send a banner” school of sponsorship, TrustPower takes an active involvement in all our community support activities. As a result our team is well known and warmly welcomed into the communities in which TrustPower operates and our activities are well supported.  

In the last year alone more than 1,150 voluntary groups and organisations have been recognised through the TrustPower Community Awards programme, with around 350 groups taking home a TrustPower Award to prove it.  

Over the last year we have also recognised 24 special young volunteers who tirelessly give to their school and community through the inaugural TrustPower Youth Community Spirit Award.  

This recognition makes a huge difference to these volunteers – it empowers them to continue, provides them with a mechanism to promote their work, and gives them an opportunity to create networks and relationships with other groups. Many voluntary groups also find that due to the growing national recognition of the TrustPower Community Awards programme, having a TrustPower Community Award on their CV improves their chances of future funding.  

It is this national recognition of the TrustPower programme, and how it is unearthing stories of real and inspirational Kiwis, that attracted TVNZ6 to join us in our crusade to recognise volunteers. Now, thanks to a partnership between TVNZ6 and TrustPower, Volunteer Power is on air and telling the stories of the voluntary groups discovered through the TrustPower Community Awards.  

So when people ask what we do, I admit it can be hard to quantify. It’s not just PR or community relations, and we are certainly not just company spokespeople. We are TrustPower personified – living and breathing the TrustPower values in the communities in where we operate. But I do admit, if people have to fit us into a box somewhere, we just say we have the best PR job in the country!