Australian Red Cross: a new community outreach program


Nailed the context and opportunity it presented to use corporate volunteer resources to maximum effect, despite hugely challenging circumstances”


  • 83% of those who received a phone call said that they saw an overall improvement in their wellness due to COVID CONNECT
  • 89% said COVID CONNECT was just what they needed right now and that it’s important to have someone to
    talk to
  • Corporate partner volunteers were involved in making the calls and rated their experience highly satisfying and said that it would make them more likely to volunteer again in the future


  • Australian Red Cross is building a better society based on people helping people. Supplying relief in times of crisis and care when it’s needed most. CBRE is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm.
  • When COVID first hit in Australia, CBRE and their employees wanted to know how they could help. They were looking for employee engagement opportunities to enable their employees to have direct touchpoints with their humanitarian work and those Australians they were supporting during the pandemic.
  • Australian Red Cross knew many Australians were feeling scared and lonely and they knew that good social connections are essential for all aspects of their physical and mental wellbeing. As such, they implemented COVID CONNECT.
  • Through a one-off or regular phone call, volunteers and clients were able to have a friendly chat to help maintain or improve social connection and reduce the stress of isolation until normal patterns of social interaction could be restored.
  • The calls were made by trained volunteers from their corporate partner CBRE. The training and calls were made from the safety of the employee’s home. Volunteers could nominate the day or days they were available to make phone calls to those who had signed up via their website or through referrals. The calls were approximately 10 to 15 minutes and provided a one-off chat or a regular connection.
  • Australian Red Cross is aware that disasters can happen all year round and that help is needed to scale up quickly. The pandemic has also shown the interconnections of everyone and every industry. The organisation believes that we need to leverage the power of humanity to support one another through disasters, events and pandemics.