Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) funded an initiative in 2011 to conduct a marketing campaign to attract Italian and Chinese speaking volunteers for Meals on Wheels and Community Transport service in the following regions: Sydney City, Inner West and South West regions.

This was part of a larger project investigating ways to attract and retain people from culturally and linguistically (CALD) diverse backgrounds.

This project was funded by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) in the form of a Positive Ageing Applied Research Grant. The project was conducted as a collaborative effort between the University of New South Wales (UNSW; lead on research components), the NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service (MHCS); lead on social marketing component) and the Council for The Aged (COTA; lead on recommendation development).

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  • To examine motivations and barriers to volunteering in older Italian and Chinese Australians using both qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • To develop and implement recommendations to increase volunteering in culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) older persons, and to develop and evaluate a social marketing campaign to increase volunteering in older Italian and Chinese Australians.

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Target Audience

Italian and Chinese community members over 50 years old

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Stage 1: Focus groups were run with older Chinese and Italian volunteers and non-volunteers. These showed that in general, motivations and barriers to volunteering were similar for older CALD persons as for the general community. Motivations were both altruistic (e.g. wanting to help others) and self-beneficial (e.g. maintaining own mental health). Major barriers were lack of time, poor physical health and in some groups, transport difficulties.

Stage 2: Surveys were conducted with 199 older Chinese speakers and 64 older Italian speakers. These confirmed the results of the focus groups. The surveys also provided feedback regarding brand recognition of partner organisations and the attractiveness of draft print advertisements.

Stage 3: An advisory group contributed to the development of recommendations regarding recruitment and retention of older CALD volunteers. Key recommendations include that organisations are culturally competent, that English language proficiency required of the volunteer be specified and assessed, and that there is a paid bilingual volunteer coordinator for the CALD volunteers.
Stage 4: A marketing campaign was developed based on lessons learned from stages 1-3. Key aspects of the campaign included preparing partner organisations to better work with older CALD volunteers, refining promotional messages and developing promotional material. Paid (newsprint and radio) and unpaid (editorials, community talks, radio) advertising were used. A major issue identified was that some organisations did not have the language capabilities to work with volunteers with limited English.

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Promotional Material


Useful Links for CALD Volunteering Project


For more information please contact MHCS on T. 02 87535047.

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