Q&A with the Salvos Stores Volunteer Program Manager


Salvos Stores relies on our amazing volunteers to function as we do. Have you ever thought about who looks after our ‘vollies’? We have a whole team! Today we’re talking to the Volunteer Program Manager who heads up the team that organise and looks after all of our volunteers on a day to day basis. Introducing, Steve Cassar.

What brought you to working at Salvos Stores?

I have been very fortunate enough to work with some large corporate retailers and after 28 years I decided it was time for me to give back to the community by working in the not for profit sector.

After a successful tenure for approximately 3 years at the Australian Red Cross as General Manager Retail Operations, I decided to explore opportunities with The Salvation Army, as their work has always been a real inspiration to me.

How long have you been with us?

I have been with Salvos Stores for nearly 2 years.

Describe a typical day at work for you.

A typical day for me would be best described as organised chaos as there are so many facets to this unique role!

My absolute focus is to best support our number one client – our fabulous store teams which of course includes our amazing volunteer workforce.

A “typical day” can include – answering calls form store teams and providing appropriate advice, organising Work For The Dole placements with job providers, supporting volunteer traineeships, supporting and providing advice to Area Managers and Store Managers, responding to volunteer applications, working with suppliers and contractors, working with various government agencies on various projects etc.

What’s your Favourite part of working with Salvos Stores?

My favourite part of my job is, my contribution goes towards to help the vulnerable who are less fortunate than me.

I had the honour and privilege of meeting Major Brendon Nottle nearly 2 years ago where I got to witness first -hand the amazing work of The Salvation Army .The Salvation Army Café at 69 Bourke Street for the vulnerable has left an everlasting impression in my life.

Describe your job in 3 words:

  1. Exhilarating
  2. Challenging
  3. Rewarding

Do you have any funny/interesting stories from your time with Salvos Stores?

It was early January 2015, 37 degrees (felt like 45 degrees) and I was doing a store support day (glutton for punishment) at our Mount Eliza store, where the stockroom was filled to the brim with donations.

On this particular day there was the assistant manager, one volunteer, heaps of customers and me! The Volunteer held the fought at the register, the Assistant Manager was filling the store with much needed stock and I was sorting the piles from the back.

I thought to myself, this won’t be hard, I will get stuck in and within an hour of sorting the stock we will be all good. An hour passed by and so did nine car loads of donations, and by now it felt like 60 degrees!

Well I thought to myself I have had worse than this; I will have this sorted within an hour. An hour passed by and you guessed it, more cars and now even trailers were coming in thick and fast and the stock was spilling outside!

Four hours later I celebrated with a roar, as I could finally see some of the floor in the backroom! Boy did I have a good night sleep that night!

What has been your most rewarding moment?

Very difficult question, however I would have to say seeing our first group of volunteers receive their traineeship certificates at our Rowville Victoria store recently – knowing I had a small part to play in putting the program together, and seeing the volunteers work so hard over 6 months to complete the course was a thrill to me personally.

On a personal level receiving The Manager of The Year Award for 2015, was one of my proudest moments with Salvos Stores, especially when I am so fortunate to work amongst so many professional and dedicated team members.

What’s the last thing a customer said to you?

“I just love coming here, the staff and volunteers are always smiling and there is always something interesting to buy” – Rowville Customer

Thanks so much for chatting with us Steve!

Volunteer Team Photo
The Volunteer Program Team: Steph, Kanako & Steve

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