It’s often the work of people behind the scenes that is crucial to an appeal’s success.
For the last 10 years, current-serving Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2) Darryl Sanders has been supporting the annual ANZAC and Poppy Appeals by coordinating the volunteer effort from Victoria Barracks.
Military and civilian staff from the Barracks generously volunteer their time to sell badges in the city centre, helping to raise much-needed funds for the RSL’s ongoing support of the Defence, and ex-service community.
His connection to the RSL began, as he said, ‘a long time ago.’
“It started when I was a cadet in high school and began getting involved in the Appeals for the RSL. Then, when I joined the army, I made having links to different RSLs throughout my postings a priority. I always tried to be a member of the local Sub-Branch that I was posted near. I’ve always been connected.”
Darryl believes in the work of the RSL and is a champion of its cause.
"If there are current and ex-serving men or women that need assistance, the RSL will do whatever it can to help."
Warrant Officer Class Two Darryl Sanders
Of course, much of that help comes from RSL Victoria’s two annual Appeals – the ANZAC and Poppy Appeals - both of which raise much-needed funds to support the RSL’s mission.
What may seem like an effortless process in fact takes months of planning, organising and liaising.
For the last decade, Darryl has generously risen to the occasion, helping to take the Appeals to the next level.
Peter Smith OAM is RSL Victoria’s Fundraising Manager.
“Darryl’s enthusiasm is infectious; he is able to secure volunteers from all ranks within Victoria Barracks and Defence Plaza in Melbourne. The financial results are a testament to the success of his work. Darryl is very quick to deflect credit away from himself and onto the many people he has convinced to volunteer.”
As someone who is highly organised and self-motivated, Darryl has dedicated countless hours to recruiting, training, supervising and mobilising volunteers.
“Volunteers just want everything to be as easy as possible. They want to turn up, volunteer and go about their lives again. So, I felt that it needed to be organised so that could happen. I wanted people to come along, do their shift, get back to work and feel good about what they’ve done.”
Darryl is humble, but the statistics speak for themselves.
When he started, he had up to 20 volunteers at most. The most recent ANZAC Appeal saw 104 volunteers from Victoria Barracks, including the participation of serving members, civilians and Defence senior leadership. He hopes there will be even more for the Poppy Appeal later this year.
Peter Smith said thanks largely to Darryl’s exceptional efforts to grow the volunteer network have led to significant results.
"The funds raised have increased 10-fold, providing a vital boost to the RSL Appeals so that we can continue to help veterans and their families when they need our support."
“Strong relationships have been forged between senior ADF members and the RSL and a strong and useful link between the volunteers and the RSLs has been created,” said Peter.
An Australian Defence Force spokesperson said WO2 Sanders’ efforts has also bolstered community relations.
“The regular participation of uniformed members at public charity events arranged by WO2 Sanders has significantly increased the number of positive engagements between Defence personnel and the public, greatly enhancing the reputation of Defence in the community.”
Darryl said it’s a win-win.
“The public need to be able to see us on the streets and come up and talk to us. This also benefits our members because people come up and thank them for their service and engage with them. A lot of the volunteers come back with stories of the good people that they’ve met and the stories they’ve shared about their family connections to service.”
Peter Smith said Darryl and the ADF’s support to sell appeals badges on the streets of Melbourne is and always has been very much appreciated.