ST Forum: How organisations can boost volunteerism

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How organisations can boost volunteerism

I have been a volunteer for more than two decades and want to share some observations about the volunteer experience in Singapore (Volunteers driven by difference they can make, first S’pore study on volunteerism finds, May 30).

I have noticed that in many cases, people are motived by personal circumstances to volunteer. A person could be inclined to help people with dementia and their caregivers because he has had first-hand experience with a loved one who has this condition, as was the case for me.

I would encourage that person to learn about the organisations that support this cause. 

Many people thinking about volunteering do not know how or where to start, and merely directing them to various websites is not always helpful. Trawling online could be a daunting task for some, and they may end up losing interest and giving up the idea. Talking to someone involved with an organisation or cause would be more useful. 

Some organisations need to work on how they respond to prospective volunteers. Some inquiries are not attended to for weeks, and even months. This would deter potential volunteers. 

Not-for-profit organisations should also pay attention to retaining volunteers, whose interests and priorities may vary and change. Meaningful strategies to keep volunteers need to be put in place. 

Showing appreciation to volunteers is also important. Getting the CEO of a charity group to thank volunteers at the end of an event goes a long way to acknowledging volunteers’ contributions.

In Singapore, there are many causes that are worth supporting as a volunteer. Although there are times when there are too many volunteers for certain groups or events, this should not dampen the fire of volunteerism.

Paul Heng


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