SINGAPORE, 11 APRIL 2023 – Findings from the Social Service Sector Survey on Volunteer Management (VM) conducted by the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) in 2022 revealed that social service agencies (SSAs) with VM practices were twice as likely to retain enough high-quality volunteers to meet organisational needs as compared to those without. NCSS, together with the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), organised the inaugural Singapore VM Conference today, to showcase trends and best practices in VM.
The conference brought together more than 1,600 participants (on-site and online) from the public, people and private sectors to learn about emerging trends in volunteerism, the importance of data and digitalisation in VM, among other topics. This includes the VM community from the non-profit organisations (NPOs) in the social service, sports and arts sectors, among others, as well as corporates and community partners.
Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin shared his views on the important role that volunteers play in Singapore. The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has designated 2023 as the Year of Celebrating Social Service Partners. MSF, together with NCSS, seeks to recognise the integral contributions of partners from within and beyond the social service sector, to build strong families, resilient individuals, and a caring society. NCSS works closely with NPOs to build VM capability
Volunteers play an important role to augment the manpower capacity in the non-profit sector, while providing a stronger support system for those in need. NCSS has been working closely with NPOs, particularly those in the social service sector, to build strong VM processes and systems. In doing so, NPOs will be able to deliver better services to their users, while enhancing their own capability and capacity.
NCSS’ 2022 Survey also indicated that more than 70% of SSAs agreed/strongly agreed that having dedicated volunteer managers led to an improvement in volunteers’ experience. Filos Community Services is an example of a social service agency that serves individuals and families, and operates the SG Cares Volunteer Centre @ Bedok with its team of dedicated volunteer managers. Through regular appreciation, communication and showcasing of their volunteers in newsletters and social media, Filos has enhanced the quality of volunteer experience, with 96% of their volunteers rating high volunteer satisfaction levels of 8 and above on a scale of 0 to 10. Volunteer Resource Hub provides useful VM resources to organisations
The Volunteer Resource Hub is a one-stop portal with VM resources, created by NCSS in partnership with the SG Cares Office, which are relevant to organisations across different sectors to strengthen their ability to engage volunteers. The Hub contains resources including VM Toolkit 2.0, Learning and Development Roadmap and the Volunteer Role Redesign Guide.
Catholic Welfare Services (CWS) is one that has made use of these resources and leveraged technology to strengthen its VM processes. CWS has about 500 staff, and more than 500 volunteers, out of which around 200 are active volunteers. With a centralised VM system and clear volunteer role descriptions, key responsibilities, and desired volunteer profiles, CWS saw an 87% increase in total number of volunteers from 2020 to 2022.
Strong VM practices are also relevant to businesses in ensuring that their corporate social responsibility efforts are impactful and sustainable. CapitaLand, for instance, provides its staff with three days of volunteer service leave (VSL) and has expanded its leave policy to include volunteer no-pay leave and volunteer part-time leave. To support its staff in their volunteerism efforts, CapitaLand’s philanthropic arm, CapitaLand Hope Foundation, donates to a charity of the staff’s choice if the staff utilises all three days of VSL within the year.