“A survey by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) has found that while students were enthusiastic about volunteering, adults were not so keen as their priorities have changed” (Students ‘Keen To Volunteer’, Channel News Asia).
The benefits of volunteerism are wholesome and meaningful; therefore, even though students remain passionate beyond the compulsory Community Involvement Programme (CIP) requirements – as highlighted in the news report “Students ‘Keen To Volunteer’” – the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) can do more to promote involvement beyond schools. Progressively, NVPC must begin to actively have young professionals engage in long-term engagements together with their companies, develop programmes to allow households or families to participate collectively, and expand Service-Learning’s (SL) sustainability to have students contribute even after graduation.
Developing Young Professionals
It was noted in the Individual Giving Survey executed by the NVPC that the number of individuals in the 20-to-24 age group and the 25-to-29 age group who volunteered in the past year is significantly less in comparison to those in the school-going age of between 15 and 19. Evidently, new platforms should be explored to have young Singaporeans volunteer their time and services. Many of these individuals contend that having to juggle their existing commitments – from work expectations to relationship pressures – makes it impossible to constructively do their part for their communities.
NVPC can address this common conundrum through the adoption of a two-pronged approach. First, by establishing partnerships with corporations, the organisation can customise volunteer programmes that go beyond traditional Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects – which revolve pedantically around financial sponsorships and one-dimensional awareness campaigns – employees can collectively undertake these hands-on endeavours. Second, role model contributors from different work backgrounds can share their volunteerism experiences on a well-publicised online medium to inspire and motivate young professionals in the long-run.
Involving Families And Students
Getting households or families to participate in community projects can be beneficial on a multitude of levels: heighten family bonding through grassroots activities, increase sensitivities and provide genuine help when working with voluntary welfare organisations (VWO), and most importantly, have their children develop the healthy habit of giving back to society from a young age. Following partnerships with the VWO, NVPC can reach out to this particular target group through community outreach efforts in different neighbourhoods, and even through school meetings as well.
Having students continue to contribute back in their alma maters – especially through the CIP and SL frameworks – would develop a healthy culture of sustainability, which would ensure that projects executed can either spiral upwards, or continue to function under the management of new students. NVPC’s volunteer arm, SG Cares, can also explore opportunities to match-make an assortment of SL initiatives – developments from different schools – to take advantage of economies of scale, through sharing conferences, seminars and online interactions. This would allow school-going youth to recognise the never-ceasing value of their work, and therefore encourage their passions and interest.