5 years ago, we took stock of the contribution of volunteers within our organisation. We wanted a metric to monitor our progress in harnessing the inherent goodwill within our community to scale our work. Instead of meeting needs by proliferating professional helping services, we invited the involvement of volunteers into the lives of those we supported. This was in the spirit of our community development approach where a social issue was not just a problem to be eradicated but an opportunity for people from different backgrounds to cooperate toward a common good.
So, for a start we looked at the staff to volunteer ratio. We discovered that in 2013, an estimated 2000 volunteers contributed 20 out of every 100 hours of work. Hence, with this awareness we managed to make some headway by improving the volunteer side of the ratio to 31 hours the following year. Today the ratio is 60:100 and our current goal is for volunteer hours to match that of the staff. Staying on this course will in the longer run keep our operating budget viable but it is not just about financial sustainability. When, the friendships volunteers bring are built on mutuality, they help narrow the social divide in a meaningful way for those we support.
Many of these friendships whether organisation to organisation or people to people do last. Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML) has also been the main sponsor of Fairground for All, a carnival for our children and families that first began in 2015. This year’s edition will be held tomorrow from 10 am to 2 pm at the Ngee Ann Polytechnic Sports Complex and it will be another memorable experience for some 150 families and the 300 volunteers who put it together.
Fairground for All brings people together as a community and tomorrow we will be launching a phone app to help us better capture the community building efforts of all our volunteers. This SMART solution is another contribution by the volunteers from BofAML and to help our operating efficiency, we invite you to download it as well. It is free from Google Play or the App Store and more importantly, it is a significant gesture to be in touch with a community that we care about and are building together.
Enjoy your weekend.
Sustainable solutions based on innovation can create a more resilient world only if that innovation is focused on the health and well-being of its inhabitants. And it is at that point – where technology and human needs intersect – that we will find meaningful innovation. – Frans van Houten