“People may think that in order for volunteering to be valuable, they must give in a very direct and physical manner and that the act of “raising awareness” is minor and insignificant. It may feel trivial to just click share or ‘like’ a post. It may seem small to perform an instant act of simple engagement that amplifies our work, but the cumulative impact can be immense for us. While it’s not a numbers game, making more people aware of our organisation and how they can volunteer with us strengthens the depth of the work.
Every month I mass-email our Volunteer Bulletin, a newsletter publicising our volunteering and involvement opportunities to registered volunteers and partners of Beyond. Usually, that’s a sufficient call to action to propel people into our programmes. But when a request is more specific, such as calling for volunteers with particular skillsets, the response is slower. What surprised me was a group of Singapore Management University (SMU) students writing in to offer volunteering support for our programmes. After getting in touch with them, I learned that SMU has a student portal where they further broadcast the opportunities on our Volunteer Bulletin, operating as an additional channel I was looking for to garner a wider reach. Of course, the students confessed that volunteering was part of fulfilling their Community Service Project criteria, but I am still grateful because the volunteers from SMU have eagerly and unfailingly put their hearts into our programmes.
Rendering help, even with the best intentions, only truly helps when it is relevant to our communities’ desires and aspirations. The expression of interest and quality of volunteers from the school has been consistent, and it heartens me to hear from colleagues about the students’ sustained involvement in the lives of our children and youth beyond the period of their Community Service Project. Our communities are all the better for their efforts. It started from simply raising awareness within their student body of our volunteering requests by SMU’s Centre for Social Responsibility (C4SR) team. They are a silent partner who has helped our organisation instill a spirit of volunteerism in a larger community we otherwise would not have access to.
We have also established a good relationship with the Volunteer Centre at Kreta Ayer, which is run by New Hope Community Services. We have a unique role in the area they serve, where many social service agencies are serving the elderly and we are one of the few organisations that serve children and youth. If Beyond receives resources we may not need, I check in with them to see if it can be redistributed to agencies who have better use for it. They also check in with me if Beyond is in need of volunteers.
These are just some examples of how we, our partners and other agencies have mutually supported each other. We understand each other’s roles in the system. We are here to support each other and we’re not fighting each other for resources. There is strength in solidarity and mobilising the wider community to support our communities’ efforts.”
– Jeramy, Community Worker, Volunteer Management
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