Different ways one can volunteer

In last Wednesday's report ("Intervening early 'could mean a world of difference' / Create avenues for volunteers to help"), Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin called for more people to volunteer, as some are reluctant to do so because of a lack of time and training.

Small pockets of time can make a difference. People can volunteer with an organisation or for a cause that they are passionate about, as this will spur them to set aside whatever time they can afford.

In the Individual Giving Survey 2014 by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre, 64 per cent of volunteers served occasionally - on average 15 hours over 12 months - rather than volunteer weekly or monthly.

By volunteering occasionally, busy people can still contribute to building a better community.

There are different ways one can volunteer. One example is skills-based volunteering, where one can contribute one's skills, such as in marketing, accounting, IT, photography or baking - individually or collectively with an organisation.

One can also take on informal volunteering, which exists outside of formal charitable organisations.

For instance, extending help to a neighbour or even a stranger in need at unexpected times, or helping a visually challenged person to navigate his or her way around are simple, random acts of kindness that make a difference.

As we celebrate Singapore turning 50, let us also remember that while we have progressed as a nation, true progress is coupled with a keen spirit to care, share and give to others and ourselves in building the community we live in.

Charlotte Goh (Ms)
Director of Advocacy
National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2015, with the headline 'Different ways one can volunteer'. Print Edition | Subscribe