Don't forget the long-term volunteers

It was reported that more people are giving their time to volunteering, although in shorter periods (Kampung spirit revival as more volunteer informally; March 16). While this is a good thing, we should also not forget the contributions of long-term volunteers (Benefits in long-term volunteering by Samaritans of Singapore; March 20).

Many long-term volunteers have been left in a state of limbo by the organisations they once served. Some of these volunteers I have spoken to say their organisations have not contacted them for quite a while.

Why is this the case? Are the activities they volunteered in no longer relevant and been discontinued? Or was there a major reorganisation and the newer officers in charge are not familiar with the long-term volunteers?

Some long-term volunteers have served their organisations for a quarter to a third of their lives. Their loyalty should be recognised.

They can still contribute positively, and even help avoid manpower shortfalls when organisations plan a new project.

The benefits of long-term volunteering cannot be over-emphasised, both for the organisations and for the volunteers themselves.

Organisations should dig into their databases and get in touch with these volunteers and encourage them to serve again in whatever capacity they can.

Ronald Lee Yew Kee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 26, 2017, with the headline 'Don't forget the long-term volunteers'. Print Edition | Subscribe