Engaging and appreciating volunteers

We thank Mr Edmund Khoo Kim Hock ("Engage volunteers on long-term basis"; last Friday) for his views on volunteer engagement.

He mentioned the importance of ensuring that individuals will continue to give to others on a long-term basis. This is in line with the vision of the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) - to promote a giving nation.

A sound volunteer management system should provide a warm and supportive environment for volunteers to serve and develop a sense of ownership and commitment.

Volunteers should also feel well equipped to fulfil the specific roles that they would be contributing in, and recognise that their skills and time are put to good use.

Both ad hoc and regular volunteers are equally capable of contributing meaningfully to society. While regular volunteerism does help to facilitate a non-profit organisation's (NPO) manpower planning, and the volunteer's contribution towards the organisation could increase in depth, there might also be instances of ad hoc programmes and events that rely on the help of event-specific volunteers.

On top of the Volunteer Management Toolkit recently launched in collaboration with the National Council of Social Service, NVPC also recently published a One Size Does Not Fit All volunteer engagement guide that helps organisations to better understand the motivation and challenges of their current and potential volunteers at different life stages.

Readers can view the digital version of the book at http://eggregator.com/staging/OneSizeDoesNotFitAll_2/index.html

From appreciating volunteers through NPOs' communication channels (such as newsletters) to offering meal/transport allowances, there are various ways to show gratitude for the time and effort invested by volunteers.

Where volunteer appreciation is concerned, NVPC believes in celebrating the invaluable contributions of volunteers, and we do this through platforms, such as the annual International Volunteer Day and President's Volunteerism and Philanthropy Awards.

The stories of how volunteers dedicate their time and resources to serve the needy or champion a cause are living examples of individuals who look beyond their comfort zone to help others.

Rachel Chan (Ms)
Corporate Communication Assistant Manager
National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 19, 2015, with the headline 'Engaging and appreciating volunteers'. Print Edition | Subscribe