Toolkit to help welfare groups manage volunteers

We thank Mr Jimmy Lim Boh Seng for his comments on flexibility when managing with volunteers ("Be flexible when dealing with volunteers"; Forum Online, July 7 ).

Volunteers from all walks of life play an important role in Singapore today, contributing in many ways, especially to resource-constrained voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs), and we are grateful for Mr Lim's faithful contributions as a volunteer in giving his time and skills to serve the underprivileged in the community in the past decades.

In the Individual Giving Survey 2012 conducted by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), nine in 10 volunteers who volunteered with organisations were satisfied or very satisfied with their overall volunteering experience with them.

In the survey, volunteers were also asked for suggestions on areas for improvement. Their responses included training to improve volunteers' skill, proper briefing on what volunteers have to do and more communication.

Good practices in volunteer management do pay off. In NVPC's Subjective Well-Being Survey 2012, 88 per cent of volunteers with high satisfaction with their experience in the organisations intend to volunteer in future.

There are times that volunteers have less than satisfactory experiences, such as Mr Lim's.

We believe that a more systematic way of engaging volunteers can help reduce the likelihood of such occurrences.

With this in mind, the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) has developed a Volunteer Management Toolkit together with NVPC, to assist VWOs to put in place good volunteer management practices and identify ways of increasing partnerships with volunteers.

In addition, the Social Service Institute, NCSS' human capital development arm, runs regular courses to train volunteers, volunteer managers and coordinators.

A relationship is sustainable if both parties respect each other in the spirit of giving and service.

We hope that well-trained volunteers, managers and coordinators would be able to understand each other better and lead to greater engagement, ultimately contributing to the beneficiaries that they both seek to serve.

We also take this opportunity to thank volunteer coordinators and managers, who often juggle managing volunteers on top of other duties.

Kevin Lee
Director of Knowledge
NVPC

Fermin Diez
Deputy CEO and Group Director
Human Capital Development
NCSS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2015, with the headline 'Toolkit to help welfare groups manage volunteers'. Print Edition | Subscribe