Change name but keep spirit of volunteers

We agree that names do affect perception, and support the view that it is timely to review the term "voluntary welfare organisation" (VWO) when referring to organisations that provide social services (Stop calling them VWOs. They are social service organisations; July 21).

In the social and eldercare sector, some charities have grown in size to reflect the complexities of the needs and the scale of the issues.

In the larger scheme of things, a name change is relatively easy to accomplish - that's the hardware. However, it is also important that the "heart-ware" is addressed.

Many charities were started by volunteers who saw a need and had the gumption to step forward to do something.

This spirit should not change, regardless of any name change, the size the organisation grows into or how professionally it is run.

The most common answer to the question "why do you want to join this (social service) sector" at interviews remains "because I want to make a difference, do something to help others".

Many charities grapple with the challenges of carrying out programmes and managing resources efficiently and effectively.

Just because a charity needs donations to operate does not mean that it is not managed professionally or its staff should be paid less.

A charity operates like any other organisation except for one fundamental difference - it is "not-for-profit".

Just like a for-profit organisation, a charity needs to be well-managed, and its staff need to remain motivated and accountable to their donors.

More volunteers are coming forward to support causes close to their hearts by using their skills and expertise. If the volunteers' interests and competence are matched with the organisation's needs, it will result in holistic and impactful giving.

Tim Oei

Chief Executive Officer

AWWA