NCSS to hire up to 50 executives to manage volunteers at social service agencies here

A pilot scheme from 2016 to 2018, when the NCSS funded managers of volunteers at 10 SSAs, saw promising results. PHOTO: NCSS SINGAPORE/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - The National Council of Social Service (NCSS) is looking to hire up to 50 professionals, managers or executives from outside the social service sector to manage volunteers at charities here.

As part of this effort to help social service agencies (SSAs) strengthen their volunteer management capabilities, the NCSS on Wednesday (Aug 19) launched the $8 million Enhanced Volunteer Manager Funding scheme.

Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, who is also the NCSS adviser, said at the scheme's launch that there is a need to optimise volunteer resources, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic which has severely affected donations and impacted the number of volunteers helping out at SSAs, given safe distancing measures.

He added that it is crucial to have dedicated volunteer managers now to "jumpstart the recovery of volunteer programmes and lay the groundwork for increased volunteer management capacity over time".

A manpower shortage has always been a key challenge faced by SSAs, the NCSS said in a press release on Thursday morning.

According to a sector survey conducted by NCSS in 2018, only about half of the 242 agencies that responded to the survey have staff who manage volunteers.

A pilot scheme from 2016 to 2018, when the NCSS funded managers of volunteers at 10 SSAs, saw promising results.

A subsequent study found that the presence of such managers resulted in an increase in the number of volunteers at the SSAs.

Their presence also enhanced volunteers' experience and satisfaction, and helped with the agency's ability to retain volunteers, among other things.

Mr Tan said: "For those who do it well, you are aware that good volunteer management is akin to creating more headcount without taking the headcount on board, especially when the volunteers are more regular, have received some training, and are able to commit his or her time.

"This in turn eases the load on the agency's staff."

To address concerns over volunteer management in the pandemic, the NCSS has also published a Volunteer Continuity Planning Guide that helps SSAs to ensure the continuity of volunteer activity in times of crisis.

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