Many of us are fortunate to live comfortable lives. But there are those around us who are not as lucky. We know they could use a helping hand, but we may also feel like we do not have enough resources to give.
It’s important to realise that giving is not only measured by the money donated. Beyond money and tangible items, we have so much to offer – our time, skills, and more. Read on for ideas on how you can contribute with what you have.
1. Impart your skills
Sharing is caring. There are many social organisations in Singapore that help the underprivileged gain valuable life skills. When equipped with new skills, these individuals can put them into practice and gain an additional source of income to better their lives. In order to do so, NGOs need volunteers who are willing to share their skills through workshops and/or vocational training sessions.
There are different skills which are in high demand such as sewing and baking, or technical skills like designing a website. You could even give free tuition lessons to underprivileged students and help nurture their personal talents.
Sometimes, what the urban poor needs more than learning a life skill, is your professional help. If you are a lawyer, accountant, IT specialist, hairstylist, and so on, you can contribute to society by providing your services pro bono.
How to get started: SG Cares, a national movement dedicated to helping those in need in Singapore, allows you to discover opportunities with different organisations seeking volunteers to impart their skills to society. They also have a mobile app that you can download on both Google Play and the Apple Store.
2. Raise your voice
Singaporeans are passionate and outspoken people who are not afraid to speak up for what is right. There are many organisations that you could join to raise your voice for a cause and for one which you feel truly matters.
Perhaps you are an animal lover and you want to see animals being treated better – join a society that speaks up for animal rights. Or maybe you feel that there is injustice in the way some groups of people are being stigmatised – join an organisation that strives to raise awareness and fights for human rights.
Some of the NGOs which advocate human rights include:
- MARUAH: “Dignity” in Malay, MARUAH seeks to provide a civil society perspective on human rights and to facilitate the education, participation, and engagement of Singaporeans with regards to human rights and related issues.
- Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2): This NGO dedicates itself to improving the conditions for low-wage migrant workers, who may be the largest group of disadvantaged people living in Singapore.
- United Women Singapore (UWS): The UWS works to advance women empowerment and gender equality, while also growing women leaders and influencers in Singapore through education, raising awareness, and driving advocacy on women-related issues.
How to get started: Once you have a cause you are passionate about, do a Google search on organisations in Singapore that fight for a cause you believe in, and reach out to them to understand how they work and what type of volunteering services would they need. There may also be induction or a training programme for new volunteers.
3. Volunteer your time
One way to give back to society is to give the gift of time. Many NGOs in Singapore need more volunteers to help them with daily operations. For example, Willing Hearts, a soup kitchen in Singapore which prepares, cooks, and distributes about 6,500 meals every day, needs volunteers to prepare ingredients, pack lunch boxes, and wash the pots and pans.
Other organisations, like NTUC Health, need volunteers to help with specific programmes. One of the programmes NTUC Health runs is the Caring Assistance from Neighbours (CAN) Programme. Volunteers of this programme, called the CAN Carers, would pay seniors regular visits at their homes while providing them with a listening ear and emotional support, and reminding them to take their medications.
There are many more organisations that regularly send out calls for volunteers on their social media pages or websites, so do look out for them.
How to get started: Giving.sg is a great place for you to start – With their vision of building a City of Good, the platform provides an impressive database of volunteer opportunities that you can explore. As there are different types of social organisations on the platform, you would be able to choose one with a cause closest to your heart.
4. Rally your peers
You don’t have to volunteer alone. Get others to volunteer with you. You can rope your friends and family in, or you can also suggest volunteering at an organisation of your choice to your employer – it could be a company CSR effort, or a team-building exercise. Throw in some challenges for additional fun and the loser has to make a S$5 donation to the organisation you are volunteering at.
With a great network of peers, be sure to tap on this and its extended networks to create a gift for society that keeps on growing.
Ultimately, it’s all about getting those around in a cause or causes you are jointly fighting for.
How to get started: Check with your preferred social organisation on whether they are able to take in a group of volunteers at a certain time and date. Sometimes, charitable homes like orphanages and old folks’ homes would need you to call them prior to heading over, especially as a group, so that they can prepare for your arrival ahead of time.
As you go on to make a difference, remember that these volunteering opportunities are just the tip of the iceberg. Acts of kindness, regardless of how small, can make a big impact in another’s life. If you would like to donate money instead, take note of the tax relief for your monetary donations – the money saved can be used to increase your savings with JumpStart. Taking a leaf from former FLOTUS, Michelle Obama’s speech in 2012, “Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”
Deposit Insurance Scheme:
Singapore dollar deposits of non-bank depositors are insured by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation, for up to S$75,000 in aggregate per depositor per Scheme member by law. Foreign currency deposits, dual currency investments, structured deposits and other investment products are not insured. For clarity, investment products are not deposits and do not qualify as an insured deposit under the Singapore Deposit Insurance and Policy Owners’ Protection Schemes Act 2012 Rev. Ed, Cap 77B.
Please visit sc.com/sg/JumpStart for full terms and conditions of the JumpStart account Product Terms.
This article is brought to you by Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited. All information provided is for informational purposes only.