Individual Giving Survey 2016 (IGS 2016)

A Singapore “Givolution” in the making – giving becomes more ground-up and direct. Individual Giving Survey 2016 (IGS 2016) shows that ground-up movements and peer-to-peer giving are on the rise

Spearheaded by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), the Company of Good Fellowship is the first-of-its-kind talent development programme that grooms top talents in organisations. Through the five-month programme, fellows sharpen their business perspectives and build capabilities in leadership and corporate giving. At the inauguration ceremony, Guest-of-Honour,Lim Siong Guan, Adviser to GIC will acknowledge 39 participating fellows. To mark the momentous occasion, NVPC will sign the Memorandum of Understanding with our knowledge partner, NUS Business School. NVPC is honoured to kickstart their corporate giving journey with a salient conversation helmed by distinguished panellists from Greenpac, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Shell, and SMU on “Harnessing Untapped Opportunities for Businesses in the Community”. This commencement ceremony and forum is also held in support of SG Cares.

Singapore, 15 March 2017 – The Individual Giving Survey (IGS) is a biennial study conducted by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) to find out how people in Singapore give, in terms of volunteerism and philanthropy. Last year, NVPC conducted IGS 2016 to examine giving trends across Singapore.

Volunteerism rate has increased with informal volunteerism rate doubling

Volunteerism rate has grown significantly over the decade. 1 in 3 volunteered in 2016, as compared to 1 in 10 in 2000. The rebound in volunteerism rate from 18% in 2014 to 35% in 2016, could be related to the resurgence in informal volunteerism (i.e. volunteering directly, without going through any organisation).

Volunteers donate five times that of non-volunteers From IGS 2016, we found that 79% of volunteers are also donors. In 2016, volunteers donated the highest amounts ($1,441) which was five times that of than non-volunteers ($285), as compared to 3.6 times in 2014. Additionally, the amount donated by volunteers has surged to $1,441 in 2016 (from $873 in 2014). This implies that non-profit organisations ought to invest in volunteers, such as capability building and enhancing their volunteer management systems.

Total donations to organisations and total volunteer hours have almost doubled Total donation to organisations has almost doubled from $1.25 billion in 2014 to $2.18 billion in 2016. Additionally, donation per donor more than doubled from $379 to $910 per donor. Similar to the trend in donations, total volunteer hours have almost doubled from 66 million hours in 2014 to 121 million hours in 2016, even though average volunteer hours per volunteer has dropped from 93 hours in 2014 to 84 hours in 2016. This trend shows that volunteers are continuing to serve on an occasional basis but contributing less in hours.

Melissa Kwee, Chief Executive Officer of NVPC says, “We see the signs of a new revolution in the giving space where Singapore is seeing a greater informal and peer to peer action with the rise of ground-up movements, social enterprises and purpose-led businesses.

Through IGS 2016, we sought to understand how the giving landscape has evolved over the past 2 years, to find out which causes were most and least popular and understand why people give.

This year we will see Singapore Cares, a national volunteering initiative, seek to encourage and inspire to do our own small part for others, whether through organising ground-up efforts, caring for our neighbours, or volunteering with friends informally or with non-profit organisations. We are coming together to build our home in the city of good.”

Key Insight 1: Giving on their own terms

Volunteers are rallying their friends to start campaigns or support meaningful causes. There is a growing potential that people support causes that resonate with them and start their own initiatives or ground-up efforts. IGS 2016 shows that informal giving (through volunteering or donating) is on the rise. Almost 3 in 4 have volunteered or donated informally (i.e. volunteering directly, without going through any organisation).

In 2016, 1 in 2 volunteers (51%) have served informally as compared to, 1 in 4 volunteers (25%) in 2014. This reflects a positive trend for civic participation in Singapore as more people are starting ground-up efforts or volunteering directly to serve causes. Furthermore, volunteering is social. IGS 2016 shows that 41% volunteered with friends, 29% volunteered with colleagues and 24% volunteered with family.

Stand Up for Our SG is a social movement to build up Singapore as a community that can find trust and be proud of to call home. Founder, Wally Tham says, “What I have learnt is that every time we look away from something we care about, we create disappointment for ourselves. At Stand Up for Our Singapore we want to keep looking at the difficult problems until we find faces we can talk to and people to care for, only then can we be our best selves, when we are human to each other. It is in that moment when we can be generous and innovate.”

Hush TeaBar is a ground-up movement with the deaf community to encourage awareness and reflection amongst busy working professionals through a silent tea experience facilitated by their deaf facilitators (called ‘TeaRistas’), and to promote experiential inclusion by bringing seemingly disparate groups of people together. Founder of Hush TeaBar, Anthea Indira Ong says, “The pressing social concerns of a mental health epidemic and an increasingly polarised community were what compelled me and my volunteers to start Hush as a social experiment with DBS in 2014. We wanted to challenge the notions of busyness and disAbility. I was deeply affected by how this increasingly fast-paced world is making us lose the connection with ourselves, and with each other. In silence, we remember who we are, and who we are to each other. By flipping our worlds around, we hope to reframe the mainstream perception of ability, to force the hearing into a world of silence to encourage empathy and inclusion. Why start a business when you can start a movement to make different worlds come together, in silence? You could say this is a quiet revolution!”

Started as a ground-up movement in 2013, New Life Stories is now a charity (IPC) that supports pre‐school education for the children of incarcerated mothers. They provide support to ensure the children are not left behind in the crucial early years of their development during the mothers’ incarceration. Co-founder and Director, New Life Stories, Saleemah Ismail says, “We came together a group of friends trying to find a solution as we hope to address the gap. We thought, “What can we do? How can we be part of the solution?”

Another ground-up movement, Mustard Seeds Singapore runs a Breakfast Bliss program that rallies a group of volunteers to serve breakfast to the needy and elderly in Henderson area every second Saturday of the month to distribute breakfast and daily necessities. Today, they have served over 3500 meals. An active volunteer, Serap Kaya says, “The volunteers at Mustard Seeds and the Singapore-Turkey Friendship Association enjoy spreading the joy and serving the needy and elderly in Singapore. I feel that volunteering and caring for our community has helped many Turkish people to better integrate in Singapore and feel a sense of belonging as a whole.” Key Insight 2: Corporates, the transitional gateway to inspire more to volunteer

Corporates are becoming an important gateway and mobiliser to inspire more to give back to society. Volunteerism drop-out rates tend to be higher for those who just enter the workforce. Currently, almost 1 in 2 (48%) of those aged between 25 and 34 years old are former volunteers. Interestingly, in IGS 2016, the insights have pointed out that for those aged between 35 and 44 years old, 48% tend to volunteer, while 84% of them donating back. The same observation applies to those aged between 45 and 54 years old too: where, 43% volunteering, and 81% donating.

This is generally the life stage of an average Singaporean where most would have stable income and established careers, and may tend to think of giving back to the society apart from work and raising a family. This age bracket also sees more young families being set up. Imbuing the value of volunteering or giving back as a young parent or family to strengthen both the family and societal bond may find critical success to raise values of empathy and compassion.

However, we see a drop again for those who are 55 years and above. This group has the highest proportion of non-volunteers compared to the other age groups. Among those aged 55 to 64, 40% of them have never volunteered before, while among those aged 65 and above, 53% have never volunteered before. This group is also the group preparing themselves for retirement.

“Corporates hold the key to re-ignite volunteerism. An average working adult would have spent at least four or five decades at work. If the value of giving is strongly instilled in the work culture, people will continue giving throughout their young adult life to their retirement days. I’d imagine the passion of volunteering from young to old, where a giver almost never retires.” Mr Jeffrey Tan, Director for Knowledge & Advocacy remarks.

Key Insight 3: Giving goes niche – green efforts, animal care, arts and heritage

There is growing diversity in the types of volunteering, particularly towards niche and “under-served” causes such as green efforts, animal care, arts and heritage. Volunteers supporting green efforts, such as, gardening, environment protection, recycling, haze relief, have doubled since 2014, from 7% to 14% in 2016. For instance, during Giving Week 2016, Waterways Watch Society organised the Kayak based clean-up activities where volunteers participated in the environmental awareness programme to learn about water and environmental issues while having fun and staying healthy.

A strong example that illustrates a corporate that focuses on green efforts is Greenpac, a Company of Good community member specialising in re-engineering, designing and distributing innovative, environmentally friendly packaging products and solutions in Singapore. As part of their efforts to invest in the community around them, they used hydroponics farming as an innovative tool to guide the sustainable effort and invested in hydroponics units at Juying Primary School and Jurong Secondary School. Employees of Greenpac are encouraged to volunteer in the schools regularly on the activities by using the hydroponic farming systems.

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Jessica Chai Pei Shan
NVPC, Lead, Comms and PR
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