Meet the people behind this movement in Singapore – Puar Si Liang and Michiyo Suzuki.

They’re the Leads for Giving Week – part of a global annual movement #GivingTuesday to celebrate all things giving. This is a gateway for anyone who wants to take their first small step to give.

“To make it happen, we’re working actively with corporates, NPOs and individuals. This marks our third year into this nationwide movement and it’s amazing to see people genuinely caring about their community and Singapore. We’ve got students who feel strongly about a cause/issue and will rally friends to start a ground up movement, to employees constantly asking how they can add more meaning to their giving.”

Co-Lead, Giving Week

What is the aim of Giving Week?

MS: We hope to see everyone coming together in small ways and make a difference – just like the saying goes “one small step for (a) man, and one giant leap for the mankind!” We believe that no matter who you are, there is always something you can choose from – be it volunteering, donating or contributing in your own way to support the many worthy causes. We also hope to squash the misconception that giving is difficult, giving is time consuming – because it’s not.

SL: Getting partners and the community to find ‘giving’ opportunities and support the causes they believe in. Here’s an example from last year, we had a Pilates instructor who contacted us on her own to offer her skills for charity. Little things like that convince us that we are on the way to build a giving nation.

Why should NPOs participate?

MS: This is your chance for your cause to be heard and celebrated! We’ve been hearing the common buzz that people want to give, but don’t know where, or how to find the time. Take advantage of Giving Week, raise awareness and provide opportunities for people to join your cause! It won’t take long because everything during Giving Week should be simple and fun.

How can NPOs benefit from Giving Week?

SL: We’ve a team in NVPC to support NPOs, from driving users to the different campaigns and activities going on during the week, to helping find possible partnerships. This can potentially result in an extended partnership beyond Giving Week.

MS: For schools and corporates, it’s beyond the extra co-curricular activity or a corporate social responsibility employee duty. For NPOs, you can find out how you can connect beyond your monthly donors and which method of ‘giving’ works best for your organisation. Go ahead and explore fun volunteering and/or fundraising ideas that you’ve always wanted.

What is the most memorable campaign you have worked on?

MS: To celebrate International Volunteer Day, we came up with a ‘Just Saying Thanks’ campaign during Giving Week last year. We produced two postcard designs for individuals to ‘Just Say Thanks’ and collaborated with SingPost to provide free postage for them to snail mail it to their everyday hero. It was a family affair – one of my sisters designed the card, the other did the calligraphy and my entire family gave their time to help pack and distribute the postcards. This was exactly how we want people to give, through fun and simple ways. Eventually, the cards were well-received by many organisations who even asked for more. Along with NPOs, they also adopted a similar idea.

What are the lessons that you would like NPOs to take away from Giving Week?

SL: Collaboration is the way to go for a bigger impact. For example, NUHS worked with Timbre to launch their RoundUpLah! Campaign. For every transaction made by patrons, they can choose to round up their total bill to the nearest $10. In fact, the campaign is still ongoing.

MS: Creativity is also a must because we’ve seen how both corporates and individuals give back – they’re always looking for more varied methods. Traditional methods may not resonate with the audience anymore and we need to keep up with the current wave so that we can take better advantage of it.

Finally, what’s the best thing about being a part of Giving Week?

SL: Giving Week is a chance to experiment and try something different. You never know if it could lead to a new pool of supporters, method of fundraising or committed volunteers.

MS: We’re constantly learning as well and we always encourage feedback from our partners. Every year, we make it a point that Giving Week looks a little different because we’re open to new approaches to see what works and what doesn’t. Just join and give it a go. What have you go to lose?