NVPC Groundup Initiative Study 2023

By NVPC Knowledge & Insights Team  /
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The Groundup Initiative Study 2023 is the first-ever national-level study providing an overview of the community initiatives in Singapore. The study included views from around 500 people from the groundups space and 1,300 members of the public, through a mix of focus group discussions, in-depth interviews and surveys.

Groundups are defined as “a group of individuals who voluntarily come together to carry out a self-organised project or initiative to benefit the community. Groundups are not-for-profit and are not registered organisations.”

Key Findings

  • There was an increase in groundup activity during COVID-19: The groundup landscape is fluid and some groundups are transitory in nature, but they have existed long before the pandemic. An optimistic estimation suggests that about 1,000 groundup groups exist in Singapore, with 450 active and of known status by March 2023. Groundups substantially increased in numbers during the pandemic; a snapshot of NVPC database has shown that there were 109 groundups formed in 2020, almost 3 times more than the 28 groundups formed in 2019.
  • Building community is groundups’ priority: Groundups prioritise community building and development, with 73% identifying it as their mission and nearly half (49.6%) providing befriending and social time as part of their services, while over a quarter providing necessities (29%) and mental health support (26%). They demonstrate the value of communities taking ownership to identify problems and provide solutions, making us more engaged and related to one another, building our communities and future resilience.
  • Groundups are not entirely a youth-led movement: Groundup founders are from diverse backgrounds, 56% of the surveyed founders are aged 18-34, and 35% are aged 40 and above. Irrespective of the age, what the founders have in common is a broad and stable confidence in their abilities to deal with different situations and achieve specific goals. They are primarily motivated by the desire to contribute to society and enjoyment in the activities they do.
  • Existing gaps for groundups can be addressed through capacity building, collaborations and partnerships: In a self-evaluation of operational performance, groundup leaders identified increasing publicity, planning long-term trajectory, recruiting leadership, recruiting members, and raising awareness cause areas as the key areas for improvement. By examining the frequency of groundup interactions with ecosystem stakeholders such as funders, charities and corporates, skill-based advice, mentorship, sectoral knowledge, credibility, and funding are the areas where groundups can benefit from more support.

The study provides a strong foundation for various stakeholders to better understand the groundup movement and paves the way for more targeted and effective support to the groundups.