Singaporeans satisfied with community involvement in schools

National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre’s (NVPC) study of individual giving behaviour has found that over four in five participants of compulsory community work in school are satisfied or very satisfied with their experience.

Singapore, 2 September 2011 – National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre’s
(NVPC) study of individual giving behaviour has found that over four in five
participants of compulsory community work in school are satisfied or very
satisfied with their experience. This is the first time since such research began
in 2000 that respondents were polled on their experience.

CIP: Early gateway to volunteerism
Community Involvement Programme (CIP) in schools is often the first time
students are exposed to community work. In NVPC’s Individual Giving Survey,
volunteering excludes compulsory community work such as CIP, except
where participants have voluntarily served more than the compulsory hours.
Laurence Lien, NVPC’s Chief Executive Officer said: “The good intentions of
CIP, when coupled with good execution, is a gateway to volunteerism. CIP
connects our students to social concerns, and this exposure is more likely to
spark continued volunteerism throughout their lives.”

Indeed, the survey found that among those aged 15-29, those who had
previously participated in compulsory community work in schools had a
significantly higher volunteerism rate than those who had not. 35% of the
former group were current volunteers compared to 15% for the latter group.

More needs to be done to improve CIP
Nonetheless, NVPC believes that CIP in schools can be improved. Mr Lien
said: “While the high rate of satisfaction with CIP is heartening, we believe
more can be done to make CIP more impactful. NVPC’s volunteer arm SG
Cares (www.sgcares.org) is working on a pilot project with schools to
introduce the Asset-Based Community Development model, an approach to
informal volunteering that focuses on assets in the community, rather than
needs.”

More can also be done to spur corporate volunteering. The survey found that
among those aged 15 to 19, 48% or about one in two have volunteered in the
past 12 months. Volunteerism falls thereafter, from 23% among 20-24 year
olds to 16% among those aged 25 to 29. These are the ages when school
leavers begin to build their careers in the workforce, and when less time is
devoted to other areas of their lives, like volunteering.
“Just as CIP provides the pathway for students to serve the community,
corporate volunteering programmes can be pathways for employees to
volunteer. In fact, volunteer activities organised by employers will attract even
former and non volunteers,” Mr Lien continued.

The survey found that 80% of former volunteers and 54% of non volunteers
would participate if such activities were organised. Indeed, employee volunteer programmes may be organised by employees themselves. To help companies with employee volunteering, NVPC has an Employee Volunteering Guide book which is available free online. NVPC’s corporate engagement team will also be conducting special volunteer orientation sessions for interested companies in the near future.

Spending on leisure vs giving
For the first time, the survey also looked at how much time and money was
spent on favourite leisure activity, compared to volunteering and donating.
Kevin Lee, a director at NVPC, said: “We found that generally, more time and
money was spent on favourite leisure activity than on volunteering and
donating.” For example, persons who had favourite leisure activity spent on
average 485 hours in the past 12 months on such an activity. By comparison,
persons who volunteered spent on average 104 hours in the past 12 months
volunteering.

“Leisure and giving to the community are not mutually exclusive,” said Mr Lee.
People can combine both, such as fundraising through sports. With passion
and imagination, we can make giving a way of life.”

Donation relative to income
As in the 2008 survey, the 2010 survey found that those earning below $1,000
per month tended to donate a higher percentage of their personal annual
income compared to the other income groups. Regarding intention to donate
online in the next 12 months, the proportion is 33% or higher among those
with personal monthly income of $4,000 and above. Given their openness to
donating online, Mr Lien said: “NVPC’s online donation portal SG Gives
(www.sggives.org) will be working with charities to better reach out to those
earning a higher income.

NVPC released the above findings today as a supplement to its Individual
Giving Survey 2010.

Background to Individual Giving Survey 2010
Individual Giving Survey 2010, conducted by The Nielsen Company on behalf
of NVPC, sought to gain insights on volunteerism and philanthropy in
Singapore in a bid to encourage a caring and engaged community for all.
It covered individuals aged 15 years old and above who are Singapore
residents (Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents) and non-residents
but excluded tourists, domestic maids and construction workers. A total of
1,815 interviews were completed from April to August 2010. Respondents
were interviewed face to face about their giving behaviour in the last 12
months. Statistical weighting was applied to the sample data to arrive at
national estimates. In the survey, volunteering was defined to exclude
compulsory community work such as the Community Involvement Programme
in schools (except where it exceeded the compulsory hours). The survey has
been carried out once every two years since 2000.

About the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre
Transform. Catalyse. Connect.
These words shape what we do, which is to help people and organisations
give well to causes they care about, so as to build a sustainable future for all
in Singapore. We do this by working with other non-profits, companies, and public sector bodies to facilitate and strengthen giving in Singapore, whether of time,
money or in-kind. NVPC is an independent, not-for-profit organisation. Visit us at www.nvpc.org.sg.

About SG Cares (www.sgcares.org)
Volunteering is easy with SG Cares, an online portal that provides flexible
volunteer opportunities for the community. SG Cares structures episodic
volunteer projects that volunteers can sign up online for. It enables caring but
busy people to volunteer as and when they can.

About SG Gives (www.sggives.org)
Giving is as easy as search, select and donate with SG Gives, an online
donation portal for Singapore-registered charities. Whether you are a donor or
a fundraising charity, www.sggives.org is a tool available for your use 24
hours a day.