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Definitions and Scope

Volunteering refers to: [1]

• Activities done out of one’s own free will 

• Without expecting financial payment 

• To help others outside your household, family, relatives or friends 

• Can be formal (i.e., volunteered through a registered organisation) or informal (i.e., volunteered without going through any registered organisation) 

A volunteer is a person who took his/her own initiative to help others who are in need. He/she does so without receiving any forms of monetary rewards such as salaries or commissions. There may be many reasons that motivate him/her to be involved in volunteering efforts, such as the desire to give back to the community of people in need. [2]

Ways to Volunteer: [2]

• FORMAL AND STRUCTURED MANNER - This form of volunteer work can be done through organized channels or organizations such as foundations, government agencies, schools and clubs. 

• INFORMAL MANNER – Individuals or a group of individuals can take the initiative to carry out volunteer work within their communities. A good example is a crime watch group that safeguards the neighbourhood. 

Types of volunteerism: [3]

- Service-Based Volunteerism: provides manpower resources to a social service agency to complement the practitioners. Some examples include befriending and mentoring, Seniors' Activity Centres and for programmes for youths-at-risk, and caregiver support.

- Skills-Based Volunteering: where professionals use their talents, experiences and resources to strengthen the capabilities of social service agencies. Social service agencies may not have access to resources or expertise to manage corporate functions such as communications, website design and fundraising. Yet, these functions are instrumental in helping them operate more efficiently and effectively.

- Events-Based Volunteering: volunteering at one-time activities such as Flag Days, fundraising events, or bringing service users for an outing are examples of events-based volunteering. 

- Virtual Volunteering: see http://www.coyotecommunications.com/vvwiki/examples.shtml

Target Population: [name of target group]

(Empact's study of skill-based volunteerism)

Client Segments

Volunteers are not a homogeneous group, and may have attributes that places them in the segments listed below:

Episodic Volunteers

There were varying definitions for episodic volunteers. Across various journal articles, EV was described according to one or more of the following dimensions: duration of participation (e.g. short-term); frequency of participation (e.g. 1 or 2 occasions); and task (e.g. project-based). EV definitions based on duration and frequency were the most common (n = 6, 28.6%); followed by a definition including all three dimensions of duration, frequency and task (n = 4, 19%); duration and task (n = 3, 14.3%); frequency only (n = 3, 14.3%); duration only (n = 2, 9.5%); task only (n = 2, 9.5%); and frequency and task (n = 1, 4.8%). For the health and welfare sector only, 2 articles defined EV using the dimensions of duration, frequency and task; 2 used frequency only; 1 duration and frequency; and 1 task only [1]

Skilled Volunteers

Skilled volunteers refer to volunteers who are enlisted to provide specific skills and talents, usually to address a dearth in skills within the non-profit. Skilled volunteers refer to volunteers who are enlisted to provide specific skills and talents, usually to address a dearth in skills within the non-profit. These skills generally come from professional training or relevant work experiences. Examples of skilled volunteers include law students doing pro-bono work.

Corporate Volunteers

Corporate volunteers refer to volunteers that have been sourced from private companies or volunteer in the capacity as an employee of said companies. Corporate volunteers may be obtained from arrangements discussed between non-profits and private companies or by employers lowering the barriers for employees to volunteer. Aside from improving the company’s public relations and employee engagement, the use of corporate volunteers introduces opportunities for the private-non-profit sector collaboration

Emergency Volunteers

It should be noted that volunteers may come under one or more segment. Nevertheless, identifying them as being part of these segments may allow non-profits to better tailor their programs around the motivations, commitment levels and needs of these volunteers.

Desired impact for target group

City of Good:

City Of Good is a vision of a Singapore where Individuals, Organisations and Leaders come together to give their best for others. Giving our best for others means moving away from a ‘me-first’ mindset and being other-centred. In short, a City Of Good is where we value people first and foremost, and become a Singapore that cares. (https://cityofgood.sg/) City of Good fuels the national Singapore Cares movement to build a caring and inclusive home for all, where care is an integral part of our Singaporean identity and way of life.

The National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) is the steward of the City of Good vision for Singapore, where individuals, organisations, and leaders come together to give their best for others. Through their brands, programmes, and initiatives, NVPC facilitates partnerships with non-profits, organisations, public sector bodies, and individuals to enliven the giving ecosystem within Singapore. 

Under the City of Good umbrella, there are two main engagement avenues by which Singapore residents can contribute to society - Giving.sg and Giving Week. (See: Mass Volunteering Matching Platforms) 

Since its initiation in 2003, City of Good and its subsidiary movements have started 2931 fundraisers, engaged with 95,000 donors, recruited 57,000 volunteers, helped 517 charities, empowered 162 non-profits, developed 388 NPO leaders, and empowered 1200 organisations (City of Good)

Needs of [insert client type]

Need for people to be motivated to volunteer

Existing Resources/Measures

Singapore Cares, a national movement led by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) and the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) [4] - One key area under SG Cares is to provide more chances for Singaporeans to volunteer, be it through informal or formal means, as well as to facilitate ground-up efforts. This will be done by identifying the needs that can be met by the community, as well as working with public sector agencies and community partners to scale up existing programmes, adapt successful models, and create more opportunities to involve volunteers. SG Cares will also organise the efforts of relevant public agencies, activate networks of volunteers to collaborate and encourage corporates, grassroots groups and non-profits to partner together. This is to ensure they can better connect volunteers’ time and talent and the corporates’ capabilities, with the needs on the ground. SG Cares will also work with social service organisations to strengthen their volunteer management capacity, and equip volunteers with the necessary skills and training. Close to 40 projects have been supported by Our Singapore Fund, which was set up last year and aimed at supporting projects which build national identity or meet social and community needs. [5]

Zele App

- It aims to incentivise more volunteers to come forward. It allows organisations to communicate with its volunteers without having to depend on external messaging applications. There is an in-app chat function that allows volunteers to give feedback to the organisations they are working at. Volunteering for events allows users to earn points to redeem gifts from sponsors, for instance free pastries from Delifrance and free cable car rides from the Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC). [6]

Gaps and Their Causes

Purist ideals may ironically create a perception among people in Singapore that giving is “difficult”, requiring great sacrifice and effort [1]

People have other important life priorities [1]

Lack of trust [1]

Many individuals and organisations wish to volunteer, but may not know about the causes and areas of need [7]

Lack of time and bandwidth [8]

Possible Solutions

1) Place more emphasis on the benefits of volunteering to potentially motivate people to volunteer.

Potential benefits of volunteering[9]:

  1. Volunteering connects you to others. Volunteering allows you to make new friends, expands network and boosts social skills. One of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity together. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people. It strengthens your ties to the community and broadens your support network, exposing you to people with common interests, neighbourhood resources, and fun and fulfilling activities. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice and develop your social skills, since you are meeting regularly with a group of people with common interests. Once you have momentum, it’s easier to branch out and make more friends and contacts.
  2. Volunteering is good for your mind and body. Volunteering helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, anxiety, and even combats depression. Volunteering also makes you happy. By measuring hormones and brain activity, researchers discovered that being helpful to others delivers immense pleasure. The social contact aspect of helping and working with others can have a profound effect on your overall psychological well-being. Volunteering increases self-confidence. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals. Volunteering provides a sense of purpose. Volunteering allows you to find new meaning and direction in your lives by helping others. Regardless of your age or life situation, volunteering can help take your mind off your own worries, keep you mentally stimulated, and add more zest to your life. Lastly, volunteering helps you stay physically healthy. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not. Older volunteers tend to walk more, find it easier to cope with everyday tasks, are less likely to develop high blood pressure, and have better thinking skills. Volunteering can also lessen symptoms of chronic pain and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  3. Volunteering can advance your career. In an increasingly competitive job market, volunteering experience can be useful in showing potential employers that you can take initiative and that you’re willing to give your own time to improve the world for other people. If you’re considering a new career, volunteering can help you get experience in your area of interest and meet people in the field. Even if you’re not planning on changing careers, volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice important skills used in the workplace, such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, project planning, task management, and organization. Many volunteering opportunities provide extensive training which may comprise of valuable job skills. For example, you could become an experienced crisis counselor while volunteering for a women’s shelter or a knowledgeable art historian while donating your time as a museum docent. Volunteering can also help you build upon skills you already have and use them to benefit the greater community. For instance, if you hold a successful sales position, you can raise awareness for your favourite cause as a volunteer advocate, while further developing and improving your public speaking, communication, and marketing skills. Volunteering also offers you the chance to try out a new career without making a long-term commitment. It is also a great way to gain experience in a new field. In some fields, you can volunteer directly at an organization that does the kind of work you’re interested in. For example, if you’re interested in nursing, you could volunteer at a hospital or a nursing home. Your volunteer work might also expose you to professional organizations or internships that could benefit your career.
  4. Volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to your life. Volunteering is a fun and easy way to explore your interests and passions. Doing volunteer work you find meaningful and interesting can be a relaxing, energizing escape from your day-to-day routine of work, school, or family commitments. Volunteering also provides you with renewed creativity, motivation, and vision that can carry over into your personal and professional life.

Personal benefits of volunteering: [2]

  1. Shapes one’s character 
  2. Enhances the inculcation and internalization of positive values such as empathy and the spirit of caring 
  3. Builds confidence, especially in communicating with other people 
  4. Develops leadership skills 
  5. Provides greater exposure at social engagement platforms 

Community benefits of volunteering: [2]

  1. Inculcates social responsibility
  2. Enables the sharing of the joy of giving 
  3. Facilitates the learning of soft skills (such as emotional connection with others) through peer modeling 
  4. Leads to the formation of a network of support 
  5. Allows the appreciation of issues and challenges facing specific groups within the community 
  6. Inspires others to help and contribute in a positive manner 

2) Changing perceptions of giving - Start with everyday basic care and consideration for others [1]

3) Combine giving into other important life priorities e.g. integrating volunteering as part of family bonding time, volunteering in line with your hobbies [1]

4) Improving transparency and accountability [1]

• Make it clear how much of the donation goes to beneficiaries 

• Ensure donation processes and platforms are easily understood 

• Go to trusted platforms such as Giving.sg and SG Cares app 

5) Incentivise a good online giving experience - Policy makers to consider giving an external “carrot” to let people get over the initial perceived technological barrier [1]

6) Community service or service-learning programmes in the schools - under the Values in Action umbrella - should serve as springboards for adult volunteerism in the future [8]

Need for adequate volunteer matching to causes or organisations

Existing Resources

Gaps and Their Causes

Some needs are underserved while others, such as organising Christmas parties for elderly residents and children in homes, are catered to in excess [10]

Mismatch between demand and supply for skilled volunteers [1]

Possible Solutions

Tap into working adults group [1]

Encourage companies to adopt a charity for the long term and co-create a win-win volunteering program for team bonding or leadership development for staff [1]

• Give staff paid time-off for them to use working hours for purposeful volunteering using their existing skills 

• Consider blue-collar skills as relevant and impactful 

Need for adequate volunteer management or hosting

Existing Resources

Gaps and Their Causes

Mismatched priorities and expectations in volunteers [1]

Possible Solutions

Improving the volunteer experience: Non-profits need to be aware of the needs of first-time volunteers and ensure they leave with a positive and enriching experience [1]

Flexibility: Allowing for convenience and aligning with volunteers’ skills, preferences and life priorities may help prevent drop-off among volunteers [1]

Encourage schools and companies to engage with a particular charity over a few years, or with a particular sector - with at-risk youth or in eldercare, for instance - so that volunteers have a longer timeframe in mind [11]

Commitment to a regular, weekly engagement through which shifts can be rotated, supplemented by bigger events every once in a while [11]

Need for [ insert description ]

Existing Resources

Gaps and Their Causes

Possible Solutions

Need for [ insert description ]

Existing Resources

Gaps and Their Causes

Possible Solutions

Resource Directory

Mass volunteer matching platforms



Giving.sg (NVPC)


Giving.sg is created by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) of Singapore, and is backed by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY). It has four primary avenues for interested people to contribute to society - Donations, Volunteering, and Fundraising. Projects are also classified according to suitability - prganisations, individuals, and groups. (https://www.giving.sg/learn)


 Individuals: Individuals can browse volunteering opportunities according to causes (e.g. Animal Welfare, Children & Youth, Elderly etc). These volunteering opportunities range from ad-hoc to regular occurrences. Furthermore, these opportunities can also be filtered via skills required and volunteer suitability. 

Organisations: Registered charities can also use Giving.sg as a platform to source for volunteers should they have projects, programmes or events that require them. Any non-profit organisation registered in Singapore can use the platform to recruit volunteers for events and activities they organise. However, only registered charities can raise funds and receive donations through the platform. (See: Registered charities) 

If you are a Singapore Registered Organisation (Corporate, Government Body, Educational Institution etc), you will be asked to submit a Letter of Authorisation during sign up. Once this has submitted, your account will be created. If you are signing up as a group, you will be asked to complete a form after sign up. Once this has been submitted, your account will be created.

Donations: Individuals or groups can make donations according to causes, such as supporting the Singapore Cancer Society or contributing to Emergency Funds for Family Service Centres. These donations can be made anonymously or publicly. (https://www.giving.sg/search?type=donate)

Organisations: Only charities that are listed on the Giving.sg platform can start fundraising campaigns on Giving.sg. Charities can start their own fundraising campaign here: https://www.giving.sg/start-campaign

More information can be obtained from Giving.sg’s FAQ page: https://www.giving.sg/faq

Giving Week: 


Giving Week is a national movement that celebrates the spirit of giving and seeks to make giving part of our way of life. It is a time when brands, non-profits and people give and share their Time, Talent, Treasure and Voice to support any cause they are passionate about in all ways, big and small.


Giving Week is part of #GivingTuesday – a global giving movement fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it is happening on 3 Dec 2019 this year. (to be updated) 

In 2019, Giving Week took place from 1-7 Dec 2019* (varies for participating organisations). Across Singapore, participating entities such as restaurants, retail outlets, and commercial enterprises such as Chope, Carousell and DBS, came up with initiatives to encourage the spirit of giving across their patrons. 

SG Cares

Borne out of a vision to foster a more caring and inclusive society, SG Cares is a national movement dedicated to guide and support the goodwill of all who live in Singapore to better help those in need. 

SG Cares can also be seen as a repository of sorts, with hearty stories on Singapore residents carrying out acts of kindness (See: Singapore Kindness Movement and Stories), volunteer opportunities (See: Giving.sg) and opportunities to partake in Ground-Up activities.

SG Volunteer


Youth Corps Singapore


General skills-based volunteer matching platforms



Conjunct Consulting


Conjunct Consulting is Southeast Asia’s first social change consultancy: engaging, mobilising and empowering  talent to strengthen social good organisations in Singapore. We do this through consulting projects, strategic collaborations, and corporate skills-based volunteering programmes. Since our inception in August 2011, Conjunct Consulting has delivered 233 consulting projects with a total of 127 nonprofit partners serving various community needs and creating over $5 million worth of social impact.

At Conjunct Consulting, we equip our partners in the social sector with sustainable strategies and thought processes to ensure they are ready for future challenges. Conjunct also empowers the next generation of social change leaders with the business skills and knowledge needed for continual strategic change.



Law Society Pro Bono Services


National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC)


RSVP Singapore The Organisation of Senior Volunteers


Institution of Public Character and the National Centre of Excellence for Senior Volunteerism under the patronage of Mdm Halimah Yacob, President of the Republic of Singapore. The organisation started in 1998 and was launched by then-Prime Minister Mr Goh Chok Tong. RSVP Singapore is a registered society under the Societies Act and a member of the National Council of Social Service (NCSS).

Skills for Good



Professional pro bono bodies

Pro Bono Accountancy


Informal Volunteer Movements


A ground-up movement that organizing micro-volunteering activities https://www.facebook.com/BeKindSG https://www.meetup.com/Be-Kind-SG/


Originally meant as a platform to provide FASS graduates with relevant career guidance, Probocon has since expanded to help fresh graduates from various faculties get a head start in their first job (NUS News)


Youth Corps Service Week

An initiative organised by Youth Corps Singapore (YCS) annually. YCS Service Week aims to rally youths to participate in community service to contribute towards a more caring and cohesive society.


Volunteering Service Project Grants & Fundings

Central Singapore Community Development Council Do-Good Grant


National Youth Council National Youth Fund


National Youth Council Young ChangeMakers Grant


National Integration Council Community Integration Fund


NUS Community Engagement Fund


NTU CoLab4Good Fund


Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth Our Singapore Fund


Singapore-ASEAN Youth Fund


Singapore Sports Council Active Enabler Programme


SMU CDL Young SDG Leaders Fund


SMU Shirin Fozdar Community Service Project Grant


Tote Board Enabling Lives Initiative Grant


Youth Corps Singapore Community Service Project Fund


Youth Expedition Project Fund