50 per cent jump in corporate volunteers last year

50 per cent jump in corporate volunteers last year
National Australia Bank's staff volunteering at the Red Cross Home for the Disabled in December last year. They sang Christmas carols for the residents.
PHOTO: Singapore Red Cross

Singapore Red Cross working with more corporate groups for indirect volunteering

Corporate donations to the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) fell 35 per cent last year.

However, during the same period, the organisation saw a 50 per cent jump in corporate volunteers.

SRC are working with more corporate groups to channel their time and skills towards indirect volunteering on a long-term basis.

One of them is the National Australia Bank (NAB).

Even as the bank has grown its volunteer corps - it now has 130 staff who actively volunteer with the SRC - it has not cut back on its donations to the organisation.

Staff volunteer their time at the Red Cross Home for the Disabled (RCHD).

Miss Aida Mekonnen, corporate affairs manager of NAB, said that one of the company's core values is "respect for people".

She told The New Paper: "I was initially afraid that some of the staff would be reluctant to volunteer because they were worried they might be emotional.

"We did bed-to-bed storytelling with puppets, which the residents enjoyed. At the end of it, the staff realised they don't have to fear the experience."

Volunteers celebrated Christmas with the residents by carolling, assisting in the counting of donations for SRC's Flag Day and organising an internal fund-raising bake sale which collected about $1,500 for the organisation.

Employees are given two days of volunteer leave a year, and there is a volunteer event every quarter.

Staff at The Body Shop started volunteering with RCHD in 2014.

A group of 17 did art therapy sessions for 20 selected residents, assisting them in creating artwork with a flora and fauna theme.

Last November, 80 staff decorated the dormitories at RCHD, painted the nails of the residents and conducted mini-facials for the caregivers working at the home.

Miss Aditi Madhok-Naarden, human resource director of The Body Shop, told TNP: "While it was meaningful to interact with residents, it felt good to treat someone who has spent their entire day taking care of someone else.

"These nurses and caregivers live on-site because they have to provide full-time care for the residents. It's an opportunity for us to thank these dedicated staff for their work."

She added that the company believes that "business can be a force for good". Employees are given three days of volunteer leave a year, in line with its volunteer culture.

The company volunteers with SRC once a year, sends the RCHD personalised beauty care bags of The Body Shop products for Christmas and organises an internal annual charity sale.

Miss Angeline Yong, head of membership and volunteer development at SRC, said that companies can define their area of contribution.

She told TNP: "There's diversity in the way they can volunteer, as companies can contribute in their own field.

"We see more corporate volunteers offering skill sets to augment the needs of SRC, such as providing consultancy, photography, video editing and copywriting services.

"The SRC also advocates regular befriending, to encourage the building of a relationship among volunteers and beneficiaries."


This article was first published on Jan 16, 2017.
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