Corporate giving drops but companies volunteering more
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."
Last Christmas, they sang carols for the residents.
NAB also assisted in the counting of donations for SRC’s Flag Day.
For last year’s National Day, they organised an internal fund-raising bake sale where staff members sold homemade pastries at their pantry. They raised about $1,500, which were donated to SRC.
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."