Survey of individuals in Singapore
National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC)

Individuals in Singapore have demonstrated a stngn commitment to give back to society through donations. This is evident from the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre’s (NVPC) Individual Giving Survey (IGS) 2014.

Philanthropy

According to the results of the IGS 2014, people donated in total, $1.25 billion, whichnis a 14% rise from the amount of $1.1 billion in 2012. The average amount per giver was $379, or just over $1 per day up from $312 per giver in 2012. Similar to the results from IGS 2012, those who earned below $1,000 per month gave the highest proportion of their income: 2% in IGS 2014.

People still find donating money rather than time to be an easier way to help others or support causes they believe in or want to support. NVPC celebrates generosity and wants to help find more meaningful ways for givers to get connected to and involved, be it in the social services, arts and culture, healthcare, sports or the environment.

"The non-profit sector needs not only our money but also for us to share our skills and passion for their causes. Much more can be achieved when our minds, hearts and hands come together,” said Ms Melissa Kwee, Chief Executive of NVPC. “We would like people to make giving a part of their everyday lives. When we celebrate a birthday, anniversary, promotion or simply gather with family and friends, we can set aside a portion to help someone or contribute to a cause that moves us and needs support. Givingis life-giving for both the giver and receiver," added Ms Kwee.

Volunteering – Where it matters

According to the IGS 2014 results, almost 1 in 5 persons, or 17.8%, volunteered. The top reason many individuals gave for not volunteering is “no time”. The average volunteer hours however, grew to 93 hours compared to the 72 hours in IGS 2012. There is also an increase in regular volunteering; the proportion of volunteers who served monthly rose from 11% in IGS 2012 to 18% in IGS 2014.

One such regular volunteer is Joey Lee. Now a full-time housewife, Joey thinks volunteering is a meaningful way to spend time with family. She started volunteering regularly with her 7-year-old daughter earlier this year, after quitting her full-time job. 

“Apart from bonding us, it has been a meaningful way of spending our weekends together. Whether it’s participating in donation drives for the Buddha of Medicine Welfare Society and Metropolitan YMCA Singapore, or engaging the elderly through the arts and craft sessions at Hong Kah North Day Care Centre, it gives us great pleasure to know that we have brought a cheer to someone."

Now, mother and daughter look forward to spending their time to volunteer and help out a charity. Interestingly, when Joey was working full-time, she regularly donated to give back to society.

The majority still prefer to volunteer occasionally, with 2 in 3 doing so in IGS 2014.

Among volunteers, some do so informally without going through organisations. For example, when the haze crisis happened last June, a group of compassionate volunteers from SG Haze Rescue distributed masks to the cleaners and outdoor workers. This group of volunteers acted quickly and won commendation from the community. NVPC hopes more people will step forward and help others in need.

“Simple acts of kindness always make that critical difference. It is our aspiration to see our Singapore be a place where people care for and help one another,” added Ms Kwee

NVPC – Charting the way forward

The National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre will strengthen efforts to promote and develop volunteerism and philanthropy in Singapore by working even more closely through strategic partnerships and alliances with businesses, community groups and other governmental agencies to make giving opportunities more accessible.

One clear trend emerged from NVPC’s discussions with its stakeholders: it is important to create an inspiring and enabling environment for people to volunteer. Volunteers need to be regularly energised and engaged. Director, Hosea Lai adds, “Engaged volunteers can move mountains for the charities and causes they support so monitoring their perceptions and experience is important for non-profits who want to build their community of givers.”

Next year, as Singapore celebrates her 50th birthday, NVPC would like to rally Singaporeans together to shape the kind of Singapore we want to see in the next 50 years; one where giving is part of who we are and that the dreams and hopes of all Singaporeans matter. 

Individual Giving Survey 2014, conducted by Consulting Group - Asia Insight Pte Ltd for NVPC, sought to gain insights on volunteerism and philanthropy in Singapore to encourage a giving nation. It covered individuals aged 15 years old and above who are mainly Singapore residents (Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents) and non-residents but excluded e.g. tourists. A total of 1,828 interviews were completed from June to August 2014. 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 in schools (except where it exceeded the compulsory hours). The survey has been carried out once every two years since 2000. 

To read the full report, download the PDF below.