I think the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) needs to change the questions they ask in their biennial survey on volunteerism.
Otherwise, it all just sounds a bit too chirpy – and unbelievable. And I’m not the only one who thinks that, apparently – in ST, people said they were “surprised” by the findings given that Singaporeans are not “active volunteers”.
So the survey results showed that more people are volunteering. One in three respondents said they volunteered last year – the first time the figure has crossed the 30 per cent mark.
This appears to contradict another recent survey by the World Giving Index, which tagged our national volunteer rate at 8 per cent, giving us a ranking of 140 out of 146 countries surveyed.
Why the difference? Because unlike the Index, which counts acts of volunteering only when it is regular and through a formal organisation, the NVPC’s view is that any act – “as long as the outcome is people helping one another” – can be considered an example of volunteerism.
(So, in the last two hours I can proudly say I’ve logged at least three acts of volunteerism – helping the 7-11 cashier bag my lemon-barley drink; holding the door open for another customer; and taking a call on behalf of my colleague who’s in the loo – Yay!)
TODAY did good by giving us something a bit more concrete to think about: the total number of hours volunteered (up; from 89 million to 91 million) and the average (down; from 104 hours to 72 hours per volunteer).
As did ST, who reported the NVPC head say the challenge for non-profits is to convert occasional volunteers to regular ones, and that at the Red Cross, only 10 per cent of 4,000 are regular volunteers.
But it missed an important number – that last year’s one in three was a rise over 2010’s one in five figures.