Just the way ride-sharing apps like Grab and Uber match drivers with riders, the Ministry of Culture, Communications and Youth is looking to launch an app to match charities with volunteers.
In the near future, charitable organisations may be able to be matched with a volunteer with the relevant skills and expertise through an app, says the Ministry.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Grace Fu said in Parliament that there is a need to tap technology to promote volunteerism.
She said: “Today, about 50% of Singaporeans are familiar with online giving, and 25% actively support charitable social media campaigns.
“Technology has made it easy and convenient for us to provide quick help, collaborate and form community.
“We will study how to harness the power of technology for social good and provide a one-stop avenue, where Singaporeans, especially those with the desire to help but do not know where or how to start, can easily find volunteering opportunities.”
MCCY told The New Paper that it hopes to have a platform that can better match people by interests, skills and time availability to the volunteering opportunities.
Tasks can range from ad hoc matters and informal opportunities, such as walking dogs and buying groceries, to matching an organisation to volunteers for sustained help, such as befriending.
The National Council of Social Service (NCSS) will also study if artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to match volunteers to openings.
Industry players agree with the move to have an app to match charities with volunteers
Charity Council chairman Gerard Ee said that the “platform could function as some sort of concierge service whereby someone who needs something is matched to someone who is able to meet that need”.
He added that other countries such as the United States and Britain already have such platforms that match volunteers those who need help.
With AI, people can even be matched by geographical distribution and preferences, Mr Ee said.
Singapore Children’s Society chief executive Alfred Tan concurred, saying that having a database of volunteers on the platform would make it easier to match them with organisations.
An app to match charities with volunteers will also have its risks
Of course, every app will come with its risks. Mr Ee warns that apps like this must still be used with caution.
“You are still dealing with strangers, so there has to be an administrator with protocols to safeguard users and do basic verification of those in the database,” he said.
Mr Delane Lim, executive director of the Character and Leadership Academy, added that long-term volunteer engagements such as befriending may also require additional interviews and assessments of the volunteers.
“If I am looking for volunteers to do logistics work or selling flags, then the app will be useful. But if I am looking for volunteer befrienders, then I need to be careful who I am selecting,” he added.
The app to match charities with volunteers will be beneficial
Having an app like this in place will encourage greater volunteerism and can also act as a platform for charities to reach out to more donors.
The Commissioner of Charities (COC) plans to establish shared services to help small charities comply with regulatory requirements.
The COC will develop a visibility guide to help charities show donors how their money is helping beneficiaries.
This transparency will encourage trust in the public to donate to charities.
Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, said: “To cultivate a caring society, we require a strong charity sector that inspires confidence and encourages people to step forward and contribute with peace of mind.”
Source: The New Paper
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