To encourage a culture of volunteerism, Singapore needs to build up its volunteer management capabilities, said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong at the Global Social Innovators Forum today (28 Nov).
Speaking during a panel discussion on shaping the future through inclusive innovation, Mr Wong said that despite its importance, volunteer management capabilities remain quite uneven across the non-profit sector.
“It’s easy to say I want volunteers but what do you do to provide a meaningful opportunity for the person who comes to volunteer? That’s an important area we are working on,” he added.
For example, Mr Wong noted that a young person may not want to continue volunteering if their experience is “relegated to doing menial tasks”.
The forum is an annual gathering of leaders from all sectors here and from other countries to explore how social enterprises and innovations can create income and growth opportunities for a more inclusive and sustainable world.
As Singapore approaches its 50th birthday next year, Mr Wong also addressed potential challenges for the country as it moves into a new phase of development.
Noting that the economy and society operates on different principles, Singapore needs to strengthen its culture of mutual support and responsibility to one another.
“I think that’s at the heart of what inclusive innovation is about. It’s about innovating to expand the opportunities for others, particularly for the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in our society,” he added.
For instance, Mr Wong noted how individuals can set up social enterprises while companies can encourage volunteerism among its staff.
Former president SR Nathan was also honoured with the Social Innovation Park (SIP) Distinguished Fellow award at the event today.
During a fireside chat with the participants, Mr Nathan noted that as a society in transition, there are a lot of issues policy makers need to address and prioritise.
Many innovative solutions have also emerged through social media today, but policymakers will need time to measure the trade-offs of these ideas.