When we think of volunteering or giving back to society, we often think about spending time helping out at orphanages, giving money to charity organisations, distributing food at food banks etc. Apart from these, many of us can actually make a social impact by contributing our professional knowhow to non-profit organisations.
Recently, we had the opportunity to have Mindy Ong, Deputy Director at Singapore's Ministry of Social and Family Development host a virtual social on Supermomos in the form of a brainstorming session with the AMKFSC Community Services, which is a leading community-based social service agency that provides a holistic range of services to support children, youths, families and seniors at multiple touchpoints across Singapore. The aim of the session was to brainstorm ways that technology could be used to help encourage volunteerism by making the volunteer management process more efficient.
Product Managers and Engineers with experience in tech companies like Grab and Apple attended the session and brainstormed with AMKFSC on potential solutions that could be used in volunteer management. It was inspiring to witness how the experience and insights of the product managers and engineers helped influence the thinking of the non profit organisation with regards to the tech solutions that could be considered. They asked very insightful questions and suggested solutions that were different from what an average person untrained in tech would naturally gravitate towards.
For example, for many of us, developing a mobile application that helps to match the skills and availability of volunteers with volunteering needs sounds like a great way to manage volunteers. However, the PMs and Engineers brought up points such as heavy maintenance work required for apps as potential hurdles. The typical nonprofit is very much like a startup — resource constrained in terms of employees and budget, and always needing to achieve the best ROI with limited resources, maximising return on impact and human lives with the least financial investment. Therefore, buying existing web based CRM solutions and tweaking them instead of coding an app from scratch and having to make frequent updates to the app as and when iOS or android operating systems get updated might result in a higher ROI for the team.
Adapting existing paid solutions to suit one's needs might be more efficient on manpower and costs than building a brand new application
We also discussed about in-app games as a potential way to increase engagement of the volunteers, and the PMs shared that games within apps may not have as high engagement as one would have thought - in fact, unicorn startups had experimented with it too and ultimately decided not to have them because of the low take up rates.
This session really validated what we are trying to do at Supermomos, which is to build meaningful connections in professional communities, and to make possible such valuable exchange of information. Such a session allows the tech professionals to give back to society, and also helps forward thinking organisations like AMKFSC Community Services gain the insights needed to digitise.
We'll definitely be hosting more of such sessions, so do keep a lookout for it if you're keen to make a social impact using your professional knowledge!
Sign up here to get on the waitlist!