Sport Singapore Volunteer Management Department won a silver award in the most innovative project or policy category with their Project Team Nila at the PS21 ExCEL Awards 2016.
General view of the silver award at Sport Singapore's booth during the PS21 Excel Conference at ITE College Central. Photo: Sport Singapore
Their implementation of the co-created Sports Volunteer Framework – the first of its kind for sports volunteers – has been very successful and garnered much positive feedback since its inception.
But while the project has taken off well, it is still an on-going journey and the job is yet to be finished.
“The focus of this project Team Nila, is not a project per se, but it is actually a whole journey for volunteerism,” said Pauline Loo, Deputy Director of Volunteer Management at Sport Singapore.
Pauline Loo (third from left), Deputy Director of Volunteer Management, Sport Singapore, and her team. Photo: Sport Singapore
“We want to give everyone in Singapore the opportunity to be a volunteer, and in the project itself we actually built the capacity for them to level up their contributions towards the whole sports ecosystem. At the same time, we also engender social inclusivity and integration, and nurture the culture of giving in Singapore," she added.
In order to manage the large number of volunteers who came forward, Sport Singapore had to turn to technology. A search through the available products in the market revealed that there wasn’t a programme that suited the specific needs of Team Nila.
As such, a system had to be developed from scratch, along with many other features that can give the volunteers a more wholesome and meaningful experience, one necessary feature was that it had to allow these tens of thousands of volunteers to choose the area or event in which they wish to participate.
“We have this volunteer management system. It is a hybrid of a human resource system and a deployment system,” Loo said.
“This system is the one that captures all their contributions. So this system also helps the volunteers to check their own records and how many hours they have contributed.
“For the backend, we are also able to do a lot of analytics and also electronic direct mailers and communication.”
Currently, Team Nila has about 12,700 volunteers and this large number means extremely varied interests and motivations, which makes managing them and creating a valuable experience for every single one of them much more challenging.
To engage 12,700 people is no mean feat, especially for such a small team. Hence, the Volunteer Management team had to empower some volunteers leadership roles.
The Volunteer Management team posing with Nila. Photo: Sport Singapore
Alan Chen (above, first from right), Senior Manager of Volunteer Management at Sport Singapore, said: “During our journey, although we also engage and stay connected with sports volunteers themselves. However,
it is no longer merely staff engaging volunteers and staff informing volunteers what to do, but it is more of a collective and collaborative effort whereby volunteer leaders engage fellow volunteers.”