Volunteer opportunities: 26 charities and non-profit organisations you can lend your help to

Volunteering is a meaningful activity that you can (and really should) do either by yourself or with your loved ones when you have time to spare.

There are many charities and non-profit organisations that run on the support from volunteers, so it’s inevitable that you may be overwhelmed by all the various groups that need your help.

To make things easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of places to volunteer in Singapore – these are categorised by causes so that you can identify those that you have a strong passion for or are more comfortable working with:

Volunteering with children

1. Make-A-Wish Foundation

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A child overwhelmed by sickness and treatments may think it is impossible to dream big and have it come true.

This is where Make-A-Wish Foundation Singapore – the only wish-granting foundation here – steps in to turn the child’s wish into a reality. By granting a sick child’s wish, you are helping the child to realise that dreams do come true, and that he or she is in control of his or her own life – including the illness that he or she is living with.

You can either sign up as a volunteer to help execute the wishes of various children, as well as donate money to help make their wishes come true.

Find out more about Make-A-Wish Foundation here.

2. Club Rainbow

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Club Rainbow supports and empowers children suffering from chronic and possibly life-threatening illnesses, as well as their families, by providing compassionate relevant services in their journey towards an enriching life.

Many of the charity’s services are geared towards helping the entire family in a holistic way as every family member is likely to be impacted by the child’s illness in one form or another. Some ways you can help out as a volunteer include tutoring, helping out at events for the children, as well as contributing skills such as photography and videography.

Find out more about Club Rainbow here.

3. ReadAble

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Since January 2014, ReadAble has been running weekly reading and language arts classes for children ages 2 to 15 in a neighbourhood in the Chin Swee area.

By teaching a phonics-based curriculum and a programme which complements the primary school syllabus, the non-profit organisation wants to culminate a love of reading, build self-confidence, and encourage creativity among young children who may not have the resources to do so.

Beyond helping kids to read, they also organise educational excursions to plays and museums, as well as connect kids’ families with community resources, such as school supply donations and workshops by professional educators. Through our BookDrop project, the organisation has also set up conducive study spaces and mini-libraries in kids’ homes.

They welcome any form of help, be it volunteering as a teacher, running a workshop for the teachers or children, sponsoring resources and educational excursions, or offering administrative and professional skills.

Find out more about ReadAble here.

4. Singapore Children’s Society

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Singapore Children’s Society protects and nurtures children and youth of all races and religions. They operate 12 service centres islandwide, offering services in the four categories of: Vulnerable Children and Youth, Children and Youth Services, Family Services, and Research and Advocacy.

They have a variety of volunteering opportunities available for those who want to make a difference in the lives of at-risk kids, including engaging youths in sports, cooking classes, guitar lessons, and cycling activities.

Find out more about Singapore Children’s Society here.

Helping elderly and hospice volunteer

5. Lion’s Befrienders

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Formed in 1995, Lion’s  Befrienders aims to provide friendship and care for seniors to age in place with community participation, enabling them to enjoy meaningful and enriching lives.

Seniors at risk of social isolation are matched to volunteers who provide friendship through weekly home visits. They are invited to engage in activities to stay physically and mentally alert, and keep them plugged into a social network. The organisation also closely monitors the well-being of frail seniors through individual case management and frequent home visits.

As a volunteer, you can either help to relieve the loneliness and isolation of these senior residents by conducting weekly home visits, or join in the engagement of seniors in activities such as making handicrafts, performing simple exercises, and teaching languages.

Find out more about Lion’s Befrienders here.

6. Fei Yue

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Fei Yue is a multi-service social service organisation that serves many different groups in the community, including low-income families, children of special needs, couples looking for adoptive children or strengthening their marriages, prison inmates and their families, the active aged to the vulnerable seniors, youth-at-risk, as well as children who face domestic family abuse.

Apart from the direct services, the organisation also provides equipping and training programmes, conduct research studies and engage the communities through their outreach efforts.

Fei Yue is seeking volunteers in these three aspects: helping the elderly with decluttering, adhoc admin and communication work, as well as working with transnational families as a translator or be-friender.

Find out more about Fei Yue here.

7. HCA Hospice

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HCA Hospice is Singapore’s largest home hospice care provider that provides comfort and support to patients with life-limiting illnesses regardless of age, religion, ethnicity, nationality and financial status.

HCA’s core service, home hospice care, is provided at no charge to about 3,600 patients annually. Besides medical care for patients, this service also entails psychological support for patients and caregivers. It also provides palliative care and conducts palliative care training for its patients’ caregivers. Its other services and programmes include day hospice care, paediatric palliative care, bereavement support, and outreach programmes.

You can make a difference in the lives of patients at HCA in many ways, be it simple administrative tasks, teaching arts and craft, or even assisting in therapy activities and accompanying the patients to their medical check-ups.

Find out more about HCA Hospice here.

Volunteering for Women & girls

8. Babes Pregnancy Crisis Support

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From 1999 to 2003, an average of five babies were abandoned each year, and a 2004 study on teenage pregnancy in Singapore by PromiseWorks revealed that pregnant teens lacked information and support and needed assistance and guidance.

With the notion that teenagers with unplanned pregnancies needed support so that they do not resort to drastic measures out of desperation and ignorance, Babes Pregnancy Crisis Support was formed.

Positioned as a service for teenage girls in a pregnancy crisis, it started with a 24-hour SMS helpline for girls to contact them, and then more activities such as workshops and camps have been added to the repertoire of help provided.

Volunteering at Babes is generally ad-hoc in nature as they are not centre-based. The minimum period of commitment depends on the assignment involved. There are three main tracks: befriending, skill-based/ project-based/ CSR, as well as adhoc support.

Find out more about Babes Pregnancy Crisis Support here.

9. Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO)

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SCWO has more than 50 member organisations, which represent over 500,000 women, and serves to unite them to work toward ideals of ‘Equal Space, Equal Voice and Equal Worth’ for women in Singapore.

Hence, they work towards improving the status of women in Singapore in all fields, as well as providing direct and support services that address the needs of women in Singapore, with special focus on the needs of vulnerable women.

They have various volunteering opportunities available if you want to lend a hand. These include Star Shelter (safe temporary refuge for women and their children who are victims of family violence), New2U Thrift Shop (provides affordable pre-loved clothes, books and small household items), as well as IT Hub (offers classes of a relaxed and gentle-paced nature that teaches its students of all ages basic computer skills).

Find out more about Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO) here.

Volunteer work for the Community

10. Food From The Heart

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Food from the Heart is a non-profit organisation that feeds the needy through its food distribution programme. It was established in February 2003 when Singapore-based Austrian couple Henry and Christine Laimer decided to channel surplus food from bakeries to those in need.

Today, they reach out to the less-fortunate and brighten their lives by alleviating hunger through a food distribution programme and bringing joy through the distribution of toys and birthday celebrations.

You can help the organisation to serve over 40,300 beneficiaries in Singapore through means such as packing of food supplies, and distributing them to the needy.

Find out more about Food From The Heart here.

11. Habitat for Humanity

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Habitat for Humanity works towards building decent homes across Asia-Pacific and rehabilitating flats in Singapore for vulnerable families, so that everyone can have dignified living conditions.

They have both local and overseas volunteer programmes – the local ones focus on decluttering and refurbishing homes for vulnerable elderly, persons with disabilities & low-income families, while the overseas programmes are short-term trips that help to build houses in countries such as Indonesia and Thailand.

Find out more about Habitat for Humanity here.

12. TOUCH Community Services

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TOUCH started in 1986 as a service for latch-key children in the neighbourhoods of Clementi and Jurong, and since then has expanded to help individuals from all religions and races, including children, youths, families, people with special and healthcare needs and the elderly.

Due to the large scale that TOUCH operates on, there are many different volunteering opportunities available, no matter which cause or target group you would like to work with. Some examples include delivering meals and teaching IT skills to the elderly.

Find out more about TOUCH Community Services here.

13. Yellow Ribbon Project

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Every year, more than 9,000 ex-offenders complete their sentences and are released from the various prisons and drug rehabilitation centres (DRCs). However, many ex-offenders have to live with the stigma of having served time behind bars when they are released from prison

The Yellow Ribbon Project seeks to engage the community in giving ex-offenders a second chance at life and to inspire a ripple effect of concerted community action to support ex-offenders and their families.

Their work is focused on inspiring more Singaporeans to accept ex-offenders into their lives and encourages more to come forward to demonstrate support for the campaign.

Find out more about Yellow Ribbon Project here.

14. Salvation Army

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Committed to serving the underprivileged in the community without discrimination, Salvation Army has diverse programmes that reach out to children who need care and protection, families in material need, ailing aged requiring quality nursing care, and other needy segments in society.

For those who need help finding their identity and purpose in life, Salvation Army’s spiritual ministry also reaches out to the people in the community to provide counsel to those in need.

You can either support an existing programme, or initiate a project of your own for the beneficiaries. Examples of existing programmes include academic mentoring for youths, sharing a skill, as well as Christmas Kettling (the signature public campaign to raise funds).

Find out more about Salvation Army here.

15. Willing Hearts

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Wholly run by volunteers and a handful of staff, Willing Hearts operates a soup kitchen that prepares, cooks and distributes about 5,000 daily meals to over 40 locations island wide all-year-round.

Beyond just providing meals, Willing Hearts also extends more services to its beneficiaries, including: dental care, TCM treatments, optical care, legal aid, tuition services, and bereavement services.

As the kitchen is open every day of the year, they are always looking for volunteers to help with preparation of ingredients, packing of lunch boxes, cleaning and washing, and other general tasks.

Find out more about Willing Hearts here.

Volunteering for Migrant Workers

16. Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME)

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Founded in 2004, HOME is dedicated to supporting and empowering migrant workers who suffer abuse and exploitation.

They provide direct assistance, shelter and free food for domestic workers who have been abused, legal aid for migrant workers, and Skills training and capacity-building programmes.

As a small NGO, they rely heavily on volunteers to assist with direct services, run programmes/activities, befriend the migrant workers, and fund-raising. However, take note that you have to commit to at least a six-month stint (at least twice a week) for case work and befriending work.

Find out more about HOME here.

17. Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2)

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Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) is dedicated to assisting low-wage migrant workers in Singapore when they are in difficulty, such as when they are exploited by their employers and suffering from prejudice in our society.

The work that TWC2 can be very broadly classed into two kinds: Advocacy and Direct Services. Advocacy is when they draw attention to the factors that cause or contribute to the problems faced by migrant workers as a vulnerable community, while Direct Services provides more immediate help, such as subsidising transport, providing free meals, and organising leisure activities to promote well-being.

If you are interested in volunteering, take note that there is a structured programme that begins with Heartbeat, a monthly introductory session for prospective volunteers.

Find out more about TWC2 here.

Volunteer work for Healthcare

18. Singapore Red Cross Society

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Dedicated to relieving human suffering, protecting human lives and dignity and responding to emergencies, Singapore Red Cross Society provides different health services to the community, including blood donation.

Volunteers are not required to have medical knowledge, as they can help out in areas such as organising and executing blood drives, as well as fundraising through events such as charity concerts and bake sales.

Find out more about Singapore Red Cross Society here.

Volunteer work with the Disabled

19. Movement for the Intellectually Disabled in Singapore (MINDS)

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MINDS provides equal opportunities for children with intellectual disabilities to receive education, and help them to integrate into society as they grow older.

They run four Special Education Schools, three Employment Development Centres, eight Training and Development Centres, two Homes (one for adults, one for children), one Hostel (for adults), and a Caregivers Support Centre and home-based care services to cater to the educational, vocational, social and welfare needs of people with intellectual disability.

You can volunteer on a regular basis by assisting in weekly classes on life skills, as well as other areas of expertise that you would like to teach the children (e.g. art and craft, photography, baking, cooking, swimming etc.).

Find out more about MINDS here.

20. Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) Singapore

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RDA Singapore provides free equine-assisted therapy (also known as hippotherapy) to children and adults with physical and mental disabilities. Beneficiaries who have undergone this therapy can sit up longer, walk unaided or who have become more sociable after riding with RDA Singapore.

Volunteering roles include, but are not limited to assisting in the therapy sessions as a side walker, horse leader or coordinator (no horse experience needed!), helping out with barn work, as well as adhoc admin work.

Find out more about RDA Singapore here.

21. Very Special Arts (VSA) Singapore

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Very Special Arts Singapore is dedicated to providing opportunities for people with disabilities to be involved in the arts.

For the past 25 years, VSA Singapore has been running art programmes, workshops, competitions and art exhibitions for the special needs community. Through these programmes, individuals with disabilities are integrated into mainstream society through the arts, and also able to obtain financial independence through arts and arts-creation

They welcome anyone who is willing to help out with and supervise the kids at art workshops and classes, as well as assist with admin work.

Find out more about VSA Singapore here.

Volunteering for Animal Welfare & Environment

22. Love Kuching Project

Love Kuching Project is a community-based cat rescue group located in Singapore. They rescue and rehabilitate sick and injured community cats and promote the love of cats as companion animals through cat therapy.

If you have specific skills, you can volunteer long-term in team-specific roles (e.g. videography, accounting). Other areas that require help include conducting cat therapy sessions for seniors in nursing homes as well as children and young adults with special needs.

You can even have your cat help out with Love Kuching Project’s feline-assisted activity program and bring the love of kitties to the humans who need it most!

Find out more about Love Kuching Project here.

23. Voices for Animals

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Voices for Animals is actively involved in animal rescue, be it dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, or other domesticated pets, stray feeding, and re-homing of the animals.

They welcome volunteers that can help out with any of these aspects, since the team is comprised has full-time jobs and can be short-handed at times. You can write in to sign up as a volunteer and find out what they require help with.

Find out more about Voices for Animals here.

24. Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES)

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ACRES is Singapore’s first facility dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of animals rescued from the illegal wildlife trade and injured native wild animals. They are dedicated to ending the illegal wildlife trade both through its rescue efforts, and serving as a centre for education on this important issue.

They currently take in non-venomous species of reptiles and amphibians, both individuals rescued from the illegal wildlife trade and native reptiles and amphibians in need of veterinary care. Animals housed include snakes, tortoises, turtles and lizards. Educational programmes are also conducted for visitors to learn more about the illegal trade and how to protect wildlife in Singapore.

Volunteering opportunities include rescuing of wild animals, caring of the animals in the sanctuary, as well as conducting outreach programmes.

Find out more about ACRES here.

25. Cat Welfare Society

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The society has a two-pronged approach: the first being pushing through an islandwide stray cat sterilisation programme so that with less cats all around, they will receive the attention that they need, and the second being community mediation, working alongside government partners to always choose a humane approach to community issues over an easy way out.

Caregiving is one of the most important roles in cat welfare, hence it is a main area in which you can volunteer your time with. The scope includes promoting and practising responsible feeding, sterilising cats, and reporting cases of abuse to SPCA, AVA and the police.

For those who can commit in the long term and have specific skills to share, you can also consider a management role or helping as an administrative coordinator.

Find out more about Cat Welfare Society here.

26. Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD)

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ASD is a non-profit organization with the mission to improve the welfare of stray and abandoned dogs in Singapore with a strict no-kill policy.

They fulfil this mission through various activities and programs including rescuing, fostering and re-homing of stray and abandoned dogs, advocating sterilisation to control the stray population, and responsible pet ownership.

They are constantly in need of volunteers for a variety of activities and duties, be it fostering, re-homing, or fundraising, so you can let them know where you think you can best help.

Find out more about ASD here.