The Zeles App: An easy way to Volunteer in Singapore.
Updated: Jun 1, 2021
Plus you'll get rewarded for it too!
Be the good in the world. There's always a need for more volunteers.
Have you been thinking about volunteering? I absolutely think you should. That one or two hours of time you give to someone else might be the best time of their day.
Being kind to others is recognised by Positive Psychology as one of the most powerful ways you can build Meaning and Happiness in your life. When we turn our attention outward to the world and focus on how we can make it even just a bit better, we in turn also understand more about ourselves and our purpose in this life.
To read more about my personal experience, I've shared some lessons that volunteering has taught me in this article, 5 precious lessons I've learned from being a volunteer befriender. I'd love it if you could check it out.
One of the difficulties about volunteering in Singapore is finding a charity or non-profit to volunteer for. It takes a fair bit of googling, and then you have to call or email to express your interest. That's what I had to do, and it's still not always a green light.
Many times I either got ignored (oh the rejection!) or they preferred somebody who could spare more time than I was able to give then.
Enter the Zeles App.
After downloading and signing-up on the app (takes just a minute), your dashboard will show you some of the current volunteering opportunities out there.
The Zeles Dashboard
You can click on each activity to find out more. For example, The New Charis Mission, in partnership with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), are looking for people who can help clean-up, repaint, and prepare a home that will be provided to an elderly person who is currently home-less.
From there, it's a one-click step to sign up. Once, you've done that, someone from the non-profit organisation will contact you to give you more information. And then off you go to spread some kindness to the world.
Can it get any easier than this?
There are currently more than 70 non-profits listed on the App.
Of course, some non-profits are much more active than others and thus require more volunteers. You also definitely have the broad option of choosing organisations that are aligned with your values, e.g. Mental health, the Elderly, Youths, special needs and so forth.
Some of the non-profits are shown below.
Some Non-profits on Zeles.
My experience on the Zeles App.
As you might have caught from my first screenshot above, I've currently completed (only) four hours of activity with the Zeles App. Don't judge hor! These were with SASCO, a non-profit that does elderly outreach and conducts daycare activities for them.
I'm currently signed up to teach computer skills to an elderly person every Saturday at SASCO Khatib. It's been lovely so far.
In one session, I've showed a nice auntie how to use the computer, how to set up a Facebook account, how to add friends, as well as helped her post five Facebook posts within five minutes of each other. Yes, she has learned the art of spamming. She was thrilled though!
I also got to share with her the signs of an online scam so that she can be watchful for herself. It's fun work. So much so that I signed up to teach another computer class at their Compassville branch (below). I'm also waiting for Sage Counselling center to get back to me.
My activities on Zeles.
The Plus: You get rewarded for the time you give to others.
As kindness is about helping someone without expecting anything in return, this obviously should not be the main reason you volunteer. However, it's a nice little token of appreciation to you for giving your time.
Rewards are all sponsored by various companies, including Tea Valley, Coffee Bean and even Jurong Bird Park.
Each hour you volunteer constitutes 1 VoPoint. So four hours of volunteering for me gave me 4 points. You can redeem these points for a number of goodies, including:
2 points = A complimentary drink from Tea Valley
5 points = An Original Chinese Painting or Polar Puffs $5 voucher
6 points = A drink from Coffee Bean or $5 Popular voucher
9 points = Free entry to Jurong Bird Park
10+ points = NTUC vouchers and more
Some things to note.
Volunteering in the Pandemic.
Since we're in the middle of a mini-lockdown now, face-to-face volunteering might be restricted to just one-to-one or two per group. For example, just like my one-to-one computer class, you can still engage in other one-to-one activities like scrapbooking with an elderly. Or you can take part in two-people outreach programs, like provision of food and necessities to the needy.
There are also tons of virtual volunteering that you can do. There are virtual befriending sessions held online, art classes you can teach, and virtual jogs and walks. When there's a will, there's a way, right?
The Zeles App Userface.
The Zeles App is pretty easy to navigate around, but in my honest opinion, could still use a little bit of work. Some things to watch out for include:
Some organisations post events that are for internal members only. It might be that they are using the app to track their staff's attendance. These are quite obvious to spot, and when you come across them, just simply ignore the activity of course!
Other organisations post events that oddly don't have a sign-up button. My observation so far is that they post these events only after the enrolment date has closed (you can see this on the app too). It might be that they have sourced volunteers outside the app, and are using the app solely to track and reward their volunteers. Again, simply ignore!
You might also notice that certain events have a very long period between the start and end date. It's likely that they are looking for regular volunteers. Check out what's under the Frequency section of the event.
The App's filtering system isn't the best. Currently, you can filter by the type of cause you want to engage in, the skills involved, event location and by dates. It would be great if you could filter by whether it's an adhoc volunteering event or a repeated one. Additionally, as mentioned in the first two points, Zeles might want to seperate internal activities vs. those open to the general public as it gets confusing.
Just an entirely random idea, but it'll be incredibly fun if Zeles provides different tiers for volunteers, much like a loyalty program. For example, if you volunteered twenty hours in a year, you become a silver-star member and you get extra VoPoints. The next tier might be gold, then platinum members might even receive a commemorative plaque. And so forth.
I really like where Zeles is coming from as they've created an easy and fun way to volunteer in Singapore. They've definitely created a solid platform that encourages volunteering and has the potential to turn ordinary people like you and I into regular life-long volunteers.
Do check Zeles out for an easy way to get your volunteering hat on. There are many people out there that could use your care and time. Remember, no matter what skills you have, there's always an avenue for you to make someone's life better. You can be the difference in someone else's life.
That's your gift, now go and give it away.
Thanks for reading Kaya Toast for the Soul. Spread kindness to just one person each week, imagine how much Happiness you'll dispense over your lifetime.