Creatives for Causes (here) is a pro-bono communications agency, which seeks to spread awareness and inspire action for social causes, thereby empowering the next generation of creative talents in Singapore. The non-profit was established in July earlier this year, and is looking to match creative volunteers with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which may require different forms of services. Today, we speak to its founder Miss Jeraldine Phneah, who will be sharing about elements of this community endeavour, as well as her thoughts on community service in Singapore.
There have been many new initiatives and community projects in Singapore. How is Creatives for Causes unique, and different from what is already out there?
Creatives for Causes (CFC) is different in many ways. We intend to serve the Singaporean community through our creative services. First of all, we support existing initiatives and non-profits by providing them with our communications expertise. Certain creative services are hard to find and expensive to afford. However, here, we provide them on a pro-bono basis such as graphic design, photography, videography, blogger engagement, public relations.
Secondly, we specifically target skilled volunteers who have niche creative abilities and can contribute to society through their talents and strengths! In this way, our volunteers can build their portfolio and do something for our Singapore society at the same time! Thirdly, we prioritise projects that serve local beneficiaries. We want the world to be a better place but charity begins at home.
How does Creatives For Causes help the community? Is there a pilot project that Creatives for Causes would be working on? What can Singaporeans expect from these communications campaigns?
CFC works towards a more inclusive and creative society through two methods. The first method is via talent matching. We meet up with our clients. If they know what they want already, they’d just provide us with a wish-list. If they don’t, we will analyse their situation and plan a strategy. Following which, we can match creative volunteers to them to execute this plan.
Another way we raise awareness for local causes is initiating our very own communications campaigns. This means we deliberately scout those with very little outreach and offer our help to them. We plan and strategise a communications plan to really help them reach out to the public to get more donations and volunteers. Our first project will be for Willing Hearts. Stay tuned to our FaceBook page (here) to find out what we are exactly doing! In the upcoming months, Singaporeans can definitely expect more online publicity and visibility for charities, nonprofits and social enterprises.
What do you think is the biggest challenge that plagues community service and volunteerism in Singapore? Do you think Creatives for Causes would be able to change this perceived shortcoming?
Before I started CFC, I did analyse the challenges of the volunteerism in Singapore. They are:
Time constraints: the lack of time to volunteer is made worse by the locations of charities as not many of them are accessible easily as they are not located near train stations. CFC addresses this by providing a flexible scheme for our volunteers. We simply send out a mailing list with the time commitment laid out. Furthermore, most of our volunteer work can be done online such as video and photo editing, design and blogging!
Not knowing where to help: very few charities have a good social media presence for people to find them.
Not engaged: charities and non profits often call for volunteers to provide manpower support or event management. However, not everyone is comfortable with organising projects or providing help in such ways. This could be due to lack of interests or time. Everyone has different gifts and talents. At CFC, we try to target those who special talents and who would like to use their creative and artistic ability for social good. In this way, they get to enjoy what they are doing better and nurture their own talents in the process!
Vested interests: some Singaporeans volunteer only because it is of a direct benefit to them. I think it is pretty much human interest to pursue self-interests. This is not something I can change in the short term so what I’ve done in CFC is to tie their self-interests together with societal ones. They’d get to build the portfolio, gain real world experience and benefit society at the same time. Why not?
Have you been involved in other community projects or voluntary undertakings? Which particular experience has been the most memorable or meaningful?
I currently serve as a Grassroots Leader and am also in charge of public communications at the Keep Singapore Beautiful Movement Youth Steering Committee. My most meaningful and memorable experience would be in 2008, back then I was still in junior college and I got to mentor and tutor two beneficiaries from Beyond Social Services. Providing free tuition and mentoring services which would otherwise be very expensive made me feel happy because I was closing the inequality gap for some people.
What does community service mean to you?
Community service to me is about others and yourself. You benefit others by generating happiness in them, meeting their needs and fulfilling their wants. It is also about self actualisation – being innovative and creative, adding meaning to life and tapping on your inner potential to impact society.