A Mountain-Top Experience @ Basecamp

A Mountain-Top Experience @ Basecamp

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Thank you to the organizers of Groundup ConneXion for the opportunity to be part of your networking event.

I believe I have gained more than I have given as I get to share my heartbeat for volunteer management and how we can build impact and humanity with volunteers as well as meet and be inspired by the groundups. Read more about the power of many in our reflection of the event at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/power-many-james-lim/.

All the best to one and all who work tirelessly for good!
Thanks to our Fuel-Gooder Sharon for covering the event. You can find her coverage of the event below:


On 10 February 2018, James was invited to speak at a GroundUp ConneXion event on volunteer management. The event was co-organised by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) and the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM). GroundUp ConneXion was to be a platform which gathers representatives from various GroundUp Movements (GUMs) in Singapore to network, share and level up the great work they do. And given James’ passion and Emmaus’ mission to “fuel good”, this was to be a great honor and also an opportunity not to be missed. Inspirationally, it was held at BaseCamp.Cafe, a groundup initiative that provides an inexpensive trust-based community space for anyone to use or host events.

“A base camp is a place where you can be who you are.”

The three speakers for the night were Choy Yee Mun, Assistant Director of NVPC, Li Woon Churdboonchart, Founder of Volunteer Switchboard and our very own James Lim, Founder of Emmaus Strategies.

Yee Mun presented interesting perspectives on the macro trends of local volunteerism and philanthropy. Li Woon shared powerful heart-warming stories on creating impactful volunteer opportunities for both individuals and corporates. And James shared handles and tips from his breadth of experiences as a Volunteer Manager with 2 multiservice Social Service Organizations (SSOrgs). All these were indeed helpful in helping the ground-ups galvanise the community for their various causes.

“A leader who produces other leaders multiples their influences.” ~ John Maxwell

During the lively Q&A panel session that followed, representatives from various GUMs interacted with the speakers for their advice on volunteer engagement and retention.

One interesting question raised was:

“How do you motivate volunteers who do not directly serve beneficiaries?” ~ The Singapore Glove Project

Summing up some tips from the speakers:

  • It is to be an educational process and will take time. We can start by helping our volunteers see Singapore being our home.
  • Point volunteers back to the organization’s mission and their passion for volunteering.
  • Go upstream and have volunteers advocate for the cause.
  • Empower volunteers to share their feedback and ideas, and to initiate projects as well.
  • Debriefs are also helpful to help volunteers reflect and realise what they have gain and how they have grown from their volunteering.
  • Take the opportunity to feature other volunteers’ stories. This not only reminds the featured volunteer how he/she has benefitted from volunteer but will also go on to inspire other volunteers and prospective volunteers.

It was a fruitful night for all the participants as well as the speakers. James’ final reflections for the night was on the power of many.

“Look at the good that each one of us can do. Now imagine how much more we can do, when we tap into the power of many.”

We look forward to the next engagement!

Sharon is an optimist and idealist who believes that everyone needs to be connected and engaged in something they care about; that we are all helped in the community. She is taking a year off to volunteer with social enterprises started by her friends, Ying Ying from Candlemight Collective and James from Emmaus Strategies, who she feels very inspired by.


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A Mountain-Top Experience @ Basecamp

by James Lim
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