Filos Community Services is a not-for-profit social service organization that focuses on building the strengths of the community we live in by working towards empowering individuals and families to live more fulfilling, meaningful and happier lives. Find out about the help they received from their volunteer Shu Min to create an activity booklet for the elderly in their care and how they learnt about the importance of aligning expectations, communication and flexibility throughout the creative process.
Filos: Founded in 2004, Filos Community Services is a not-for-profit social service organisation. We focus on building the strengths of the community we live in, and we work towards empowering individuals and families to live more fulfilling, meaningful and happier lives. Whether it is equipping young families with parenting skills, shaping character in children, educating our youth, helping the elderly age in place with grace, or assisting the financially needy, our programmes and services have something for all ages.
The projects that we require creative/design help with span across different departments, from eldercare to children and youth. These projects include production of marketing collateral (such as videos, brochures and edms) for our programmes and campaigns as well as designing of materials (such as activity booklets) for our beneficiaries.
MM: What’s your usual process looking for a creative/skilled volunteer?
Filos: We will start by designing the volunteer role based on the project requirements. Thereafter, we will post the project and role description on various platforms such as makingmeaning.net and giving.sg so that interested volunteers may get in touch with us. If you are an existing volunteer with Filos, we may also reach out to you directly to invite you to join us on the project!
MM: What was your main goal going into this project?
Filos: The main goal was to design original, aesthetically pleasing artwork and layout for an Activity Booklet for our senior beneficiaries. The Activity Booklet should include fun activities and tips that can help keep our seniors mentally engaged.
MM: How was your experience working on this project apart from what you’ve already mentioned?
Filos: Our programme coordinator had an enjoyable time working with Shu Min. The only challenge they faced was in ensuring effective communication while not being able to immediately clarify any ideas with each other. As Shu Min had to work in the day (and understandably so) and could only reply at night, their responses to each other could be delayed so effective communication was key to ensuring the successful completion of the project.
MM: How was the project received and what was the impact?
Filos: The project was well-received and the seniors really appreciated the drawings and design of the Activity Booklet!
MM: What did you learn or discover through this process, and what would your key takeaway be?
Filos: We learnt that we have to remain flexible when working with skills-based volunteers as they may have different working schedules or working styles. We also have to be clear in our expectations of the project and where possible, provide more details or examples for the volunteers so that we can have a common understanding of the end product and work towards it together. The key takeaway would be the importance of clear communication.
MM: What impact do you feel creative volunteers help bring to your organisation and the community?
Filos: We feel that they are able to provide different perspectives on how the organisation can approach each project and explore varied ways to engage the community. As a result, the impact of the project can be amplified through these combined efforts.
MM: How else could Making Meaning help support you (the non-profit) better?
Filos: The current system allows us to post volunteer opportunities with little hassle, which is great! It would also be good if there is a function for the project pages to be filtered by specific categories, such as project types or skills (e.g. video production, phototaking, graphic design). This could benefit both the organisation and individuals looking to volunteer specific skills.
We look forward to seeing Making Meaning continue to grow its pool of creative and design volunteers. This is definitely a very useful and much appreciated initiative that helps non-profit organisations, like Filos, reach out to those who would like to use their skills to benefit the community.
MM: What other kinds of content or resources would be useful for non-profits such as yourselves?
Filos: We would love to have a blog with curated content for non-profits! For example, recommendations of free design tools for creation of online/social media posts or tips on effective design would be useful. Detailed video tutorials or interactive, live zoom sessions that allows non-profits staff to have hands-on practice on design programmes/tools would help as well. (MM: Ok! Coming soon!!)