Shiffa works as a Senior Executive Officer in the Fund Raising team at AMP Singapore, a social service agency that aims to build a dynamic Muslim community through its programmes and services. Having volunteered from a young age, she now endeavours to drive positive change through her work.
Can you tell us why you joined social service?
I’d have to attribute this to my family, especially my parents. They’ve been role models to how I approach life, in the sense that no matter where they go, they’ve always sought opportunities to do good.
Take for example my father, who is the sole breadwinner of my family. Despite having raised a family of six, my parents have always found the capacity to contribute to society through donations, or volunteerism. Inevitably, they’ve been incredibly supportive of me pursuing activities that help others.
In my student days, I joined co-curricular activities which allowed me to engage and contribute to the community in small, but meaningful ways, such as visiting the underserved to assist them. I also ran events and camps to help serve the vulnerable and helped tutor underprivileged children.
So when it was time for me to pick a career, social service was a natural choice!
That’s remarkable. What was your first job like?
When I graduated from polytechnic, I joined an agency that provides support to cancer-stricken patients and their families, and worked on the Projects & Community Services team for eight months. Despite the short stint, it was good exposure because it was fast-paced but packed with insightful experiences. In fact, it helped me build foundational skills and experience in campaign work, which mirrors a lot of what I do at AMP!
Tell us more about your role at AMP.
I’m part of the three-person Fund raising team and together, we organise events, collaborate with stakeholders, and participate in grant applications for our programmes. These involve speaking to donors, working with the media for a campaign, and even being on-ground to run a whole event!
It sounds like you work with others a lot! Why is it important to work together?
Helen Keller once said: “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much”. And fund raising is all about collaborating towards a common goal. In fact, it’s very similar to clockwork. A clock only works when every single part of it is functional. And in the same vein, each one of us represents a different part of a clock. So in order for us to achieve our goals, we must work hand in hand.
Additionally, innovation is especially important in our line of work. Whether we’re organising a dinner, a concert, or a radio programme, we continually need to be creative when seeking ways to raise funds. Hence, I’m always thankful to have a whole team of like-minded individuals who are always willing to volunteer ideas and solutions.
Tell us about a particularly memorable experience you’ve had.
I received an email from a gamer who said that he wanted to raise funds for AMP during the Ramadan period by playing games. He explained that this particular game would reward players with actual money if more players were involved. We were perplexed but intrigued, and proceeded to formalise the paperwork. Little did we know, he’d invited a whole community of gamers and over just one weekend, they’d raised a tidy little sum and donated it all to AMP! It goes to show that there are multiple ways of giving, and donors can come from anyone in society!
That’s impressive! And how does your work impact the community?
When we are able to raise more funds, these funds are funnelled back to the organisation so they may assist a larger pool of those in need. Personally, I find it most heartening when we host disbursements. For example, when we raise funds for tertiary students who are in need and hold a ceremony to disburse the funds to them. One of the disbursements in 2019 witnessed the highest number of recipients, where almost the entire auditorium was filled with students and their family members. There’s nothing quite like seeing how your work can help many pursue their own dreams and ambitions.
A Fundraising Executive is one of many roles in social service. To find out more, click here
Shiffa works with her team on a fundraising campaign.