Ms Anita Fam (President, NCSS) emphasised the need to embrace the ‘Pay-What-It-Takes’ approach as a considerable mindset shift to recognise the true cost of service delivery, to develop and sustain social service agencies’ capabilities in delivering effective care. Mr Masagos Zulkifli (Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Health) announced the launch of the Sustainable Philanthropy Framework in Q1 2024, to propel corporates towards sustainable and holistic giving through donations, volunteering and inclusive hiring practices.
Distinguished guests included Mr Ho Kwon Ping (Founder and Executive Chairman, Banyan Tree Holdings and Laguna Resorts and Hotels, and Executive Chairman, Thai Wah Public Company), who shared insights: on building a values-driven sector, whereby social service agencies and corporates share a symbiotic relationship instead of a transactional one in the ecosystem and could learn more from one another to effectively create more impact.
Mr Ho thought profit and non-profit organisations should have a symbiotic relationship, as part of an enabling ecosystem to make the world a better place for service users. He shared that in such ecosystem partnerships, profit and non-profit organisations can learn from each other and offered key recommendations to strengthen these relationships:
Both sides could interact in a more structured and collaborative manner beyond just transactional exchange of donations or volunteers, for example, having short term job swops or shadowing opportunities to allow real personal transformation to both set of leaders, thus enabling deep understanding of each organisation’s challenges.
Both sectors should be more values driven (compass) instead of focusing only on objectives (direction) and metrics (outcomes), for example, forming networks to understand each other's values in practice could provide insights to help solve problems collectively.
Both sides to work on actionable metrics that could transform common values into performance, for example, sharing and learning from each other on how the efficacy of social purpose could be measured on each side.
Mr Ho believed the fundamental role of business is to change society for good delivered in a different means. He likened the ecosystem partnerships to that of a family unit, having the economic sectors build the houses and the social service sector create the home for our society.
In a candid exchange between Mr Chatri Sityodtong (Chief Executive Officer, ONE Championship), and Dr Roland Yeow (Executive Director, Boys’ Town), participants were inspired by their sharing on how their personal life stories and values have influenced their organisation business model and approaches to leadership; to harness the power of story-telling and to celebrate heroes who have transformed lives.
Mr Sityodtong, a self-made entrepreneur and lifelong martial artist from Thailand, shared how his rags-to-riches life story has shaped ONE’s mission, values and driving force to unleash real-life superheroes to inspire transformation of lives around the world.
He strongly believed at the root of each organisation’s ethos, is human stories that can inspire and move people into action, and he encouraged social service sector leaders to reflect on their stories to make their mission deeply personal to enable successful transformation of lives.
In finding the right partners to work with, he shared the importance of research and how social service agencies could go beyond standard presentations to connect through storytelling and values.
He saw how leaders’ lived values could inspire a sense of greatness and help uphold the standards of excellence for the organisation and urged leaders to hire people with the right values (can teach skills but hard to teach values), and those who want to join the organisation for the right reasons.
In gist, Mr Sityodtong believed that success is intrinsic and to go fast, one could go alone but to go far, there is a need for leaders to go together with others.
The panel discussion between Mr Muhammad Azri Azman (Chairman, Muhammadiyah Welfare Home), Ms Aileen Ng (Chief Strategy Officer, Montfort Care), facilitated by Ms Tan Li San (Chief Executive Officer, NCSS), provided real-life insights into social service agencies’ opportunities and challenges and the considerations both Boards and Management faced, highlighting the importance in creating deeper connections with sector partners to drive change for a future-directed social service sector.
A group of young and energetic vocalists with disabilities from ART:DIS Singapore and Acapella Anonymous delivered renditions of familiar tunes such as “Home” and “Stand by Me” and engaged the audience to join their voices as one.