12 Dec 2008
Senior management execs, staff and sales force put an unconventional spin to fundraising in aid of needy Singaporeans affected by economic downturn
SINGAPORE, 12 December 2008 - To assist needy Singaporeans affected by the economic downturn, NTUC Income will be embarking on an organisation-wide charity drive involving its senior management team, all staff and its sales force to raise at least $300,000 through a series of unconventional fund-raising activities.
Titled Project Love, the charity initiative comprises off-beat and quirky events conceptualised by NTUC Income staff, that stand out for involving the active participation of senior management.
An eventful three-week long period which kicked off on 9 December features two individual dares and eight fringe events, including yoga sessions led by NTUC Income's CEO Tan Suee Chieh, a 42-hour hunger drive by a Senior Vice President, car wash in costume by three female Senior Vice Presidents, a cabaret by the sales division, a head shaving fundraiser by the female Head of Public Affairs, and a football match between NTUC Income staff and Singapore's former national team players.
In addition, individual company departments will run their own fund-raising activities, such as movie trivia quiz and sale of bears with wacky financial names (Paddy the Prompt Payment Bear and Faith the Financially Stable Bear).
Every single cent collected in Project Love will go to charity. NTUC Income has received pledges close to $200,000 to date.
The funds raised will go towards NTUC's Care and Share programme, an umbrella initiative by the Labour Movement covering several programmes aimed at helping the poor, needy, children and elderly. Part of the proceeds will also go towards the Moral Home for Disabled, the Singapore Children's Society, and Action for Aids. The small amounts raised by the departments will be used for fulfilling wishes such as towels, sleepwear, slippers, soap and shampoo from some homes for the elderly and needy.
When recent newspaper articles reported that corporations would be reducing their contributions to charity in 2009, the impact that this development would have on those who are already in financial difficulty gave NTUC Income's charity drive a real focus and a sense of urgency.
Mr Tan explained that the rationale for Project Love stemmed from NTUC Income's desire to do well and to do good. He said: 'While NTUC Income's professional aim is to attain commercial excellence, we are mindful of our important social purpose to help those who need it most. To that end, every year, we contribute towards the community and to charities through our corporate social responsibility programmes. We also look for interesting ways to garner staff participation.
'This year, we decided to organize a wide scale campaign featuring several individual dares and a myriad of somewhat wacky fringe activities. The idea being that we wanted as many staff as possible to be involved and for them to have as much fun as possible while doing good.'
To capitalize on the popularity and ease of communications using social networking tools, NTUC Income will be sharing details of Project Love, including event highlights, photos and updates on the fundraising progress, on Facebook. This can be accessed by Facebook users by typing 'Income Love' in the search field. Details are also available at the following website: http://projectlove.income.com.sg.
Mr Tan described the use of social media as being inspired by US President-Elect Barack Obama's highly successful election campaign strategy, where the outreach was to the mass electorate and ordinary individuals using contemporary media platforms, as opposed to the traditional method of garnering support and contributions from corporations and powerful lobby groups.
He added: 'We decided therefore that rather than make an outright corporate donation to charities, we would seek individual donations from our staff and sales force. We are also reaching out to business partners for donations in their personal capacity. A corporate contribution made up of individual donations would be a powerful demonstration of our social purpose during these times. Again, inspired by Mr Obama, our chosen platform for communication is the internet.'
About 1,000 NTUC Income staff would be involved in the fundraising. The company has about 1,500 staff and 500 financial consultants.
A brief Synopsis of Events
CEO Yoga Session - Bend Over Backwards for Charity
NTUC Income CEO Tan Suee Chieh, who has been practising yoga for about four years, will be leading yoga sessions at the NTUC Income Centre Auditorium which staff may participate in simply by making a donation.
A group of 60 people is expected for the first session, which is the capacity for the Auditorium.
Quote by Mr Tan: 'I have asked my staff to bend over backwards for charity - Laurence on a 42 hour hunger strike and Caroline to shave her hair. And as I felt that it is important to lead example, I am also doing something unusual to raise funds.
'I thought for the staff to see me in various yoga poses - twisting my legs round my head, stand on my head, touching my ear with my toes - would fit the bill and keep them entertained. This is my bending over backwards for charity!
'Besides, we advocate work-life balance and a healthy lifestyle, and yoga is an excellent form of activity for people of all ages, types and health status.'
Charity Car Wash - Suee Chieh's Angels Will Wash
Three female Senior Vice-Presidents will roll up their sleeves to generate donations by washing cars at NTUC Income Centre's basement car park, dressed up as Charlie's Angels.
Head Shaving Fundraiser - Boldly Bald
NTUC Income's Public Affairs Head Caroline Fernandez will have her head shaved bald for charity at this dedicated fundraising event, with contributions expected from on-the-spot donations and amounts pledged by staff, friends and business associates.
Charity Hunger Drive - Hungry for LOVE
NTUC Income's Senior Vice President and General Manager for Partnership Distribution, Laurence Wong, embarked on a 42-hour long fast to raise funds for charity. He lived within the office premises for the duration of the fast and was monitered on CCTV cameras. His updates on his progress were shared via Facebook. The dare culminated in a buffet dinner at the NUSS Guild House, where he broke his fast and shared his thoughts and experiences. Mr Wong's fast raised about $35,000.
Charity Football Fundraiser - Cup of LOVE
A team comprising of selected NTUC Income staff will be pitted against the former Singapore national team who competed in the Malaysia Cup. Players expected to make an appearance include household names like Dollah Kassim, Quah Kim Song, V Sundramoorhty, David Lee, T Patmanathan, Nazri Nasir, Malek Awab, Amin Nasir and Steven Tan. The game will be refereed by Joanne Tan, one of the few licensed woman referees in Singapore.
About NTUC Income
Established in 1970 in response to the growing needs for affordable insurance, NTUC Income has become a leading life, health and general insurer, earning the trust of 1.8 million customers.
The $20 billion company has been rated 'AA' by independent credit ratings agency, Standard & Poor's since 1999, the highest accolade given to a domestic insurer in Asia, reflecting a strong financial profile, flexibility and capacity to meet new challenges.
NTUC Income's insurance plans benefit large numbers of Singaporeans from all strata of society, and the company supports the community through financial contributions to charities and other worthy causes.