Debunking Volunteering Myths

Updated: Jan 24

Volunteering is something that many might consider for retirement. It is not only a meaningful way to spend your retirement years, but it also expands your social network and might improve your health. In fact, most Singaporeans believe that volunteering is important and 70% of Singaporeans have the intention to volunteer.

However, according to a study by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre, only 26% of those age 55-64 volunteer.

So here is us debunking some volunteering myths that might stop you from taking up volunteering in retirement:

It is important to set realistic expectations when engaging in volunteer work.There are roles where you may not see the effect of your effort immediately. However, it is important to understand that every effort counts in helping improve a cause. If seeing the difference you make is important in your volunteering journey, you can consider these roles:

  • Befriending

  • Reading to underprivileged children

  • Lending your professional skills like counselling

Everyone has different priorities in life and volunteering might not be your top priority. This does not mean you should completely disregard volunteering because you are too busy. Approach volunteering as a way to engage in other life priorities. Volunteering can be a time for family bonding or you can also use volunteering as a means to learn new skills and keep fit.

There are a variety of volunteering opportunities and certainly, some can be very physical. As you age, you might also not have the same abilities as a younger person to give to volunteering. Consider online volunteering with the United Nations Online Volunteering Programme especially if you would like to contribute with professional skills. You will be able to support causes from all over the world. If you are less tech-savvy, you can take up volunteering roles that are more social like bingo sessions.

Some organisations like the do require their volunteers to commit to a certain volunteering period before they are accepted as volunteers. This is because they invest the effort to provide training to these volunteers for the role and they also need to ensure that there is enough manpower. If you do not want to commit, opt for episodic volunteering opportunities like cooking classes or excursions that are available at RSVP Singapore and maybe you will find a cause you feel passionate enough to commit to.

Ultimately, volunteering is more than just helping out. It's a way to meet people and find meaning in life while contributing to the community. If you have a volunteering myth that you will like us to debunk, write to us at

Sources: National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre, VolunteerMatch, United Nations Volunteers, American Association of Retired Persons, RSVP Singapore