My workplace, the Singapore campus of James Cook University has been receiving awards for community spirit and engagement. We have students volunteering and singing at PAssion Arts events and even at the Purple Parade!
But that was the thing, all these awards were really due to the effort of the students. To me, it felt like the university was taking credit for our students’ sacrifice. I wanted to get staff to get in on the act. With that in mind, I planned a little something to kickstart the cycle of giving among my colleagues by doing something during Giving Week.
Bright and early in the morning on 27th November, I came to work and placed six $10 notes around the campus. Three of them were in staff only areas while another three were in areas accessible by anyone, students and staff alike. The money was placed in an envelope along with a letter stating that:
- Whomever finds it, must do good with it
- The money cannot be used on themselves
Once all the envelopes were in place, I released this video on Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram.
I’m writing this on Christmas Eve, meaning it has been nearly a month since I hid the envelopes. I managed to figure out that two of the $10 notes went to the Singapore Heart Foundation as a donation but I also have two stories I would like to share.
Story 1: An Unexpected Contribution
What happened next shocked me. My colleague, Belinda came over and told me about how her manager showed her my video while holding out a $10 note in front of her. I was confused. Did she think that I was asking for $10 donations in the video? Did she find one of my envelopes and was too afraid to use it?
Turns out, she had picked up a $10 note the day before and was inspired by what I was doing. Belinda figured that since the money was not hers and she had no way of tracking down the owner, she would contribute it to a good cause via my project! So, in the end, there were actually seven envelopes around the campus!
Story 2: The Christmas Eve Surprise
As I walked back to the office after having my lunch today, I saw two of our aquaculture lecturers walking around the campus with a large paper bag. One of the lecturers, Dr Jose Domingos used the $10 to buy chocolates and was distributing them to what are often the “invisible” staff on campus, the cleaners and security guards! The very folks who work hard early in the morning and late at night to keep the campus in order.
What great timing. ‘Tis the season for giving and what a great season it has been. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!
It’s Never Too Late to Give
If you didn’t find one of my envelopes but would still like to give, it’s never too late. You can choose to donate to a cause of your choice via Giving.Sg, a secure site powered by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) an independent, not-for-profit organisation that advocates giving in Singapore.
I personally support the Waterways Watch Society, an environmental NGO that runs education programmes to help keep our waterways (and environment) clean. If you share my interest in environmental causes, do consider donating to them at http://bit.ly/supportWWS.