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Building a culture of volunteering one tweet at a time

In their most recent community outreach project, over 80 Twitter employees visited Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home to spend time with the old folks, playing games with them and even singing karaoke with them.


FOR social media platform Twitter, it's all about building a culture of volunteerism within the company. It advocates the use of its conversational platform to help empower and build positivity throughout the community.

Twitter's vice-president of online sales in Asia Pacific and Latin America, Aliza Knox, says: "Twitter plays an incredibly strong role in giving back to the community because it creates a voice for people who need one but may not have it in any form."

Twitter was build to foster communication on a global scale. The company believes that an open exchange of information can be a compelling force for good in the world.

The company and its employees are involved in several different causes. They focus their philanthropic initiatives on five areas: Internet safety and education; women in tech; digital rights and responsibilities; universal access and adoption; and crisis and emergency response.

In 2012, Twitter located its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore with Ms Knox as its very first employee. Since then, the company has expanded to over 300 employees and has also grown its community outreach programme to help local beneficiaries.

Twitter offices around the world participate in voluntary work that they have aptly named "Friday for Good". The community outreach programme takes place twice a year, and is a chance for Twitter staff worldwide to come together to make an impact in their own local communities. Twitter staff subsequently share their fulfilling experience on their own Twitter accounts using the hashtag: #fridayforgood.

In their most recent community outreach project, over 80 Twitter employees visited Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home to spend time with the old folks, playing games with them and even singing karaoke with the old folks when they specifically requested it.

For Twitter, it's not about how much money it donates, but more importantly, building a culture of volunteerism within the office.

"It's less about money but more about time and community engagement," said Ms Knox. "We know that we are building a culture of volunteering because of the increasing participation rate in Friday for Good."

Twitter employees have also organised their own initiatives such as the recent auction held by their human resource department to raise funds for the Community Chest.

Participation in the auction was not compulsory, said Ms Knox. "We know we're building a culture here because people want to organise activities like these," she said.

One of Twitter's five areas of focus is the empowerment of women. #PositionofStrength is a global Twitter campaign to empower more women to have their voices heard on social media.

The campaign focused on two key elements: educating women on the safe usage of social media platforms like Twitter as well as showcasing ways women can take advantage of Twitter to make a positive impact on society. For example, creating jobs, finding economic opportunities for women, and crowdsourcing.

The #PositionofStrength campaign in Singapore was launched on March 16 in partnership with the Young Women's Leadership Connection (YWLC) and Singapore Council of Women's Organisations (SCWO). Over 100 women attended the event with Minister for Youth, Community and Culture Grace Fu as the guest of honour.

The launch featured a panel of women who spoke on how Twitter helped them follow their passion and mobilised female youths for positive social action.

According to Ms Knox, Twitter cares deeply about being a force for good in the world, globally and locally.

"Our mission is to give everyone a voice and the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers. Our Asia-Pacific headquarters and Singapore-based team are committed to being a positive force in the local community, from our #FridayForGood programmes to corporate giving," she said.

  • This is part of a series of stories on impactful corporate giving under the Company of Good programme led by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC). The Business Times is supporting the initiative as media partner.

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