More than 25,000 women from low-income families in Singapore are struggling to find and sustain a living. That’s a statistic Daughters Of Tomorrow (DOT) is working hard to change. The Singapore-based IPC charity supports underprivileged women in Singapore to build financially independent and resilient families.
Since 2014, DOT has impacted more than 1,100 women through befriending, skills-training, job-bridging and post-employment support programs. That’s an excellent achievement, but Kaylee Kua, Senior Manager, Programs & Operation at DOT, says there’s much more to be done for Singapore's underprivileged women and families.
“There are a lot of women in Singapore who have challenges finding livelihood opportunities,” she explains. “Many of our beneficiaries have often had a long hiatus from work due to care-giving duties, and they may be disjointed from what is currently happening in the job market.
“Our beneficiaries often do not have the privilege to further their education, and this results in them only having the accessibility to work in blue collar jobs. However, that often requires shift work, which is not mum-friendly.”
To make matters worse, Kua says the financial situation for many of Singapore’s low-income families got worse during COVID-19. “A lot of low to middle income families lost their jobs during the pandemic,” she explains. “The income gap is widening, and this is creating a group of new poor.”
This has created a perfect storm for many of Singapore’s struggling families. Kua says it’s a battle that must be fought on multiple fronts.
“We have to help rebuild our beneficiaries confidence, and support them to reskill. At the same time, we need to help employers understand the challenges our beneficiaries face, provide working arrangements suitable for care-givers, and pay a living income.”
These are serious and complex problems. But the dedicated team at DOT is up to the challenge. They are using digital transformation to streamline operational processes and personalise their approach.
“We started with four employees working from colour-coded spreadsheets,” Kua explains. “But as our team grew, it became more difficult to collaborate. As a registered charity, we also need to make sure our annual reports are accurate. But this was difficult without a consolidated data source.”
DOT beneficiaries follow a thorough personal and professional development journey. This requires beneficiaries to engage with several DOT teams as they complete each stage of their journey.
Kua explains that after women are referred to DOT by their social workers, they complete the DOT Confidence Curriculum. Many move on to the befriending program, then go through a bridging process into employment. Finally, beneficiaries receive six months of post-employment support.
Each time a beneficiary moves onto a new stage in their journey, their case is handed over to the relevant DOT team. As the organisation grew, this process became increasingly difficult to manage.
Kua says DOT needed a consolidated 360-degree view of each beneficiary’s personal progress and needs. The solution was Salesforce’s Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP).
NPSP helps DOT to organise program, beneficiary and fundraising data. It provides a unified view of beneficiary data across programs, and supports personalised relationship management from a single platform.
“Initial adoption in 2018 was tough,” says Kua. “We had to limit access to our old database and spreadsheets, and put a cut-off date on employee access to it. But as our Salesforce system grew with new functionalities, the team saw how it was improving our processes.
“All the beneficiary data can now be easily handed over to the next team when a beneficiary progresses on their journey. Salesforce has helped us to streamline a lot of processes, and makes reporting much easier and more accurate.”
Jonathan Tan, Assistant Manager, Marketing and Data at DOT, holds fortnightly meetings with volunteer Salesforce Architects who help with user training and platform customisation.
“We use Trailhead for step-by-step guidance, and the Salesforce volunteers help us with more complex customisations. There are certain new processes we want to add in as we grow, and the Salesforce volunteers help us deploy new functions much more quickly.”
Tan says the next step on DOT’s digital transformation is to implement Pardot and Experience Cloud to increase donor funding and engagement, support outreach to volunteers, and provide more timely updates to befrienders about the progress of their befriendees.
Kua explains the organisation is also looking into technology to eliminate human biases in decision making. This, she says, will ensure every beneficiary has the same positive experience.
But in the short-term, Kua says DOT will remain focused on providing practical support and driving digital inclusion for Singapore’s underprivileged women and low-income families.
“The truth is that many of our beneficiaries who have been in long-term employment are still struggling to make it out of the poverty cycle,” Kua concludes. “Over the next few years, we will be advocating for employers to help close the income gap.
“Women are currently the main care-givers, and we need employers to understand their challenges and needs. While society changes its views on care-giving roles and responsibilities, we also need employers to re-evaluate the value of work and pay more sustainable wages, so that hardworking families can rise out of poverty. Technology will help us shift the needle.”