Descriptions of these various departments are definitely not exhaustive and at best, cover the major areas of their scope of work. There are many other side and minor workload that is required as well but we do not have enough space to cover all of it in this article; nevertheless, we are very thankful for their hard work!
Our Human Resource department is responsible for the process of interviewing potential candidates and other administrative work. They must have the experience and ability to assess each potential candidate to see if they have the aptitude and most importantly, the attitude, to join our organization. Shelter’s Human Resource team is not looking for individuals who are just available and skillful; whilst these aspects are important, we are also looking for individuals who want to sincerely contribute and improve themselves and make a lasting impact on the children that we are serving.
This is one of our most important departments as they deal with the most sensitive matter in the NGO scene - Money. The accounting team has to ensure that the accounts from the Homes and the HQ are balanced and that all expenditure is not only accounted for but verified as prudent spending. When there are abnormal expenditures (abnormal in the sense of making a requisition for purchasing new items or funding a new project besides paying the usual bills), it is their duty to query if these expenditures are necessary or if there are other ways to meet these objectives without having to spend that amount (or that much) of money. It is this sort of practice that earned us our award for Winner of the Inaugural 2004 Asia Pacific NGO Awards from Citigroup. The Accounts department is also in charge of collecting all donations and issuing the receipts or tax exemption receipts.
Being one of our most important front line staff, this person has to ensure that he/she gives the best and accurate impression of our organization when he/she talks to a third party over the phone. A single phone call from a potential donor or volunteer to our receptionist can influence his/her decision to be part of our noble cause. Just like any other company that places importance on their customer service; we also recognize that it is equally important for our organization’s well-being. Besides this main duty, the receptionist also helps in administrative work at other times.
Community officers are our agents who are on the “field” to work out the best solution for children who are in need. Whenever a case is referred to us, we will send our Community Officer to monitor, interview and discuss the best interest of the child with the family and he/she will then give the feedback to our management. If the parents are in need of food for the children, instead of removing them from their family into our Homes, we will send them food aid monthly. Our Community Officer will have to plan, sort out and then send the food to the various families in need. Depending on the family’s situation, the Community Officer can also help with other necessities like giving used electrical appliances or even computers. They also counsel or be a friend to these families who are struggling to make ends meet.
Our Refugee Officer works as the bridge between us and UNHCR officers and refugee schools that are under our banner. We are currently supporting 5 schools that educate over 450 refugee children. The Refugee Officer constantly makes his/her rounds to the various schools to drop food aid, handle UNCHR matters with the refugees and to also listen to the school’s Principal or the teachers’ needs.
The Public Relation Officers are the staff that ensure that the communication between the public (which consists of individuals, media, companies and other organizations), government (ministers and officials) and our organization is not only smooth but accurate. This is done via two levels. On the massive communication level, we use external means like Newspapers, Radio and occasionally Television whereas at the internal level, we use our Newsletters, Webpage and Facebook fanpage. On the micro communication level, we will have appointments made with them either by meeting them or conversing through the conventional communication methods of emails and phone calls. Public Relation Officers will also have to plan and execute events or initiatives to raise funds e.g. Jumble sale, Mount Kinabalu Charity Climb and the sale of calendars. One of the Public Relation Officer’s main duties is to ensure that funds are constantly flowing in throughout the year so as to sustain all the operations and payments required in the organization.
The Sponsorship Officer is in charge of getting sponsorship for various areas. The aim is to basically reduce cost and minimize expenditure from our reserve funds. Items like tables, cupboards and school necessities for the children are usually by sponsorships from either individuals or companies. The Sponsorship Officer will also seek sponsorships for higher costs areas like renovations at the Homes or the office. Besides a one- time sponsorship as the ones mentioned, they also look into child sponsorship. They are the official liaison between the sponsors and the child. Part of the liaising involves advising the sponsor on what other needs the child has and giving the sponsors on the latest updates of the child’s wellbeing.
In every NGO there will always be letters to be sorted out, Newsletters to be prepared and sent out and many other menial but important tasks to be done. Our administrative staff will help in these various areas that are routine, requiring manpower or long tedious hours.