It’s #circuitbreakerorange season, which means… STAY HOME! But staying at home doesn’t mean you can’t pull off meaningful initiatives to make a difference in the lives of others. Just look at the examples from groundups such as ItsRainingRaincoats and COVID-19 Tutoring Support for Students. In fact, maybe starting a groundup to help others when stuck at home is exactly what the situation calls for! Whether you’re on SHN, LOA or BCP, here are 9 resources that you can utilise for F-R-double-E to turn your groundup ideas into reality without even needing to leave the comforts of your room.
Lark is probably the closest you’ll get to Microsoft Teams without having to pay a single cent. It’s an internal collaboration and communication tool that combines chat, calendar, cloud storage and app integration all on a single platform. There’s even attendance tracking, video conferencing and livestreaming functions, so it could work for both meetings and virtual events. We tried it ourselves and found it pretty cool and easy to use.
Do I even need to say more? Alongside “Circuit Breaker” and “WFH”, Zoom is probably the most commonly heard term to escape to lips of Singaporeans in these times. For the uninitiated, Zoom is a video conferencing platform that operates on a freemium model, where it’s free up to a certain limit. The good news is that the free plan is likely to be sufficient for your groundup as it gets off the ground. It can host up to 100 participants with an unlimited number of meetings, though a downside to it is that each meeting with more than two participants has a 40-minute limit. That’s easily worked around by resetting the meeting, and I have experienced a couple of sessions where the time limit was waived for some mysterious reason even though we were using the free plan. Streaming quality is decent, and you can even customise your backdrop if you’re paiseh about giving others a peek of your room.
*Privacy concerns have recently plagued Zoom, so please do your own due diligence as well and put in the necessary safeguards such as waiting rooms :)
If Kahoot and WhatsApp Video Call had a child, Toasty would be it. Toasty is the new kid on the block, having pivoted to offering a virtual meeting platform as a result of the COVID-19 situation. What’s different about Toasty is that it has a strong focus on creating experiences that facilitate human connections, and could be worth checking out if your groundup is planning to combat social isolation in this time of being responsibly distant. It’s still experiencing teething problems so it’s not the best in terms of streaming quality, but the interface makes for a more light-hearted and interactive session as the host can pose questions to the participants in a gamified style. Participants can be split into breakout rooms, and each session can accommodate up to 50 participants in total.
4. Our Singapore Fund
Our Singapore Fund is administered by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and they support active citizens who step up to:
· Meet community needs, strengthen community spirit, and contribute to nation-building
Since the virus broke out in Feb 2020, they have also expedited support for community responses towards COVID-19, with reasonably sufficient lead time for processing. Funding is up to 80% of the project costs, capped at $20,000.
5. Singapore Strong Fund
The Majurity Trust, with the support of Singapore-based family foundations and philanthropists, are the good people behind the Singapore Strong Fund. They’re looking to back groundups that are:
· Responding to community needs amidst the COVID-19 situation
Funding is up to 80% of the project cost or a cap of $5,000 per project, whichever is lower. We’re a fan of the really simple application process – just answer a couple of questions (which should not pose too much of a problem if your project is well thought-out), respond to any clarification questions they may have, and you’ll be notified of the outcome within 5 working days. 50% of the funding will be disbursed upfront, and the remainder after the submission of the post-project report.
6. Ground-Up Movement Fund
If you’re all about spreading kindness and showing appreciation to the people working hard to keeping Singapore ticking during this virus period, Singapore Kindness Movement’s Ground-Up Movement Fund could be your perfect match. They’re looking to support efforts surrounding the themes of:
· Appreciating frontline staff
· Promoting good stories and norms
· Debunking fake news
· Spreading Kindness
They’re currently fast-tracking applications with funding of up to $3,000. Applications are typically processed in under a week and what we really love about them is that it’s open to all to apply!
Links to the grant application page for each grant is available in our grants page.
Grant hack: Certain grants allow for multiple funders to co-fund the project. If one grant isn’t able to cover the full 100% of the project expenses, you can apply to another grant to possibly cover the remaining amount. You can also opt to raise the remainder of the funds via crowdfunding if necessary – check out how here.
(EDIT: Bonus resource alert! Temasek Trust has launched the oscar@sg fund, with funding of up to $100,000 available per ground-up initiative. Find out more about the fund here.)
If you work with spreadsheets and are itching to organise your data in more visually understandable ways to make better decisions, check out Airtable. From to-do lists to stakeholder tracking, Airtable can help you organise the information that you have to turn it into actionable insights. You can switch your to-do list into calendar view, clearly identifying your timelines and what should take priority. You can split up a list of potential partners to reach out to, tagging each member of the team that is responsible for follow up action. With a tool like that, making decisions and coordinating with your team gets much easier.
Oh, that all too familiar ding-dong to try and find a time to meet. Even though we’re staying away from physical meetings for now, finding a time to meet virtually is still a chore. With When2meet, you can either select specific dates or days of the week, followed by selecting your preferred timings. A link will then be generated that you can share with all the other meeting participants, and they’ll fill in their preferences as well, with the overlapping area highlighted as the optimal date and time to meet. And just like that, problem solved.
An inevitable part of running a groundup is having to come up with design collaterals, whether it’s in the form of digital EDMs or social media posts. But before you go splashing the cash for a designer to do up that stuff for you, try and see whether you can design it yourself. Yes, I know – you don’t have the artistic flair, the creative nous, the inspired form. Neither do I. But I have found a great ally in Canva, a freemium online platform where you can basically use a strikingly designed template and just replace the content with your own words. The free templates are generally good enough, and there are templates for a whole range of design needs from namecards to slide decks.
It’s possible to start and run a groundup entirely from your room with the current state of technology, and these free platforms, tools and grants should aid you in that. But let’s also bear in mind to start responsibly in this season where resources are more precious than ever, and understand the actuality of the need before diving into it.
“Boy ah! How to on the Joom already ah?” Alrightttt, gotta go!