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December 4, 2012

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Volunteers may see new rewards

VOLUNTEERS could be given preferences in jobs and school admission and rewards such as discount tickets as part of a trial program in some Shanghai communities and in other cities, officials said yesterday.

Civil affairs authorities are encouraging more people to volunteer by encouraging enterprises and cultural facilities to give benefits to Shanghai-registered volunteers with good service records.

The trial program is being carried out in some communities in Xuhui and Minhang districts and the Pudong New Area by communities such as Tianping, Lingyun and Hongmei, and by some social welfare organizations.

The initiative also involves recording volunteers' service information in online database, according to a circular from the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Details are still being developed.

"We hope the good will, loving heart and sacrifice of volunteers are duly appreciated through this initiative, which is not compulsory," said Zhou Wen, deputy director of the Shanghai Community Service Center.

Local volunteers said the spirit of volunteerism should remain giving without any expectation of return, but they said the initiative is still a good idea.

"I never think of getting anything back when working as a volunteer, but the initiative is really heart-warming," said Wang Bin, an advertising company employee who got his volunteer card three years ago. He donated blood and has volunteered in some charity programs.

"I believe the policy will help encourage more to join the team," he said.

Some have already responded. A newly launched website in Chinese called "Taogongyi," which helps bridge social organizations and enterprises and organizes charity activities, will provide trainee positions, training programs and discounted products for volunteers with good performance.

Information about a volunteer's service time, programs, training, awards and service quality rated by service recipients will be recorded in an online database and stored on the volunteer's card. It can be printed out whenever needed.

Volunteers can have their information recorded and enjoy privileges as well if they register online at websites like, which is in Chinese, and obtain the volunteer card at their neighborhood committees, according to Zhou.

Shanghai is among the 100-plus spots nationwide that is involved in the trial.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs will assess the results of the trial at the end of next year and decide how it could be introduced on a larger scale.

Volunteers whose service time reaches benchmarks like 100 hours, 300 hours, 600 hours or 1,500 hours can apply for the title of "Star Volunteer."


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