Home Interview Professional Icon: Swapan Singh

Professional Icon: Swapan Singh

Professional Icon: Swapan Singh

Mr. Swapan Singh is a dedicated professional with a rich tapestry of experience in the development sector. Currently serving as the Manager Engagement- Corporate and Donor at World Vision Bangladesh, Mr. Singh brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for fostering impactful change in communities. His academic journey includes a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science from Notre Dame College and a Master’s in Public Health from Pundra University of Science and Technology, Bogura. With over 11 years of service in World Vision Bangladesh, Swapan has progressed from a Project Officer to his current role, where he leads efforts in corporate fundraising, major donor relations, and private non-sponsorship projects. His commitment to innovation, strategic partnerships, and sustainable impact resonates throughout his professional peregrination.

Let’s learn about his journey.

Mr. Swapan Singh: Thanks, InCAP team for selecting me and creating an opportunity to reflect on me. I was always eager to acquire new knowledge, and this enthusiasm paved the way for my educational and career endeavors.

My early educational voyage commenced at a missionary school St. Paul’s High School, where I took my initial steps towards learning and discipline. After completing my School Secondary Exam, I aspired to get admitted to Notre Dame College, Dhaka. Still, I remember the day when I left alone for Dhaka at the age of 17 to join the Notre Dame College Work Program in 2004. Despite getting a chance to get admitted to the college, I had to leave Dhaka for my family and financial issues.

Later after two years, I had again the privilege of studying at Notre Dame College for my Bachelor’s Degree. My academic journey continued as I pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science. This was a significant milestone for my whole career. It shaped me and forced me to learn about life and humanity. During that time, I had a chance to share the same space, listen to their sermon, and interact with the ideas of the theology of such legendary individuals as Fr. Benas CSC; Fr. R W Tim; Fr. Benjamin Costa, and many other Fathers whom lifestyle and simplicity inspired me.

Reflecting on my academic journey at NDC, I would say that it has been a transformative and mixed experience. I used to get actively involved in club activities and sports during my NDC life. Being a college athlete, I learned invaluable life lessons such as time management, teamwork, resilience, and adaptability, which equipped me with the skills needed to excel in various aspects of life. Even, I had the opportunity to gain early exposure to the development and humanitarian sector of Bangladesh. The impactful and sustainable voluntary work and charity by NDC in 2008 just after SIDDR inspired me greatly when we had to move to the Barisal area with relief support.

The real-life struggle I had to go through during my Master’s Degree at Car Michael College under National University from 2011 to 2013 just after joining World Vision Bangladesh as a Project Officer in Rangpur. And then, another master’s in Public Health from Pundra University of Science and Technology, Bogura in 2018. During that tenure, I had to manage my family, profession, and academic arena carefully.  

Earlier before joining World Vision, I worked with a few other corporate and non-profit organizations for a shorter time which also helped me understand cross-cultural factors. During this tenure, I received tremendous support from my colleagues and supervisors, yet, I soon realized that money-making and corporate culture weren’t my true calling, and I hardly found the satisfaction and fulfillment I sought in this profession. Consequently, God pushed me to pivot towards the Development sector with World Vision, a realm I had always been fascinated by due to its unique challenges and potential for meaningful impact made in our area in the southern part of Bangladesh. Interestingly, my journey as a part-time paid volunteer began in 2004 with this organization, where I worked as a coaching facilitator for World Vision Bangladesh.

In World Vision Bangladesh, I continued to search for a role that would allow me to fully unleash my creative potential. I had always nurtured a passion for creative work, doing something out of the box, and focusing on simple work that has a greater impact. Consequently, the organization created space for getting promoted from project officer to DPA program officer, then Area Program manager in the northern part of Bangladesh for nearly 11 years till a Manager Engagement- Corporate and Donor at its Head Office in Dhaka.  

In my current role, I am responsible for designing private non-sponsorship projects, resource acquisitions, corporate fundraising, and major donor relations. I contribute my skills, operation experience, and creativity to promote sustainable impact. This position not only allows me to pursue my passion for a career but also aligns with my calling to make a positive impact on society and the most vulnerable children we serve.

At last, my journey through education and career has been marked by a relentless pursuit of knowledge, experience, passion, and a deep desire to contribute to the transformed development of the community. From my early years as a student to my current role, I have been fortunate to experience diverse opportunities that have shaped me personally, mentally, spiritually, and professionally. Every single step of this journey has contributed to my growth and has reinforced my belief in the power of education and commitment to drive positive change.

My role as a Manager Engagement- Corporate and Donor is to lead and maintain smooth communication among the internal (Departments) and external (Donors) key stakeholders for resource mobilization. My Specific responsibilities are:

  • Lead the National Office servicing of WVUS Mega and Major Donors who primarily support major fundraising campaigns. I need to collaborate with appropriate WVUS Departments (primarily the International Programs Group and the Transformational Engagement Marketing and Donor Service Department) and the appropriate National Office Departments (primarily the ND, Senior Leadership Team, AP managers, Sector Directors/Managers, Finance and Supply Chain) to enhance the mega and major donor experience.
  • Coordinate and communicate with internal support offices and external donors with updated value proposition /capacity statement
  • Work closely with major donor’s groups to manage International Vision Trip and campaigns
  • Maintain consistent communication with donor agencies and frequent in-person/virtual visits to the donor’s office.
  • Mapping the corporate sector’s interest in working with NGOs and identifying strategies for the use of CSR/any other funding scope.
  • Arrange different types of engagement with the Corporate sector to increase their interest in supporting the most vulnerable community.
  • Capture different innovative ideas considering emerging issues affecting the lives of children.
  • Develop new business cases in alignment with CWB and share those with relevant stakeholders/ donors.
  • Responsible for supporting APs to prepare PNS-funded opportunities and to review the concept as a final product before submission.

Maintaining a strong relationship with corporate partners and donors is crucial for the sustainability and growth of any organization. Last one year in this role, I helped the team at following areas: 

  • Created Donor landscapes
  • Developed local fundraising strategy and embedded in the national strategy
  • Mapped out future collaboration spaces and sectors
  • Evident-based partnership for innovation and tech-based programming
  • Hosted some major donors’ trips to the projects and programs 

Certainly! One notable example of a successful corporate partnership between a few garment industries and World Vision Bangladesh recently. This partnership aimed at enhancing the quality of education for the children of garment workers.

This significant engagement, receiving support from a corporate donor can substantially enhance an NGO dedicated to educating garment worker’s children. Financial backing from corporations ensures sustainable funding for educational programs, enabling the NGO to expand access to quality education, provide essential learning resources, and enhance the overall educational environment in the future.

Additionally, such corporate partnerships often bring expertise and resources beyond financial aid, including volunteering opportunities, mentorship programs, skill development workshops, and networking opportunities. Such collaborations foster a holistic approach to education, equipping these children with essential skills, empowering their families, and ultimately breaking the cycle of poverty in communities reliant on the garment industry.

Development projects often operate in dynamic environments while corporations focus on products, consumers, and sustainability. Simultaneously, the language and objective of both the Corporate funder and Development partner have their own style. In most cases, a deep understanding of corporate products, their priorities, and expectations need to match with development and community needs. So, balancing innovation, feasibility and the ability to navigate complex variables are crucial requirements I follow to overcome.      

One promising and impactful partnership we made with a tech-based organization that has vast experience in community WASH solutions at the hard-to-reach community. Such technology and digital platforms will have chances to ease both corporations and individuals and help engage with causes they are passionate about to change.

The trend of multi-sectoral engagement is the key to increasing emphasis on “strategic partnerships” between corporations and nonprofit organizations nowadays. These partnerships go beyond traditional philanthropy and focus on shared goals and collaborative solutions. Corporations are increasingly aligning their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives with the long-term mission and expertise of nonprofits. This approach will certainly involve providing more than just financial support and partnership but offering their resources, expertise, and networks to amplify the impact of the nonprofit’s work.

Thanks to everyone who went through it. As a person, I practice integrity and work on making significant small positive changes in everyday life that I have control over.

The most outstanding achievement of your life as of now:
Receiving World Vision Bangladesh Pride Award for Personal commitment to Excellence in Delivering Quality Service on the occasion of its 50 Years of Transformational Development Journey in Bangladesh.

The greatest philosopher in your view:
Francis Bacon.

Your Icon:
A P J Abul Kalam Azad .

Name the most influential books you have read:
‘The Power of Positive Thinking’ by Norman Vincent Peale.

Your greatest fear:
Simply living in me.

Best piece of advice you’ve received:

  • Take action:
  • “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” — Proverbs 20:5.

You in only three words:
Open to Learning.

Skill Set

  • Hard Skills: Logical breakdown, Project Management, Development Communication

  • Soft Skills: Critical thinking, conflict Resolution, Social Quotient

Prayer For The Human Civilization
We humbly beseech you to envelop our world in a blanket of peace. Guide leaders and nations toward understanding, empathy, and collaboration. Grant humanity wisdom to resolve conflicts peacefully, replacing hostility with harmony. May love prevail over hatred, ensuring a future where all can thrive in unity and serenity. Amen.

The InCAP: Thank you, Mr. Swapan Singh! It’s a glittering conversation with you!

Mr. Swapan Singh: My pleasure! Wish you all the best! Thank you.

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