Organisations to Provide Shared Services to Charities in Singapore
28 May 2018 at 4:51 pm
A group of four organisations has pledged to provide shared services for charities in Singapore, hoping to help smaller not for profits overcome compliance and governance difficulties.
The Commissioner of Charities (COC) in Singapore announced on Thursday that they were working with organisations to set up shared services to strengthen charities’ regulatory compliance and effectiveness.
The four organisations employed to provide assistance are Chartered Secretaries Institute of Singapore (CSIS), Singapore Buddhist Federation (SBF), iShine Cloud Limited (iShine) and National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC).
The COC, Dr Ang Hak Seng, said he was mindful that smaller charities – which account for more than 50 per cent of the sector – faced difficulties at times in their compliance and governance efforts due to limited resources and manpower.
“While many small charities endeavour to do good, and to do their jobs well, some struggle due to the lack of know-how, proper expertise or economies of scale. Hence, shared services can empower them to be more effective,” Ang said.
The first phase of shared services will involve assistance in electronic regulatory submissions in line with a new amendment to the Charities Act, governance-related matters, talent management and technology solutions.
Through this initiative, the COC aims to ease the charities’ resource constraints, and ensure basic compliance with regulatory and governance requirements.
CSIS has committed to provide annual submissions technical know-how for charities, while also equipping them with a better understanding of regulatory and governance matters – particularly through their “walk-in clinics” and training sessions.
Despite being a Buddhist organisation, the SBF said it would offer similar services to charities regardless of their faith or sector, via hands-on guidance at SBF’s service centre and face-to-face consultancy service.
SBF president Venerable Seck Kwang Phing said: “Serving the community is one of our core values. In this regard, we are very glad to work hand-in-hand with the COC in raising their governance and compliance level of local charities.”
iShine Cloud Limited has committed to provide information technology shared services to charities through an integrated suite of commonly needed business productivity solutions, while the NVPC’s Centre for Non-Profit Leadership will work to identify partners who could address charities’ talent acquisition needs.
Together, the COC hopes these shared services will aid smaller charities with their regulatory compliance and administration, and free them up to “focus more on their beneficiaries”.
The Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, said the partnership between the COC and these organisations was important in improving the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the charities sector.
“I am heartened by the commitment of these various organisations to partner with the COC as many helping hands. Many charities, especially the smaller ones, will benefit from their expertise and experience,” Fu said.
“We will continue in our efforts to empower and enable charities to cultivate a well-governed and thriving charity sector.’’
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission welcomed the announcement from the COC.
Reflecting on the situation for smaller charities in Australia, an ACNC spokesperson told Pro Bono News there were a number of resources these organisations could rely on to provide support.
“The majority of Australia’s registered charities are small, with annual revenue of $250,000 or less. And not surprisingly many of these charities are run solely by volunteers. These charities achieve a great deal with limited resources,” the spokesperson said.
“In Australia, there are many organisations that are already providing low cost or free resources to help charities and not-for-profits, for example Justice Connect’s NFP Law, Our Community, and Moores.
“At the ACNC, we provide free resources to help registered charities understand and meet their obligations under the ACNC Act and Governance Standards. Our website has a range of guides, factsheets, and webinars, and we also have a team dedicated to providing one-to-one advice to charities in need of support.”