Stronger non-profits need stronger boards

The recent announcement by the Commissioner of Charities on its refined code of governance, which aims to enhance governance and transparency of charities in Singapore, is timely (Making charities more transparent; April 14).

The code recommends that charities and non-profits establish term limits for all their board members to ensure steady renewal of the board leadership.

In an inaugural Board Leadership Study conducted by the Centre for Non-Profit Leadership (CNPL), in partnership with the Charity Council, it was found that 64 per cent of non-profits do not have a defined period or policy on hand to guide the term limit for its chairperson.

This is also the case for the treasurer position. The dipstick study confirms that 36 per cent of non-profits either exceed the term limit based on the refined code of governance, or do not have a defined period or policy for its treasurer.

From our experience, the treasurer position is one with a limited pipeline, with many returning to that position after the stipulated term limit.

We support the revised code mandating that reasons will have to be disclosed for any board member who served on the board for more than 10 consecutive years.

We firmly believe that only well-governed non-profit bodies will be able to stay relevant and adapt in an increasingly disruptive and technology-driven world.

Winifred Loh (Ms)

Director

Centre for Non-Profit Leadership, a part of NVPC