New guidebooks to help charities navigate social service sector

Doing Good In Singapore parts one and two include insights on topics such as the ageing population and the importance of using technology and data. PHOTO: TSAO FOUNDATION/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Two sets of books meant to help charities adapt to the changing needs of the community and build up their capabilities were launched by the National University of Singapore on Monday (April 15).

The books feature insights from academics, accountants and leaders from non-profit organisations on areas such as capacity and capability building, as well as financial best practices.

Chairman of the Charity Council Gerard Ee said that it is important for charities to adapt to the changing landscape to remain relevant.

"These two sets of publications are resources for the charities to think about longer term needs of the community they serve, so that they can make plans to build up their organisations," he said.

The Centre for Social Development Asia (CSDA) from the university's Department of Social Work launched the publications at the Shaw Foundation Alumni House.

The first set of publications consists of two books on how the social service sector can prepare itself to meet its needs and future challenges. Doing Good In Singapore parts one and two include insights on topics such as the ageing population and the importance of using technology and data. They also address ways to tackle future challenges by developing organisational capability.

CSDA chairman S. Vasoo said this set of books documents the challenges faced by the social service sector through case studies.

"It provides social insight and aims to encourage further discussions among stakeholders on the sector's preparation for future readiness, as well as share ideas on how to build up core competencies and develop sustainable and proactive practices to build up social and human capital," he said.

The second set of publications is a series of five booklets aimed at guiding charities on accounting and financial best practices.

Accounting And Finance Handbooks For Charities were developed in consultation with charities and written by professional accountants. They cover topics such as budgeting and cash-flow management as well as fund accounting.

The handbooks aim to help charities better manage their financial operations and ensure greater transparency and accountability to stakeholders.

Both sets of books were produced in collaboration with the Charity Council and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee, who was the guest of honour at the launch, said: "By transforming and resourcing for the future, we are laying the foundations for our social sector to thrive and meet the evolving needs of our society."

Charities welcome the publications. Assisi Hospice chief executive Choo Shiu Ling said that the books help greatly as they provide essential information on good practices and approaches to sustainable management of finances for charities.

"This is of direct relevance to Assisi Hospice as we seek to grow our services in a sustainable way, while being good stewards of resources provided by institutional funders and donors," she said.

CEO of Sree Narayana Mission (Singapore), Mr S Devendran, said that the resources help charities, big and small, ramp up their capabilities.

"For smaller charities particularly, these easy-to-understand resources and toolkits help them better understand what are the standards required and identify possible gaps to be addressed," he said, reiterating that "once trust is lost, it takes a long time for people to come around".

"All charities benefit from these continuing conversations," he said.

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