Staying on top of the governance game

By City Of Good  /
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Staying on top of the governance game1
Photo: Caleb Phang, Associate Director of TSMP Law Corporation, taking the participating directors through the regulatory framework for charities

Volunteer, staff or leader, working with a non-profit means creating hope for our beneficiaries, inspiration for our employees, and trust in the merits of giving for the people of this country.

But as non-profit Board members, our responsibilities don’t end here. Not only are we responsible for the way we manage the resources transferred to us by people, we are also accountable to the law for adhering to the Commissioner of Charities’ standards of governance and disclosure.

While documents and instruments on governance are available aplenty, it is their correct use and interpretation which can protect one from potential landmines.

The Centre for Non-Profit Leadership (CNPL) conducts its Directors’ Liability Workshop series in partnership with TSMP Law Corporation to help directors improve their understanding of the regulatory landscape for charities.

We bring you a short quiz using our learning from the last workshop to refresh your memory on some of the things to keep in mind while leading your non-profit this financial year.

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Photo: Stefanie Yuen Thio, Joint Managing Director of TSMP, answering questions from the participants
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Photo: Participants at the Directors’ Liability Workshop solve a case study with help from facilitators from CNPL and TSMP

A part of CNPL’s Leaders’ Lab series, the Directors’ Liability Workshop is held twice a year. Legal experts from TSMP Law adopt an interactive case study format to interpret governing instruments for charities and provide scenarios for participants to identify actions that have the potential for non-compliance and conflicts of interest.

To learn about this workshop, drop us a mail here.

So…You Want to be a Non-Profit Board Member?

It’s official: it’s easier to get a singles’ HDB flat than it is to win a coveted spot on a non-profit board in Singapore.

For every registered charity in the Little Red Dot, there are over 13 people interested in board service with a non-profit organization (NPO), according to LinkedIn data. That is, while there may be over 2,200 charities in Singapore, there are more than 29,000 individuals based in Singapore expressing interest in serving on their boards.

Unfortunately — if you’re one of the 29,000 anyway — these supply-demand dynamics are truly unique to Singapore. Those 13 hands up? There are less than two of them in Hong Kong. And even fewer in New York.


With its high population density, Singapore is no stranger to competition; and given its relative wealth, Singapore has fewer charities per population than the other cities above. But why are there so many hands up in Singapore for so few opportunities? Are Singapore-based professionals more charitable? Or, more cynically, are they simply ambitious, recognizing that NPO board service can play a valuable role in their career progression, with some private sector experts recommending NPO board service as an important part of the career ladder.