The letter 'Bar charity staff
related to boss from high posts' poses a tough challenge
for some charity leaders.
This is particularly the case when a charity is
founded and managed by a husband-and-wife team.
The writer also proposed a fixed tenure for the CEO
and chairperson to help the organisation rejuvenate
This poses another tough challenge for charities that
are founded by passionate individuals.
In theory, the mission of any voluntary organisation
can be accomplished through the commitment of altruistic
individuals, full-time staff, voluntary committee
members/trustees and volunteers.
Hence, there will be no fraudulent practices for
personal gains and benefits, and no excessive
Unfortunately, in our materialistic society, I feel
there is a lack of like-minded individuals to support
volunteerism and humanity.
Since I joined the world of volunteers in 2000, I
have always been very concerned about the remuneration
of key personnel. I feel that they should not be paid
'excessively' even though some may argue that they
deserve it because of their credential and
Unlike private corporations, the funds of a charity
are from donors who support worthy causes. Hence the
money should be channeled into proper uses.
Undoubtedly, paid full-time staff are
needed to run most voluntary organisations, and paying
salaries to them is inevitable.
Taking the cue from the public fundraising
guidelines, perhaps the charity governance should also
determine a specific percentage to be paid as salaries
based on the total operating costs of the voluntary
The common saying 'pay peanuts, get monkeys' should
not apply to charities. For individuals who are prepared
to serve, they should be prepared to be paid 'rotten
peanuts and do golden work.'
When I made this remark, I received an immediate
bombardment. 'Are you saying that working for charity
should be a second career?'
My answer was a firm yes to the lady who asked me
this question. Personally, I feel that individuals who
had achieved their financial goals in their first career
are in a better position to give back to society.
Very often, they are no longer motivated by monetary
rewards and are ready to serve the less fortunate.
The next question is 'Are they a dying breed in our
materialistic society?' If yes, it poses a tough
challenge for voluntary organisations to find them.
The next challenge will be for our educationists to
instil the right values in our young and nurture the
next generation to work for charity.
Lee Soh Hong (Miss)