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Online Story
  Dec 13, 2006 Wed
Dec 13, 2006
Recruiting volunteers to do charity work is an uphill task
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 itself.

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 remuneration packages.

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 competence.

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 organisation.

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)
Founder, Cancerstory.com


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