Yes, a company secretary is needed for a non-profit organization.
Non-profit Organization in Singapore
In Singapore, the law allows the establishments Non-Profit Organizations (NPO) and these establishments are usually dedicated for activities of social or public interest. The aims of these organizations are not to make profit, thus if there are surplus income, instead of distributing among its member, the funds will be instead used to further expand the organization and for its future activities. Oftentimes, NPOs are also known as Voluntary Welfare Organizations (VWO).
By setting up a non-profit entity in Singapore, the function is the same as a traditional organization and may also claim a tax exemption.
If you wish to carry out charitable activities here, you may opt either one of these 3 options.
- Public Company Limited by Guarantee
- Charitable Trust
Do note that you will still need a company secretary for any type of non-profit organizations and every company is obligated to appoint a secretary within 6 months after the incorporation.
Role of a Company Secretary
One of the major roles of a company secretary is to generally ensure that the charity complies with the code of governance.
The code of governance in the charity sector refers to the framework and processes related with handling of the overall direction, supervision, accountability and effectiveness of the organization.
As a charity, they are community organisations who works only for public benefits and are accountable to the public as well as other stakeholders. All charities are expected to follow and apply the principles and practices of governance and management which is listed in the code of governance, and this is where the presence of a company secretary is needed.
The secretary will oversee several things in the organizations which includes:
- Making sure the charity is in line with the compliance guidelines, be in the best interest of the charity and be involved in the decision-making process of the management and as a Board member on policy matters.
- Building good governance practices that increases transparency and accountability
- Practising a strict control over financial matter of charity.
- Making sure the charity remains solvent.
- Ensuring all funds and assets are utilized appropriately, mainly focusing on the advancement and betterment of the charity.
- Maintaining a proper management of the charity by making sure it is not opened to abuse and avoiding any conflict of interest.
- Practising appropriate due diligence on partners, beneficiaries or donors.
- Keep a clear and well documented dispute resolution process involving the charity.
- Making sure the charity is with accordance to the legal act and regulations as well as other legislations which governs the charity activities.
- Facilitate board meetings and council for voluntary, upkeep of all governing documents and charity commission and managing charity trustees