Charities urged to raise their standards

Thursday, February 27, 2014

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Local charities are being urged to “get certified” under a scheme designed to improve standards and accountability in the not-for-profit sector.

The Bermuda National Standards Committee (BNSC) says 12 charities — including Bermuda National Gallery, the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Bermuda and PRIDE Bermuda — have undergone its certification process and it hopes many more will sign up now Government is tightening up the regulation of charities.

BNSC manager Nadine Lapsley Dyer said the certification process took one to two years and lasted for four years before re-certification was necessary.

“This ensures your charity continues to keep staff and board members in line with your policies, procedures and best practices to sustain your organisation and its commitment to quality performance,” she said.

“With the many challenges the Island is facing today, BNSC is delighted that charities in Bermuda are choosing to participate in this demanding process to ensure the responsible use of resources in our community are effective.”

Amendments to the Charities Act to ensure organisations regularly file up-to-date financial statements are soon due to be debated in the House of Assembly.

And last year, the Centre on Philanthropy entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Community Affairs which requires new charities to attend the centre’s training session ‘How to Start a Charity’.

The BNSC was established in 2005. Its certification process requires charities to examine how well they are operating through a “self-study process”.

Charities get matched with already-certified organisations for mentorship and support and, once accredited, they can show they have complied with internationally recognised standards.

Elaine Williams, executive director of the Centre on Philanthropy, said: “We understand the importance of BNSC certification to Bermuda’s charities and further assist the certification process by featuring a BNSC section on our website, making available all of the relevant information on certification, including application forms, on www.centreonphilanthropy.org.”

For more information about BNSC call 336-2821 or e-mail nadine@prevention.bm.