Propelling the Salvation Army Towards Success

In light of the massive adverse publicity surrounding non-profit organizations and charities, the key objective of the Salvation Army (“the Army”) in the coming years is to increase public confidence. Increasing public confidence arguably leads to increase in public donations that will allow the Army to extend its reach to more needy people in Singapore. This calls for a major overhaul in the Army’s organisation strategy, as new strategies need to be formulated to rise to the challenges of the turbulent environment.

An organizational change is expected of the Army and the communication of change represents the key to a successful implementation of the new corporate strategy. Engaged to engineer the change, our consulting team will orchestrate the process in four stages. Firstly, we scrutinize the external environment in which the Army operates in and identify the key threats and opportunities in the near future. Next, we would perform a critical strategic analysis of the Army’s existing strategic framework and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses against the environmental threats and opportunities.

Subsequently, we will propose changes to its strategic framework to better minimize the threats and capitalize on the opportunities. Lastly, we recommend the use of the Balanced Scorecard as a strategy management system to communicate the organizational change and execute its strategies. Designed by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton, the Balanced Scorecard has been used by many profit-maximizing organizations and received spectacular success.

As a strategic management tool that aligns employees to organizational goals and objectives, the BSC is equally applicable in the context of a charitable organisation. We espoused that if the pitfalls are cautiously avoided and the difficulties circumvented, the benefits brought about by the BSC will outweigh the cost of implementation. Careful use of the BSC will propel The Salvation Army towards sustainable success.

The Salvation Army is a worldwide non-profit organization that provides social aid to the poor, destitute and hungry with the intention of bringing the message Christian Salvation to the world with no discrimination towards any race or religion. With its operations spanning globally, the Army has employed a highly de-centralized organisation design to better cater to local needs. While the London Headquarter provides guidance, the operations are run predominantly by a selected group of passionate local citizens.

In Singapore, the Army provides social aid through its churches (corps) and a wide range of social and community programmes. The range of aid provided includes child care centres, children homes, personal development programmes for secondary school students, youth development centres, tuition centres, corps community services, family support services, elderly care, nursing homes and rehabilitation centres, prison-support ministries and services. The accounting scandals of the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) took the Singapore public by storm.

There was huge media coverage about the impropriety of usage of funds and the management was unable to account for the money received and spent. In a spate of scandals about charitable organizations hitting Singapore, public confidence towards these charitable organizations took a huge plunge. The need for the Army to improve its image and to adopt a new strategy is imminent in order to deliver its objectives continuously.

These lessons are critical to the future success of The Army. •Transparency in Operations Consequent to the decreased public confidence, the public has become more careful in selecting the organizations they donate to. While it is uncertain as to the motivation of philanthropic acts by individuals, there is a healthy desire for more transparency about public funded activities. [Gallagher and Weinberg, 1991]

This suggests that the more transparent the charitable organisation is, the more individuals are willing to donate to that charitable organisation. Corporate Governance The second lesson that can be drawn is the importance of good corporate governance practices in charitable organizations. Governance in the charity sector refers to the systems and processes concerned with ensuring the overall direction, effectiveness, supervision and accountability of an organisation. [CGC IPC, 2007] Charities are for the benefit of people by the people, it is just a form of organizing and making sure that the resources in cash or in-kind are being directed to those in need.

Therefore, it is imperative that the charitable organisation be accountable to the public as to where the funds are directed and how they are allocated. Good corporate governance is fast becoming an important criterion for the public in deciding whether to donate to a charitable organisation and even a more important factor for volunteers when choosing which charitable organisation to volunteer at. To achieve this, the Army’s Board is entrusted with the responsibility to ensure that there is good governance in the company to build the firm foundation for maintaining clear accounting and high public awareness and trust.

This also contributes towards performance indicators and operational structures. •Corporate Culture Corporate culture is perhaps the most vital towards promoting ethics in a company. Having a corporate culture that emphasizes ethical behaviors provide great boost to public confidence. Consequent to the NKF Saga, we have seen how the employees of NKF decided against blowing the whistle on their superiors despite being aware of the fraudulent practices of the upper management. This ill culture where unethical behaviour is condoned has brought down an otherwise successful and good-intentioned organisation. Our consulting team will perform a critical review on the Army’s existing strategies and tactics and propose changes to lift the Army out of the current situation through boosting public confidence and ultimately increase their donation funds to deliver its intended objectives. Subsequently, we propose the use of Balanced Scorecard (“BSC”) to implement the proposed strategies and tactics in view of its success in the corporate world.