Doing Good Well: What Does (and Does Not) Make Sense in the Nonprofit World

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John Wiley & Sons, 2009 - Business & Economics - 276 pages
Why does a deserving charity struggle to make ends meet while another which squanders money, thrive? Because there is a structural disconnect between revenue and expenses in the nonprofit world.

Is continuous growth the hallmark of a successful charity? No, it’s just the opposite—the ultimate aim of a charity is to be extinct.

Would you use volunteers if it actually cost more than hiring paid skilled staff? Yes, if engagement with the community is crucial.

Call these examples, ironies, paradoxes or simply insights into why the charity sector is what it is.

Doing Good Well is a thinking man’s guide to the nonprofit world. It is replete with nonprofit paradigms. It provides a different twist to what one might regard as straightforward notions such as mission, staff compensation, governance and corporate social responsibility. And it surprises and challenges even as it seeks to explain charity-specific issues such as charitableness, bridging the rich/poor divide, informed giving and social entrepreneurship.

And as he deconstructs existing paradigms, Willie Cheng creates new ones.

Through an easy writing style, hearty anecdotes and thought-provoking perspectives, Cheng engages the readers with a strategic review of not just the status quo but also the enormous potential in the nonprofit world. The theme of the book is change. Inasmuch as charities are about changing society for the better, this book seeks to set the stage for interesting introspection.

Whether you are a volunteer, business executive, nonprofit worker, governor or regulator, it’s time to start asking the questions that would help the charity sector itself change for the better. In Cheng’s words, charity is no longer simply about "Just Doing Good" but "Doing Good Well."

All royalties from the sale of this book will go to charity.


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About the author (2009)

Willie Cheng is a former partner of Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing firm. Prior to his retirement in 2003, he was the country managing director for Singapore and the managing partner of its Communications and High Tech practice in Asia.
Since his retirement, he has stayed involved with the business and the infocomm community. However, he spends the larger part of his time working with nonprofit organizations at the board and volunteer level. Among these, he is chairman of the Lien Center for Social Innovation and Caritas Singapore.
He was formerly chairman of the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Center where he started applying his management consulting background to nonprofit work.
He has written extensively on the nonprofit sector. This book, his first, is a distillation of these writings, updated for an international context.
He lives in Singapore with his wife, Julie, and two sons, Ian and Ivan.
He can be contacted at

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