About VWOs, Charities IPCS


What is a Voluntary Welfare Organisation (VWO)?

A VWO is a non-profit organisation that provides services to benefit the community. Although there is no legal definition of a VWO, VWOs are typically registered as charities and are primarily set up to meet social service needs.


How to set up a VWO?

Individuals who are keen to set up a VWO must first establish a legal entity.  These can either be a Society or a Company Limited by Guarantee.  The third option is to set up the entity as a Trust, which is less common.   


Register as a Society

Registration can be done at the Registry of Societies (ROS) website.


Incorporate as a Company Limited by Guarantee

For more information, refer to the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) website.


Form a Trust

You will need to seek legal assistance to set up a Trust under the Trustees Act.  You may wish to refer to the Trustees Act for more information.


Additional Information

  • For further details on the differences between the three legal structures (Society/ Company Limited by Guarantee/ Trust), please refer to information available at The Law Society Charity Information Portal. Once a VWO is registered as a legal entity, it is eligible to apply to theCommissioner of Charities for charity status (for exemption from corporate income tax) and Institution of a Public Character (IPC) status (thatallows VWO to issue tax deductible receipts to donors). View the Charity Portal to learn more.
VWOs can also apply to become a NCSS member via the e-services, to enjoy member benefits, be connected to a network of other VWOs and receive periodic updates on developments in the social service sector.