Content from https://www.charities.gov.sg/
Making A Donation Decision
From time to time, you may be approached for donations to support various charitable or benevolent causes. While most of these needs are genuine, it is always good to be more discerning in responding to such appeals.
A collaboration with National Crime Prevention Council and Singapore Police Force. Crime Watch 2014 Episode 8 – “Charity Scam”. Find out how dubious fund-raisers operate and learn how to avoid becoming victims of such improper fund-raising activities.
The following tips would help you to make a more informed giving decision.
Where Do I Start?
First, take time to identify the charitable causes important to you. There are various worthy causes to support in Singapore, ranging from the advancement of education, environmental protection, arts and heritage, to supporting the young, the elderly, the disadvantaged and the disabled.
You can find out more about these causes from the Giving.sg website.
How Do I Find A Charity To Donate To?
All charities have to register themselves with the office of the Commissioner of Charities. The list of registered charities and Institutions of a Public Character (IPCs) can be found on the Charity Portal. You can use the search function on the Portal to find basic information on charities, including their visions/objectives and contact details.
IPCs are further required to publicly disclose on the Portal their compliance with a set of good governance guidelines, as well as their annual reports and financial statements. Donations to IPCs enjoy income tax exemption.
Where Can I Find Out More About The Charity Sector In Singapore?
The Charity Portal, in addition to providing the list of registered charities and IPCs in Singapore, also contains information on the regulatory framework governing the charity sector and fund-raising activities.
The National Council of Social Service (NCSS) coordinates the social service sector, to identify and address service gaps in Singapore. NCSS also provides their member voluntary welfare organisations with funding grants and resources for manpower training and capability development, so that they can better help the disadvantaged.
If you are interested in issues related to philanthropy and volunteerism, the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) provides information on how you, whether as an individual or an organisation, can help to contribute to charitable causes. NVPC also administers the Giving.sg initiative, which provides an online platform for donors to donate to charities. Those who are interested in the arts may also wish to visit the Give2arts.sg website to find out more about how you can contribute to the arts sector.
Ways To Ascertain If A Fund-Raising Activity Is Bona-Fide
While fundraising can be conducted by non-charities, all public collections of money require the fund-raiser to produce a copy of the collector’s Certificate of Authority, issued by the Police or the National Council of Social Service.
You can request the fund-raiser to show you the collector’s Certificate. An NCSS-issued sample certificate and SPF sample certificate is provided for reference.
Apart from requesting to see the Certificate, you can also verify the authenticity of the collections using the following methods:
A) SMS Verification Service by Charities Unit, MCCY
SMS “FR<space><licence/certificate number or organisation name>” to 79777.
For example, “FR 2011003000”, “FR L/HH/001111/2011” or “FR Charity Limited”.
C) QR Code Verification (for NCSS issued permits only)Scan the code with your smartphone.
You can download the QR Code scanner software from your smartphone’s app store.
D) Police@SG smartphone application
Download the Police@SG application and go to “More Links” to access the Charities and Fund-Raising search engine of the Charity Portal
If the fund-raiser is raising funds for foreign charitable purposes, they should also be able to produce a seperate foreign fund-raising permit issued by the Office of the Commissioner of Charities.
Do not feel pressurised to give. You can contact or find out more about the charity and give to them at a later date.
Unsolicited Appeals For Donations Through Mailers or Email
The mailers or email may originate locally or from overseas.
If the solicitation is done on behalf of a local charity, you should verify that it is registered with the office of the Commissioner of Charities by using the search function on the Charity Portal.
If it is indeed a registered charity that is seeking donations, you should contact the charity directly to find out more about its objectives, its intended beneficiaries, and the people who are responsible for the charity/IPC.
Look at the charity’s annual report and financial statement to get an idea of its operations.
If third party fundraisers are involved in the appeal, do bear in mind that part of your contribution may be channelled towards the fundraising expenses.
If the solicitation is from an overseas charity, you may need to exercise more care and find out whether it is a bona fide charity registered with the regulator in its country, and perform a simple online search to find out more about it.
A well-managed charity should subscribe to the principles of transparency and accountability.
If necessary, you should clarify with the charity how the funds raised would be used, and how much of it would directly benefit its beneficiaries. On the whole, you should exercise greater caution when deciding whether or not to donate funds directly overseas.
Do not feel pressurised to give.
How And When To Report A Concern
If someone approaches you for a donation (be it to support a local or overseas cause), he or she should be able to provide you with information on the fund-raising appeal, such as the purpose of the appeal; the beneficiaries and how the funds raised would be used.
You should probe further if the fund-raiser is unable to furnish details of the fund-raising appeal. In general, the following scenarios should raise some red flags :
- Fund-raiser is ambiguous or unable to provide answers to queries on the fundraising (e.g. uses of funds received and name of the beneficiary)
- Information provided is verified to be bogus
- Charity or organisation is soliciting for donations without the relevant permit
- Charity or organisation is conducting unlawful fundraising activities
- Commercial or third-party fundraiser is unable to show proof that they are authorised by charity to raise funds
- Fund-raiser is being aggressive or abusive
- Donors are aware that large portion of the funds raised would be used to pay the fundraising expenses
- There is reason to believe that the funds raised are being misused
Reporting A Concern
If you would like to report on dubious fund-raising appeals conducted in publicly accessible places or from house to house, or those conducted without a valid license, you are advised to report the matter to the Police immediately.
Information To Provide When Making A Report
- Name of the organisation that is conducting the fundraising activity
- Details of the event that triggered the reporting
- Documents received in relation to the matter