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 safer giving decision.
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.
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.
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.
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".
B) Online Verificationvia Charity Portal, NCSS Website or SPF Website
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.
The mailers or email may originate locally or from overseas.