expand_less Top

Fund-Raising for Foreign Charitable Purposes

Fund-Raising for Foreign Charitable Purposes

If a charity, commercial fund-raiser or commercial participator wishes to conduct any fund-raising appeal for foreign charitable purposes, the organisation must apply to the Commissioner of Charities (COC) for a permit via GoBusiness Singapore.

To apply for the permit, the applicant must be an organisation (be it incorporated or unincorporated) in Singapore and submit the application at least 30 days before the commencement of the fund-raising appeal.  The applicant will be asked to submit the following documents in its application:

  • Proof that the beneficiary is a bona fide organisation in its country;
  • Letter from the beneficiary acknowledging that the fund-raising activity is held in its name; and
  • Governing instrument of the charity or intended beneficiary.

However, the requirement for a permit is waived if the fund-raising appeal is for donations-in-kind (confined to only goods and/or services) and the applicant falls under the following categories:

  • Charities registered under the Charities Act;
  • Exempt charities;
  • Companies that are incorporated or registered under the Companies Act; and
  • Societies that are registered under the Societies Act.
  • 80:20 Fund-Raising Rule
  • Maintenance and Disclosure of Financial Information
  • Other Matters to Note

If the funds are raised from the public, the applicant has to apply at least 80% of the net proceeds of the funds raised within Singapore.  The 80:20 rule will be waived for private fund-raising appeals or for appeals in aid of providing immediate disaster relief. 

Please refer to the Guidelines On Public and Private Fund-Raising for more information.

Every permit-holder must maintain the following records and keep proper accounts in respect of the fund-raising appeal:       

  • Names of the authorised persons who participated in the appeal;
  • Dates on which the appeal commenced and concluded;
  • Gross amount received from the appeal;
  • Amount of every item of expenditure disbursed from the funds raised;
  • Amount of net proceeds applied for the foreign charitable purposes for which the appeal was conducted and the means by which it was distributed; and
  • Amount transmitted to any person outside Singapore and to whom the money was transmitted.

Within 60 days after the last day of the fund-raising appeal, or within such period as may be allowed by the COC, every permit holder shall submit to the COC the Statement of Accounts of the fund-raising appeal.  The Statement of Account must be audited by:       

  • a Public Accountant; or
  • where the total amount of monies collected is $10,000 or lower, an independent person who is reasonably believed by the governing board members to have the requisite ability and practical experience to carry out a competent examination of the accounts of the fund-raising appeal.

Fund-raising expenses, including administrative expenses or remuneration of persons in relation to fund-raising, should not be excessive in proportion to gross proceeds likely to be received in response to the fund-raising appeal.  A general guideline is that such expenses should not exceed 30% of the total funds raised.       

Apart from the above, the permit-holder is also required to abide by the general conditions for the issuance of a permit under the Charities (Fund-Raising Appeals for Local and Foreign Charitable Purposes) Regulations 2012 and any other additional conditions imposed by the COC as stipulated in the permit.