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Tips on informed giving

From time to time, members of the public 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 cautious in responding to such appeals.

Have you been asked to make a donation on the streets? Do you know if your donations end up helping the beneficiaries as claimed? Click on the links below to watch CrimeWatch 2014 Episode 8. See how dubious fundraisers operate. Find out how you can protect yourself from becoming the next victim! This CrimeWatch episode is a collaboration between MCCY, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) to alert the public on improper fundraising activities and to promote informed giving.

Do your research before donating to a charity

The following tips will help in making a more informed decision about giving:

  1. Take the time to identify the charitable causes important to you. The SG Gives website provides details on various causes.
  2. Visit the Charity Portal to locate the registered charities and Institutions of a Public Character (IPCs) which you wish to support. The search function on the Portal will allow you to retrieve basic information about the charities such as their vision, objectives and contact details.
  3. Visit  the following websites to learn more about the charity sector:
    1. Charity Portal
    2. National Council of Social Service (NCSS)
    3. National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC)

While donors would typically choose to support causes they believe in, it is a good practice to support charities which also have good governance standards. A well-governed charity would minimise the likelihood of misuse or inefficient use of funds, allowing the maximum amount of resources to go to the beneficiaries.

Donors may also wish to look beyond the needs of beneficiaries when providing funding support to charities. Capability development for instance, is an area which is crucial to the long term sustainability of the charities requiring funding.

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 Singapore Police (SPF) or the National Council of Social Service (NCSS). 

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:

  1. 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".)

  2. Online verification

    via Charity Portal, NCSS website or SPF website

  3. 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.

  4. Police@SG smartphone application

    Download the Police@SG application and go to "More Links" to assess the Charities and Fund Raising search engine of Charity Portal.

If the fund-raiser is raising funds for foreign charitable purposes, they should also be able to produce a separate 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.

For more information on informed giving, please visit the Charity Portal.

Last Updated: 13 October 2016

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