Ever received a dubious email asking for donations? With online scams becoming more common, how do we know whether appeals are genuine? The Commissioner of Charities (COC) encourages members of the public to “Ask. Check. Give.” 

Ask questions

  • Who is the beneficiary?
  • What will my donation be used for?
  • How can I receive updates?

Check legitimacy

  • Look up the charity on the Charity Portal.
  • View the charity’s annual submissions to find out more about its activities and verify the usage of donations.
  • Check if the charity’s website is secure (i.e. lock symbol and “https”).
  • Is the crowdfunding platform recognised by COC?

Give generously and safely

Fund-raising activities conducted on behalf of a charity

Soliciting donations from the public will require the fund-raiser to have a Collector’s Certificate of Authority from the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) or the Singapore Police Force. Apart from requesting to see the certificate, members of the public can also verify the authenticity of such activities through:

Online fund-raising

By an individual

  • Check the profile and background of the individual.
  • Is there clear and accurate information about the beneficiary?
  • Find out the purpose of the donation and how it will be used.
  • Establish the proportion of donations that will go to the beneficiary.
  • Check for proper records of donations received and disbursed, with regular updates on the amount raised.
  • Also see if the fund-raiser is responsive to queries from the public.

By an organisation

  • Look out for copycat names or duplicate appeals that might mislead or deceive you into thinking you are donating to a legitimate fund-raising effort.
  • If the organisation claims to be a local charity, verify their legitimacy on the Charity Portal. 

If in doubt, consider making a report to the Commissioner of Charities or the police, or enquire directly with the charity organisation through official channels. Do note to take down particulars such as the name of the individual or group conducting the fund-raising activity, details of the event that triggered the reporting, and documents received in relation to the matter.

You can always give safely through the charity’s official website. Should you be interested in donating to Singapore Children’s Society, please visit here. For more information on our latest fundraising campaigns, visit our crowdfunding platform, Give2Children, or find us on other crowdfunding platforms such as Giving.sg, SimplyGiving and GIVE.asia.

*The above guidelines were obtained from the Charity Portal on Safer Giving.

Click here to read the story in Chinese.

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