SINGAPORE - Should donations to individual beneficiaries be considered as private gifts rather than charitable donations? This move will relieve the needy and their families of the need to fulfil certain regulatory obligations such as collection of donation receipts.
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Here is the press release from Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY):
The Office of the Commissioner of Charities (COC) is seeking views from the public on proposed changes to the regulatory approach towards fundraising appeals for individuals.
Review of the Fundraising Regulation
Currently, all fundraising appeals conducted by any persons or organisations for charitable purposes are regulated under the Charities (Fundraising Appeals for Local and Foreign Charitable Purposes) Regulations. These regulations impose certain obligations on the fundraisers such as the keeping of proper records, duty to disclose the purpose of the fundraising to donors and ensuring that the donation is used only for intended purposes.
These regulations apply regardless of whether the intended beneficiaries are registered charities under the Charities Act or to individuals, families or organisations which are not registered charities. Hence, persons conducting fundraising appeals with the aim to provide financial relief to individual(s) are also expected to comply with the regulatory requirements. These requi rements impose obligations on the fundraisers (who are often the beneficiaries) which may not be in line with the intent of donors to help the individual or family in need.
As such, the COC is reviewing the existing regulatory position towards fundraising appeals for the benefit of specific individual(s), such that they will be seen as private gifts rather than charitable donations, relieving individual beneficiaries and their families of certain regulatory obligations. Nonetheless, to protect the donating public, the COC will continue to have the power under the Charities Act to investigate complaints and prohibit or restrict the conduct of any fundraising appeal for individual beneficiaries if there is mismanagement or misconduct involved.
Reported cases of suspected cheating will still be investigated by the Police as they are today.
The public is welcome to share their views on the proposed changes as part of the regulatory review on fundraising for individuals. Public Consultation
The consultation will open for four weeks, from today to November 1 and the Consultation Paper is available on:
- Charity portal at http://www.charities.gov.sg
- REACH portal at http://www.reach.gov.sg
Members of the public may send their feedback by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.