Help struggling VWOs by withdrawing IPC?

By Leong Sze Hian

I refer to the article "Sage closes, leaving wages and bills unpaid" (Straits Times, Sep 5).


Financial difficulties – withdraw IPC?

It states that

"In 2006, it lost its IPC or Institutions of a Public Character status, which allows donations to be tax-deductible. The reason, said a spokesman for the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS), was that it faced "recurring deficits, negative accumulating funds and outstanding debts".

When a Voluntary Welfare Organisation (VWO) is in financial difficulties, what it needs is more help, instead of the withdrawal of IPC status.

In so doing, it may be akin to the final nail in the coffin, as it is much harder to raise funds when donations are no longer tax-deductible.


Listing of VWOs that need donations

I would like to suggest that going forward, a listing of VWOs in funding difficulties be made public yearly, so that the public can consider channelling donations to those that may arguably need them more than others.


VWOs fund raising ability?

VWOs should be assessed on the good that they do, and not on their fund-raising abilities in order to survive in an increasingly competitive environment for limited charity dollars.  

Is it not somewhat ironic that a 35 year-old VWO like SAGE that has been serving the elderly has to close, whilst other VWOs can accumulate more than $230 million in their reserves?