By Mr Jeffrey Tan, Director for Knowledge & Advocacy, NVPC
With reference to TOC’s news article, “Heart Foundation files police report on fake volunteers raising donations” (22 Feb 2017), the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) would like to take the opportunity to remind members of the public to exercise informed giving and to be more discerning in responding to appeals.
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 Force (SPF) or the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) for its member social service organisations.
There are a few ways that the public can ascertain if a fund-raising activity is genuine. For instance, members of the public can request the fund-raiser to show the collector’s Certificate (sample is attached for reference). Apart from this, the public can also verify the authenticity of the collections via a SMS Verification Service by Charities Unit (SMS “FR<space><licence/certificate number or organisation name>” to 79777), or verify online via Charity Portal (www.charities.gov.sg), NCSS website (www.ncss.gov.sg) or SPF website (www.police.gov.sg). For NCSS issued permits, the public may also verify via QR Code. The public should not feel pressurised to give if they feel uncertain about the source. The public can always contact or find out more about the charity and donate at a later date.
While there are some instances of fraudulent fundraisers, the vast majority of legitimate charities rely on fundraising as a means of supporting the good work that they do in the community. Singaporeans should continue to support their efforts, as well as, be an informed giver.
In the same vein, Giving.sg (www.giving.sg) is a trusted national online giving platform run by NVPC that matches donors and volunteers with charities. We practice vigilance over the cyber security dimensions and regulatory controls. A recent annual system audit on cyber security and penetration tests done in December 2016 by Grant Thornton, a reputable international audit firm, shows that Giving.sg has the highest rating on its security and internal controls. Members of the public can visit Giving.sg and choose from any of the 14 causes and 466 charities across all sectors, to support a cause, to start a fund-raiser, to donate, or sign up as a volunteer.
NVPC is a non-profit organisation promoting a giving culture in Singapore through catalysing development in volunteerism and philanthropy to build a City of Good. The NGO facilitates partnerships with non-profits, companies, public sector bodies and individuals to enliven the giving ecosystem within Singapore.