COC seeks public's views on proposed changes to fund-raising regulations
- POSTED: 04 Oct 2013 12:35
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The Commissioner of Charities (COC) is seeking views from the public on proposed changes to regulations towards fund-raising appeals for individuals. The consultation is open for four weeks, from October 4 to November 1.
SINGAPORE: More and more individuals are coming forward to raise money for charity -- and the Commissioner of Charities (COC) is seeking public feedback on proposed changes to regulations towards fund-raising appeals for such individuals.
The consultation is open for four weeks, starting Friday until November 1.
The COC is reviewing existing regulations towards fund-raising appeals for the benefit of specific individuals, such that they will be seen as private gifts rather than charitable donations.
This will relieve individual beneficiaries and their families of certain regulatory obligations.
However, to protect the donating public, the COC will continue to have the power under the Charities Act to investigate complaints, and prohibit or restrict any fund-raising 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.
Currently, all fund-raising appeals conducted by anyone or organisations for charitable purposes are regulated under the Charities (Fund-Raising Appeals for Local and Foreign Charitable Purposes) Regulations.
The COC said these regulations impose certain obligations on fund-raisers -- such as keeping of proper records, duty to disclose the purpose of the fund-raising to donors, and ensuring donations are used for intended purposes only.
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, those conducting fund-raising appeals with the aim to provide financial relief to individuals are also expected to comply with the regulatory requirements.
These requirements impose obligations on the fund-raisers (who are often the beneficiaries) which may not be in line with the intent of donors to help the individual or family in need.
Channel NewsAsia spoke to one individual fundraiser on the changes.
A car accident 10 years ago caused Adam to lose his right hand, and he then began to participate in marathons to raise money for the less fortunate.
Adam has mixed feelings about the proposed changes.
He said: "There is a lot of hassle, (you need to) fill in a lot of paperwork and stuff like that especially if your funds, just trying to raise maybe S$5,000 or S$10,000.
“So people don't want to go through that hassle just to raise that not-really-significant amount of money. This kind of procedure hinders a lot of people who want to help others.
“The only good part, I guess, is you force people to be transparent on where you get the donations, how you are going to get the donations, how the money is spent and where it is spent on. So there is a lot of pros and cons, I guess."