SINGAPORE: Last year, Singapore donated S$30 million to online charity portal Giving.sg, with a third of that donated in December alone and half a million donated on Christmas Day.
The total figure is a 15 per cent increase from the year before and is the highest achieved since 2015, when the portal was set up with the merging of volunteering platform SG Cares and donation platform SG Gives.
Singaporeans tend to give generously during the last month of the year, according to statistics by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), which manages Giving.sg.
The website allows its 163,000 registered users to volunteer with or donate to more than 500 charities. The site is open to all, but draws mostly Singaporeans, said NVPC, which is backed by the Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth.
In 2017, S$11 million was donated in December, almost half of the S$25.9 million donated to various causes that entire year.
NVPC attributed the trend of year-end giving to the fact that many people donate as a way of giving gifts for Christmas.
For Christmas 2018, S$556,000 was donated in a single day, with the top three causes being the elderly, healthcare, as well as children and youth.
Causes in the elderly category include donations for hospices, senior care centres, nursing homes and food charities, while those who donated to children and youth helped young people from disadvantaged families, or children with medical ailments such as heart problems or cancer.
The health category is a broad one, with donors giving towards food charity, cancer causes, recovery for women and girls in hospital, or to fight various diseases like Parkinson's.
FULFIL-A-WISH CAMPAIGNS EXCEED FUND-RAISING TARGETS
Several Christmas fund-raising campaigns that allowed donors to fulfil wishes exceeded their targets.
For example, the Assisi Hospice quickly met its S$60,000 goal for its "Help someone this Christmas" campaign. The hospice provides palliative care for patients and supports caregivers of these patients, who may suffer from various ailments like cancer and intellectual disabilities.
Another campaign that drew more than enough donations was the "Our Christmas Gift Wishlist" campaign by Metta Welfare Association, which included requests like a wish for durians by an advanced-stage cancer sufferer.
Almost half of the donors on Christmas Day last year were aged between 45 and 54 years old, and they largely donated towards causes for the elderly.
This demographic, along with those aged between 35 and 44, make up the bulk of donors in 2018. Their top cause? Children and youth, followed closely by the elderly and social services.
Despite the ongoing trend of Singaporeans donating more during Christmas or December, NVPC hopes to make giving a year-round affair with its monthly campaigns.
NVPC's director of digital innovation Andy Sim said the increase in giving throughout 2018 showed "that Singapore cares as caring ensues when we give".
Giving.sg tracks only online donations. The total figure for all types of donations usually exceeds a billion.
A survey conducted by NVPC every two years on such donations last found S$2.18 billion in donations to organisations in 2016. The next set of figures are due to be released later this year.