Ways to ascertain if fund raiser is genuine

The National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) reminds members of the public to exercise informed giving and to be more discerning in responding to appeals (Charity files police report over group of 'volunteers'; Feb 22).

While fund raising 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 for the public to 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.

Apart from this, the public can also verify the authenticity of the collections via an SMS verification service by the Charities Unit (SMS FR to 79777), or verify online via the websites of the Charity Portal (www.charities.gov.sg), NCSS (www.ncss.gov.sg) or SPF (www.police.gov.sg).

For NCSS-issued permits, the public may also verify via the QR code on the certificate.

The public should not feel pressurised to give if they feel uncertain. They can always contact the charity or find out more about it and donate at a later date.

While there are some instances of fraudulent fund raisers, the vast majority of legitimate charities rely on fund raising 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 informed givers.

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 practise vigilance over the cyber security dimensions and regulatory controls.

A recent annual system audit on cyber security and penetration tests, done in December last year 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 any of the 14 causes and 466 charities across all sectors to support, start a fund raiser, donate, or sign up as a volunteer.

Jeffrey Tan

Director

Knowledge and Advocacy

National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2017, with the headline 'Ways to ascertain if fund raiser is genuine'. Print Edition | Subscribe