Charity uses claw-game machine to showcase innovative ways needed to boost donations

Mr Saktiandi Supaat uses the claw machine at the Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society's roadshow.ST VIDEO: AHMAD ZHAKI ABDULLAH

SINGAPORE - In light of the gloomy economic outlook, voluntary welfare organisations (VWO) here must come up with "innovative ways" to attract donors, said Thye Hua Kwan (THK) chairman Lee Kim Siang.

On Monday (Jan 2), THK launched a roadshow highlighting its services at the Junction 8 shopping mall in Bishan with a unique twist - a claw game machine, offering the opportunity to win stuffed toys.

Each try on the machine, which accepts both one dollar coins as well as special tokens, costs $2. The money raised will go towards services such as THK's free meal centres and free clinics, which do not receive government funding.

Mr Lee said that the roadshow and the machines were a "minor expenditure" to attract people to find out more about THK's services and programmes.

THK bought ten machines for about $10,000, which includes the cost of shipping the items from China. A spokesman for the organisation that it was fully sponsored by an anonymous donor.

He said that VWOs must raise awareness of what they are doing to help the needy.

Mr Lee said that THK had not yet been affected by the economy.

"We are okay. In good times and bad times people help us," he said, adding that during this time the public may be more likely to help bigger organisations which can do more with their funds.

Member of Parliament for Bishan-Toa Payoh Mr Saktiandi Supaat, who attended Monday's event, agreed that VWOs could do more to raise funds with the economic downturn.

"Creative methods of fundraising could be one way," he said, adding that VWOs should continue to raise awareness of their programmes among members of the public so that they continue to give.

The roadshow, together with the game machines, will be at Junction 8 until Sunday (Jan 8). From Jan 16, they will be at AMK Hub in Ang Mo Kio as well as Northpoint in Yishun, for between one and three months.

In the future THK also hopes to place them at other malls, as well as other locations such as community centres and swimming pools.

Mr Prakash Gedam, whose two children tried out the claw machines at Junction 8, said the claw machines were a good way of raising funds.

"The kids can enjoy themselves while the parents give to charity," said the 41-year-old, who works in a bank.