Commissioner of Charities seeks views on proposed changes to fundraising laws

Should donations to individual beneficiaries be considered as private gifts rather than charitable donations? This move will relieve the needy and their families of the need to fulfil certain regulatory obligations such as collection of donation receipts.

The Office of the Commissioner of Charities is looking for public feedback on this proposed change and other changes it intends to make to laws governing fundraising appeals for individuals. Feedback may be sent to mccy_charities@mccy.gov.sg. The consultation opens till Nov 1 and the consultation paper is available on the charity and Reach portals.

Currently, all fund-raising appeals conducted by any persons or organisations for charitable purposes are regulated under the Charities Regulations. Under these regulations, fund-raisers need to meet certain obligations such as the keeping of proper records, disclosing the purpose of the fundraising to donors and ensuring that the donation is used only for the purposes it is intended for.

These regulations now apply to registered charities as well as to individuals, families or organisations which are not registered charities.

Once the proposed changes come into effect, beneficiaries will have greater discretion and responsibility to ensure that the money is used for the cause it is intended for.

However, the COC will continue to have the power under the Charities Act to investigate complaints and restrict any fund-raising appeals if there is mismanagement or misconduct involved.