Dec 3, a day set aside to give to the less privileged

FORGET Christmas shopping, the first Tuesday of December can be better spent giving your time and money to the less privileged.

The National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre yesterday set aside Dec 3 as GivingTuesdaySG.

It is encouraging as many Singaporeans as possible to take part and chief executive Laurence Lien plans to raise awareness for the campaign on social media platforms.

"We hope to make giving a way of life in Singapore, to promote the importance that giving has in our society," he said. "Singaporeans are starting to give a lot more but it's good to have a day when everyone's attention is focused."

Mr Aun Koh, the centre's director of marketing, advocacy and development, added that donations in December account for 40 per cent of total annual donations to its SG Gives website.

"December is really a giving season," said Mr Koh. "With everyone focused on buying presents, it's a great opportunity to kickstart officially the giving season. We hope to create enough national attention, and remind people to be charitable in the year."

The giving day idea started last year in the United States, where it took place following Thanksgiving and the start of the pre-Christmas sales.

Singapore has joined Canada and Australia in picking up the idea. Thirty corporations, non-profit groups and charities here - including Singapore Press Holdings, The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (SPMF) and Singapore Cancer Society - have become founding partners of the campaign.

Each will come up with initiatives to promote giving. For example, the SPMF, which helps needy students with school-related expenses, will launch a programme in conjunction with the day to get people to pledge to be regular donors. It will also invite its partners to sponsor outings for its beneficiaries.

Some non-profit organisations which have not officially signed up to the initiative said it will benefit them too.

Youth organisation Voluntarius president Farhan Mohammed, 27, said: "In terms of resources, smaller groups find it harder to be part of a big campaign. This might not have a direct impact for us but such campaigns will have a spillover effect."

Members of the public can choose which cause they want to support and donate directly to the charity, or go to the various donation websites.

Administrative executive Dawn Tay, 24, said: "This will serve as a reminder that there are people or animals that need help, and giving can come in different ways."

LIM YI HAN

Visit www.givingtuesday.sg for more information.