The matching of donations by the Government under the Care and Share programme is stated as one reason for the increased giving last year ("More opening up their purses for charity/Govt grants make a difference"; Thursday).
While the Care and Share programme is a very good effort by the Government, and should be continued, it takes the focus and credit away from the real generosity shown by donors.
Here are observations I have on this matter, based on 27 years of non-profit sector experience, as well as interaction with the various social sector organisations:
• Of the total donations (tax-deductible and non-tax deductible) across various years, the tax-deductible component is less than half.
This means that even without tax benefit, donors are willing to support a cause when they understand the need. So, credit goes to the donors; people are basically generous.
• The reason Singapore is raising more is that more charitable organisations have stepped up their efforts in fund raising in recent years. Basically, the more people you reach out to, the higher the number of people who will contribute. So, credit goes to the charities for their efforts.
• The capability-building efforts by organisations like the Social Service Institute and the National Arts Council, among others, are showing results.
The training and capability- building programmes for their member organisations to enhance their fund-raising skills in the areas of board involvement, strategic fund raising and using social media for outreach, among others, have helped organisations to be more effective in their fund raising.
So, credit also goes to these groups.
• There is no publicly available study done in Singapore to ascertain the correlation between charitable giving and the impact of matching funds. However, such studies done in other developed countries have shown that while a 1:1 match does motivate increased giving, a 2:1 or 3:1 increased match has no additional impact on giving patterns.
So, in this SG50 milestone year, let's give credit to all and cheer all efforts to get people to open their hearts and wallets for charity.
Usha Menon (Ms)