We thank Mr Sean Lim Wei Xin and Mr Lim Chee Khiam for their letters (Are non-commercial fund-raisers subject to new code?; and Have donation boxes in more public areas, both published on March 27).
The Code for Commercial Fund-raisers is not only for commercial fund-raisers, but also for charities and members of the public.
The code incorporates both legislative requirements and professional standards.
All legislative requirements are mandatory and many of these requirements also apply to charities which raise funds.
For example, all fund-raisers, including charities, must ensure that any information provided to donors is accurate, and must not cause annoyance to any person.
They must also ensure that they have adequate safeguards for proper accountability and to prevent any loss or theft of donations.
The code also recommends best practices to ensure all who raise funds behave appropriately.
These best practices are not mandated as we are mindful not to overburden charities, especially those who conduct fund-raising appeals using volunteers. We will also engage charities and encourage them to adopt these best practices.
As each charity has different needs, we do not prescribe the mode of fund-raising. Instead, we encourage each charity to properly assess which approach works best for it. Charities may have their own reasons for engaging commercial fund-raisers. However, they need to be mindful of their fund-raising costs, and ensure that fund-raising practices are aligned with the expected standards as laid out in the code.
Ang Hak Seng (Dr)
Commissioner of Charities