Two weekends ago, I was approached by a Singapore Management University student at the open carpark of Holland Village.
She said the school was selling coupons for a car wash event at $10 each for a beneficiary in Buona Vista which I had not heard of.
Apart from the SMU T-shirt she was wearing, she did not produce any form of identification or permit. When I asked if she had a licence from the authorities, her reply was that licences are not needed since this event is run by a school.
I did not purchase the coupon because I wasn't convinced.
A quick check with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth later revealed that either a permit or a licence is required for any fund-raising appeal for local charitable purposes.
It is a setback for genuine volunteers and fund raisers if the public choose to walk away because of the fear of fraud or the lack of confidence in the fund raiser. Ironically, most fraudsters speak and present themselves better than genuine fund raisers.
There has to be a quick and effective way for the people to verify the cause in order for fund raising to be effective.
One way is to put up colour photographs and the identity card numbers of fund-raisers on a secure website. Sale items such as coupons should come with a QR code and a four-digit PIN so the public can access this secure site and check the identity of the volunteer.
This secure page can be removed once the fund-raising event is over.
Genuine fund-raisers should have no qualms about having their photograph and IC number uploaded onto a secure site.
Sim Ghee Choon