Forum: Bring back telepoll lines for future charity shows

The President’s Star Charity show was held without a live audience for the first time, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The President’s Star Charity show was held without a live audience for the first time, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.PHOTO: MEDIACORP

The amount of money raised at this year's President's Star Charity is certainly commendable, given that many people are facing a tough time during the Covid-19 pandemic ($10.4m raised so far in President's Star Charity 2020, Oct 6).

I watched the show on Sunday night and am heartened by the efforts taken to raise funds for the 72 beneficiaries supported by the President's Challenge.

However, I am surprised by the lack of telepoll lines for the public to call and make their donations.

These hotlines have been the staple of every charity show, with different numbers corresponding to different donation amounts.

Many viewers would be accustomed to hearing these numbers starting with "1900-112" in advertisements promoting the charity show or in the call for donations throughout the show.

This time, the call made by the participants was for the public to scan the QR code located at the top left-hand corner of the screen, which was where the telepoll lines were featured in past charity shows. Alternatively, donations could be made via the President's Star Charity website.

While this is a good collaboration between the President's Challenge and banks in the light of more Singaporeans turning to e-payments, people without smartphones, or a banking app installed on their smartphones, or Internet access altogether, would be left out.

It would have been more convenient to just pick up the phone and call the telepoll lines as online donations may also be subject to technical issues.

I suggest that charity organisations reinstate the traditional telepoll lines for future charity shows, in addition to adopting digital methods.

This would cater to different groups of people and possibly rake in even more donations to benefit those in need.

Kenneth Tan Kai Wen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 08, 2020, with the headline 'Bring back telepoll lines for future charity shows'. Print Edition | Subscribe