SINGAPORE - Charities here pulled in $2.9 billion in donations in 2016, the highest sum in five years, the Commissioner of Charities (COC) Annual Report 2017 released on Tuesday (Nov 13) showed.
Religious groups, such as churches and temples, accounted for $1.1 billion of the monies donated. The rest of the donations went to charities in the education, social and health sector, among others.
The total donations received in 2016 is 5 per cent higher than the $2.7 billion in 2015 and 24 per cent higher than the $2.3 billion received in 2012.
Last year, there were 2,263 registered charities in Singapore, with 39 new charities registered and 23 groups that de-registered as charities. Religious groups made up about half of the charities.
Almost half of the charities here are relatively small, with an income of less than $250,000, the report noted. Besides donations, a charity's income can come from grants and the fees charged for services provided, among other sources.
In 2016, the charity sector had an income of $16.6 billion, an increase from the $16.4 billion in 2015.
Charities in the education sector, which include the universities, bagged almost 60 per cent of income generated in 2016. The bulk of it came from government grants and other sources, such as fees for services rendered.
In the past year, the Charities Commissioner has also started various initiatives to boost the charity sector and ensure that donations received are properly accounted for.
For instance, the commissioner introduced the Code of Practice for Online Fund-raising appeals in January as more turn to crowdfunding for causes such as raising funds for a sick loved one.
The new code helps to ensure that appeals on crowdfunding sites are genuine and that fund-raisers are accountable for the donations received.
The Charities Commissioner, Dr Ang Hak Seng, said in the report: "In today's dynamic environment, with new modes and platforms of giving, we want to enable and empower charities to build strong foundations of good governance and accountability."