Crowdfunding sites have received $100k donations

There were 25 instances in 2017 when single donations of $100,000 were given to National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre's Giving.sg
There were 25 instances in 2017 when single donations of $100,000 were given to National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre's Giving.sgPHOTO: GIVING.SG

SINGAPORE - While most donors give between tens to hundreds of dollars, there are a few who have given single donations of up to $100,000 to charitable causes through crowdfunding sites.

The largest sum donated in 2017 on National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre's (NVPC) Giving.sg was $100,000, while the average sum was $267. The hefty gift was not a one-off too.

An NVPC spokesman said there were 25 instances last year when single donations of $100,000 were given.

The spokesman declined to provide more details, citing donors privacy.

Give.asia said on average, three in four donors give single donations of $25, $50 or $100. But co-founder Aseem K Thakur told The Straits Times a few anonymous donors have given single donations of about $50,000to charities.

Given the increasing sums raised through crowdfunding sites, the Government has now introduced a Code of Practice for Online Charitable Fundraising to boost transparency and accountability.

Under the new Code which was launched on Tuesday (Jan 23), crowdfunding platforms have to assess the legitimacy of a donation appeal, give regular updates of the funds raised and make public the fees they charge, or the cut they take from the sums raised.

Give.asia collected $11.2 million in donations for fundraising efforts held here last year (2017), up from $4.5 million in 2016 and $2.5 million in 2015.

At least 95 percent of the funds raised on Give.asia have been for Singapore-based fundraising efforts, a spokesman said.

Two to three fundraising efforts are started each day on average for the past three years on the platform.

At Giving.sg, close to $26 million in donations were collected for 487 charities in 2017. This is up from about $20 million in 2015 for 377 charities and about $20 million in 2016 for 463 charities.

SimplyGiving collected about $731,000 in donations in Singapore last year (2017), double the $324,000 it raised in 2016. It raised $250,000 in 2015.

Explaining the rise in the sums collected, the crowdfunding sites say more people are comfortable with donating online.

Mr Thakur, co-founder of Give.asia, added: "Many of the campaigns and causes on Give.asia are shared on social media, which amplifies the impact and increases awareness, leading to more donations."

The largest sum raised here through crowdfunding so far is about $1.2 million. The sum was raised for Xie Yujia, 3, who was born without part of the oesophagus and cannot eat through her mouth. The sums collected is for her medical treatment overseas.

Mother Nina Shariff, 41 , raised over $239,000 on Give.asia for her son who has septicaemia, or blood poisoning.

The Straits Times contacted 15 individuals who had raised funds through crowdfunding. Most did not reply to messages. The parents of Xie Yujia declined to be interviewed.

 

Donors welcome the boost in transparency and accountability with the introduction of the Code.

Mr Reddi Kiran, who has donated through online platforms, said getting regular updates on how the funds are used is a good move on the part of fundraisers.

He added: "As a donor, I will give more when I have a sense of where the money is going.

"I'll also donate faster when I see the breakdown of expenditures," said the 27-year-old engineer.