Crowdfunding sites have seen donors giving up to $100,000

While most donors give amounts ranging from 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 last year through the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre's (NVPC) Giving.sg platform was $100,000, while the average sum was $267. The hefty gift was not a one-off too.

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

The spokesman declined to provide more details, citing the need for donors' privacy.

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

Give.asia collected $11.2 million in donations through fund-raising efforts here last year, up from $4.5 million in 2016 and $2.5 million in 2015.

At least 95 per cent of the funds raised on Give.asia have been for Singapore-based fund-raising efforts, a spokesman said.

For the past three years, two to three fund-raising appeals have been started on the platform each day on average.

On Giving.sg, close to $26 million in donations were collected for 487 charities last year. This was 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, double the $324,000 it raised in 2016. The platform raised $250,000 in 2015.

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

Give.asia's Mr Thakur 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 a crowdfunding campaign so far is about $1.2 million. The campaign tapped at least two sites.

The sum was raised for three-year-old Xie Yujia, who was born without part of the oesophagus and cannot eat through her mouth. The money collected is to be used for her medical treatment overseas.

The parents of Yujia declined to be interviewed.

In another case, 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.

Donors welcome the effort to boost transparency and accountability with the introduction of the Code of Practice. Mr Reddi Kiran, who has donated money through online platforms, said having fund-raisers provide regular updates on how the donations are used is a good move.

"As a donor, I would give more when I have a sense of where the money is going," said the 27-year-old engineer. "I would also donate faster when I see a breakdown of expenditure."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 24, 2018, with the headline 'Crowdfunding sites have seen donors giving up to $100,000'. Print Edition | Subscribe