sees record $13.6m in donations from April 1 to 19

Thousands respond to campaign asking people to give part or all of their $600 Solidarity Payment to charities

Thousands responded to an campaign encouraging Singaporeans to donate their Solidarity payment. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Donations on fund-raising website reached a record $13.6 million between April 1 and Sunday, as thousands of people responded to an online campaign encouraging Singaporeans to donate a part or all of their Solidarity Payment.

Traffic on the site also surged to a high of 67,000 visitors last Friday alone, far in excess of the daily average of 3,000 to 5,000, the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), which runs the site, said yesterday in an update on donations amid the coronavirus outbreak.

All adult Singaporeans will receive a Solidarity Payment of $600 this month, and 90 per cent of them already had the sum credited to their bank accounts on April 14.

Charities, social media influencers and the good-hearted have since urged those who do not need the money to donate it to the less privileged. The hashtag GiveYour600 went viral online.

The NVPC said that donations so far this year, totalling more than $22.5 million, have already exceeded what was given in the first four months of each of the past four years, with people driven to online giving even as traditional fund-raising and volunteering events are curbed by safe distancing measures.

But NVPC deputy chief executive Tony Soh, while applauding Singaporeans for their generosity, also said people might need to rethink the way they give. He said: "While this surge of donations will go a long way in helping address immediate needs related to Covid-19, we urge everyone to pace themselves for a marathon, not a sprint.

"We must also remember the charities that may not have Covid-19-related campaigns but are meeting critical daily needs of vulnerable communities that require as much or more attention than ever before."

The NVPC's statement urged more people to make a transition towards sustainable giving, where the habit is integrated into one's life, and not only in response to urgent and visible needs.

"Donors who cultivate relationships with specific charities that reflect their own values and aspirations often also find deeper satisfaction and tend to be longer-term, more consistent givers.

"These donors enrich their lives by also volunteering or serving on projects, committees or boards," it said.

"The spirit of other-centred giving means moving away from one-off, reactive or functional donations towards a more personal, relational and ongoing support of causes in need or adopting causes close to their heart for regular support."

The NVPC announced on April 13 that it was waiving its usual 3 per cent transaction fee from Jan 1 this year to March 31 next year.

Interested donors can go to the website or download the SG Cares app to get the latest updates on community initiatives.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 22, 2020, with the headline sees record $13.6m in donations from April 1 to 19. Subscribe