Online donations gaining popularity in Singapore raises $50m in two years, while doubles amount collected this year allows users to volunteer and donate to a variety of causes such as to children, the elderly, the disabled, animal welfare causes and the environment. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM FACEBOOK VIDEO/GIVING.SG

More money is pouring online into Singapore's national charity portal, with donations doubling in the past two years to cross the $100 million mark.

The amount is a milestone for online donations, which are becoming an increasingly important source of fund raising for charities.

At least two online platforms have seen significant increases.

One is the government-backed Web portal. It has raised $50 million since its inception in December 2015, a sum its predecessor SG Gives took five years to collect from 2010 to 2015.

The other platform is crowdfunding site, set up by students of the National University of Singapore. Its spokesman said $10.8 million was collected this year, an amount that is more than double last year's $4.5 million.

The sharp increases suggest digital giving is gaining traction and donors are more open to the concept of giving online.

Said Mr Andy Sim, director of digital innovation at the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), which runs "Technology has enabled us to transform the traditional transactional relationship to something that is more meaningful as donors can now track their own giving journey at a glance on This helps build an affinity and attachment to causes they support."

Donors on the portal can, at the click of a mouse, see who benefits from their donations and what their money is used for.

For example, the page for the Share-A-Pot campaign by Caritas Singapore Community Council informs them that a $20 donation can provide 10 bowls of soup for senior citizens.

Charities are chuffed by the online boost as it shows the promise in reaching out to potential donors, even though the lion's share of donations is still from traditional means such as fund-raisers and volunteer outreach.

NVPC's survey on individuals giving their time and money to causes said a record $2.18 billion was donated to charities last year.

But interviews with some charities earlier this month indicated this year may not be a bumper year.

Fund-raising groups like the Singapore Red Cross said they are struggling to meet their targets. Beyond Social Services' executive director Gerard Ee said it is about $250,000 short of its target of around $1.8 million. The charity helps poor children and youth.

Among the reasons cited are the nascent economic recovery and growing competition from crowdfunding sites that highlight the plight of individuals.

Ms Ivy Tse of the Halogen Foundation said the novel causes on some sites will impact traditional charities like hers. Halogen runs youth development programmes to build leaders and entrepreneurs.

But a Singapore Kindness Movement spokesman noted that "traditional charities can also tap the possibilities of the online sphere".

He said this can be seen in the rise in donations on

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 28, 2017, with the headline Online donations gaining popularity in Singapore. Subscribe