Social Media Fund-Raising Being Scrutinised

The Government will be keeping a close watch on fund-raisers that appear on social media. This is to prevent misrepresentation of claims, or monies being used. 

This comes after the recent spike in appeals for donations. Some have even managed to garner six-figure sums in donations by using narratives that appeal to emotions of the masses. 

The Office of the Commissioner of Charities (COC) and the police have already investigated some of these fund-raiser appeals. 

A spokesman for the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) said, “We are encouraged to see concerned members of the public stepping up to help others with their time and resources”.

“However, we would also advise them to exercise due diligence and care in verifying the accuracy of reported accounts before committing significant resources, as there have been cases where reported accounts, including on social media, have not been complete or fully accurate.”

MSF also shared that they have provided facts and clarifications on certain cases on their Facebook page or in response to media queries. 

The COC said that online fund-raisers still fall under the regulations of the Charities Regulations 2012 if the target audience is Singaporeans. Hence, there is a need to meet certain requirements like the clear and accurate disclosure of information about the beneficiary and the purpose of donations, the proper use of the funds received, and the keeping of proper records on donations received and disbursed. 

Anyone who flouts fund-raising laws can be fined up to $5,000 and/or be jailed up to 12 months.

Source: “Fund-raising appeals on social media under scrutiny” (The Straits Times, 12 June 2017)

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