Public to be consulted on what information donors want on Charity Portal for informed giving

SINGAPORE – All charities here and members of the public will be invited to share their views on what information should be provided on the online Charity Portal.

The move is aimed at letting donors and grant-makers make more informed choices when they give, said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong on Wednesday (Sept 29).

The portal, a Singapore Government Agency website, consolidates resources for charities as well as allows people to look up information on charities such as their annual reports and financial information.

Last year, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth had shared that it would provide basic information on charities’ profile pages on the Charity Portal to improve transparency and public confidence in the sector.

This information will include the compliance status of a charity’s regulatory submissions, and its compliance score for the Code of Governance for Charities and Institutes of a Public Character (IPCs).

This roll-out will be implemented in stages, starting with IPCs, said Mr Tong.

He said that a small group consultation had already been held to gather some ideas on the implementation, but all charities and the public will be invited to share their views on what information should be included and how it should be presented.

Mr Tong was speaking at the Charity Governance Conference, which was themed Towards Excellent Governance – Building a Sustainable and Progressive Charity, and had about 700 participants online.

“This will imbibe a strong sense of public confidence and give donors and grant-makers a quick overview of the charities’ regulatory compliance to help them make informed giving choices,” said Mr Tong.

Before the pandemic, donation figures had grown from $2.5 billion in 2014 to $3.2 billion in 2019, he noted in his speech. Over the past 10 years, the number of IPCs had grown from about 540 to more than 640 today.

He urged charities to leverage on partnerships established over the years. Smaller charities, in particular, should tap the expertise of professionals to raise their level of compliance and governance standard, he said.

To help these charities do so, a shared services initiative was launched in 2018 to pool essential resources and services in the charity sector.

To date, more than 7,000 charity representatives have participated in the training sessions organised by partners under the initiative, said Mr Tong. These partners include the Chartered Secretaries Institute of Singapore and Singapore Buddhist Federation. More than 300 charities, of which at least 40 per cent were small and medium charities, have also attended one-on-one consultation clinics for more in-depth advice. 

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There are more than 2,200 charities in Singapore. 

Mr Tong said: “The more we are able to link up helping hands – government, private sector, charities – the more beneficiaries can be served in a more holistic and enhanced way.

“This will enable charities to pool resources and expertise, to fundamentally create a strong and sustainable longer-term future that is holistic in terms of service delivery and outcomes.”

At the event on Wednesday, Charity Council chairman Gerard Ee also announced that the council is embarking on a project to simplify the Code of Governance for Charities and IPCs, which was last reviewed in 2015.

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