Will charity galas be a thing of the past, now that we can raise funds online?

From virtual events to deploying technology, charities are finding new ways of doing good, that are probably more economical too.

As Singapore grapples with the economic and social repercussions of the pandemic, there is no doubt that needs in the community have increased. Families and individuals are struggling with the loss of livelihoods, including those in the non-profit sector, which is battling to keep its employees and continue its outreach programmes.

There is one silver lining in this COVID-19 cloud though: Individuals and corporations in Singapore have proven to be a big-hearted lot when it comes to stepping up to the philanthropic plate. And instead of being a dampener, the lack of physical fundraisers has become an impetus to think creatively so that doing good doesn’t stop.

The Ministry Of Social And Family Development revealed that from January to May 2020, Singaporeans gave about S$90 million to Community Chest, the Sayang Sayang Fund and through Giving.sg.

This amount was equal to the overall donations received by Community Chest and the Giving.sg portal for the whole of 2019. More than 13,300 people also signed up to volunteer at Giving.sg during these five months, an 18 per cent increase compared to the same period last year.

On the other hand, while giving to COVID-19 causes has increased, donations to causes that are not directly related have decreased. Community Chest has projected a 20 to 30 per cent drop in donations this year for its funded programmes. The National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre has seen as much as an 80 per cent reduction in donations for charities in sectors not directly linked to COVID-19.

This year, glittering charity galas and balls that are a familiar part of Singapore’s society calendar have all but cancelled or moved online. These include those of Kidz Horizon Appeal, which attends to the medical needs of needy children and women with chronic illnesses; CRIB, a social enterprise that empowers female entrepreneurs; and The Halogen Foundation, which builds up young leaders and entrepreneurs.

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