15 April 2018

100% of Donations go to Charity?

This morning when I went shopping for groceries, I was approached by this friendly young lad asking for my time to listen to him, as usual I was very skeptical when a stranger approach me, usually they are insurance agent, or property agent or just outright asking for money or cigarette.

I listened to him since I was smoking, so he had as much time as my stick of cigarette burn. He is representing this Special Olympics Asia Pacific to publicly solicit for donations, and the money will go to helping people with special needs, he also gave me a leaflet showing people with down syndrome taking part in sports.

And then finally he asked for donations in way of monthly contributions or one-off payment, I laughed because I totally expected it. Anyway I told him I don't have any confidence in donating because long ago I helped NKF source for donations end up they misuse funds, some more I collected from friends and colleagues so end it's like I'm scamming them. Ever since that time I have 0 confidence in any such publicly sourced donations.

So during the conversation, he told me 100% of what he collects will go to charity, then I asked if he is a volunteer and he said no, he also said nobody will volunteer for such things. He also mentioned that the charity will pay his company. Ok. So since his company and him are getting paid, so how will 100% go to charity then? Very conflicting and misleading.

I also did a search on acra, found that this Special Olympics Asia Pacific is actually a company so they are required to do financial reporting every year. So as you can see it's like one hand in one hand out, this company help charity collect donations from public, maybe like what this lad say they give 100% to charity, however the charity will pay the company for their services, so when the charity balance their accounts, they don't ultimately get 100% of collected funds, I guess maybe 50%, 30% or even less nobody knows.

So if really want to help charities, might as well just donate directly to them, but beware your donations still won't be 100% going to those in need because the charities also have to pay for their own expenses, then again actually charities also receive heavy funding from government ministries, agencies or funds so I'm not very sure why they still need to ask for donations. Not all charities publish their financial statements though, we can look at one from Down Syndrome Association (Singapore).

DSA 21st Annual Report 2016 - 2017

Go to page 54 for their financial statement.

Their total income for 2017 is $2,482,166.

Their total expenses for 2017 is $2,545,001.

So they are in deficit of $62,835.


One super glaring item is under their expenses, "Salaries, bonus and allowances" is already $1,288,974, that's already 50.64% of their total 2017 expenses.

Another glaring item is "Trainer salary & allowances for programmes", $183,600, that's 7.21% of their total expenses, so this don't fall under "Salaries, bonus and allowances"? Private trainers and private programmes?

This one also very strange, "Education mentor expense", $108,308, also not part of "Salaries, bonus and allowances"? Also private mentor? Private programmes? That's 4.25% of their total expenses.

Another questionable item is "Utilities", $28,646, so since they have so many type of expenses already, what is inside this "Utilities" expenses? That's 1.12% of their total expenses.

So 50.64 + 7.21 + 4.25 + 1.12 = 63.22%.

If donate $10, $6.32 will go to paying for "Salaries, bonus and allowances", "Trainer salary & allowances for programmes", "Education mentor expense" and "Utilities". Actually the donations help the staff of the charity more than the special needs people.

As for fund raising, actually it doesn't look so bad, fund raising income is $1,389,765, the expenses is $189,790, so actually they are doing very well.

But best still just donate directly to them.


bunny38 said...

Thanks for doing the research. Now I know how much of the percentage goes to their salary. Will NOT donate to these organizations.

marrythaigirlsingapore said...

I think you can donate directly to the charities instead of going through any medium.

One way you can find out is search at ACRA, if they are registered company most likely most of your money will go elsewhere instead of helping those in need.

Then you can also search www.charities.gov.sg, charities are always registered here, so if you want to donate you can donate to those who are registered here.

Ultimately even though charities receive a lot of funding of government, staff don't work for free so still need a lot of donations to keep it going.