Raising Funds for Charities – the Wrong and Right Ways


I remember watching the NKF charity show on TV as a kid. The whole thing seemed so meaningful to me that I picked up the phone and repeatedly dialled the donation number. No, I didn’t seek my parents’ permission, but let’s not sidetrack. πŸ™‚

I continued watching these heartwarming and often emotional charity shows into my teens and then into adulthood, donating several tens of dollars each time, sometimes more.

Until the TT Durai affair. It’s said that out of every dollar donated to NKF, only a tiny amount reached the actual kidney patients. Huge sums went into buying golden taps, paying $600k/yr to Durai, suing people and other excesses.

More recently, there’s the Ren Ci monk affair. Let’s just say he’s a convicted criminal who cheated Ren Ci’s money. When he was CEO, Goh Kah Heng aka Shi Ming Yi earned $25k/mth. He also had a very interesting private life that’s completely different from his public persona, but I’ll keep my harshest comments to myself.

I believe these 2 cases thoroughly destroyed the faith of many people in charities. Highly paid and crooked CEOs are the common feature of both cases, but again, let’s not sidetrack.

We have no more faith in charities.

It’s little wonder that the just-concluded yet-another-charity We Are One project ended in abject failure. The project initially aimed to raise S$1 million for charity, but came to a close with only S$300k.

Lesson 1: Don’t set targets. πŸ™‚ Or at least, don’t set unrealistic targets.

Lesson 2: Raising money from the public is much harder now. It’s the wrong way to raise money. First, the public is not as rich as before. Second, they have lost faith and aren’t interested anymore, as mentioned above.

So, what are we to do?

We need more creative ways to raise charity dollars.

I suggest we do away with charity shows on TV and selling Lego bricks. These are targeting the wrong crowd.

Instead, our needy charities should organise extravagant gala dinners and invite the richest elites in Singapore to attend – the billionaires, the multi-millionaires, the CEOs of listed and unlisted companies who made millions in bonuses, the top civil servants and our honourable ministers.

At the gala dinners, get the prettiest hosts & hostesses to entice & encourage the rich & famous to part with their money.Β Then publicise widely that so-and-so donated N million dollars. This will spur other rich elites with big egos to want to match the big donations.

If every rich guest just donates a tiny proportion of his wealth, millions of dollars will be raised. No need to sell Lego bricks. No need to get unwilling artistes to perform stunts.

Gala dinners are the right way to raise money. And it seems the Singapore Heart Foundation hasΒ picked up the idea already.


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  1. i totally agree. these days its harder to convince the public to part with their $$ as compared to yesteryears. what’s more with the ever frequent ‘flag day’ every weekend and the incessant cold-calling to residential places for donation. maybe some of us might even have the experience of entertaining ‘volunteers’ at our own doorstep raising fund for charity. it will take time to regain the trust but i guess there will always be a compassion in all of us somehow

  2. When asked why he robbed banks, Sutton simply replied, “Because that’s where the money is.”

    When asked why he want to raise money from the rich, he simple replied “Because that’s where the money is”

  3. My wife laughed at me when that stupid monk was convicted cos I used to tell her…”I like this guy, he goes all out to help the poor”.

    Really, no more money for ‘charitable’ organisations. I think the government now has to pick up the tab. For failing to regulate these organisations. Will never forget the disgraceful statement of ‘Peanuts’ spoken by the wife of one of the best Prime Minister the country has ever had. I think if my wife spoke that way when I am the Prime Minister, I’ll make her apologise to the country in public or receive my divorce papers. Its a terrible shame that some of the powerful and rich have no empathy for the poor.

    Just watch. Next, they have to pick up the tab for the financial sector for failing to regulate the banks and limit the salaries & bonuses of bankers. Especially those with governmental links.

    I guess, its because if the top bankers get lower salaries, then the benchmarks(which they use to reward themselves in the civil service) also becomes lower. πŸ™‚

  4. NKF started the trend for raising funds using mainstream media & performance by artistes. I was not touched by the patients conditions rather by the novelty. Nowadays, I only donate to my own church. I know they are maintain at a very modest budget & not splurging it to build a posh & swanky office or building. So I am willing to donate to them.

  5. to solo: does your church publish its statement of accounts? ie, show where the money go? for those with swanky offices and buildings, we at least know where (a lot of) the money goes to! πŸ™‚

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