I refer to the article “Charity tries its hand at ‘innovative way’ to raise funds” (Channel NewsAsia, Jan 2).

Charity TV Show cost $1m

It states that “The charity’s chairman, Lee Kim Siang, said that given the uncertain economic outlook, voluntary welfare organisations (VWO) need to find “innovative ways” to raise funds. “If we do a TV show, it’s going to cost quite a hefty sum. The going rate was a million dollars,” said Mr Lee.”

No mention of the $1m cost to run a Charity TV Show?

In a much longer article on the same news in the Straits Times the next day (“Claw machines showcase fresh way to nab donations” (Straits Times, Jan 3) – there is no mention that doing a charity TV show cost a million dollars.

NKF Charity Show cost $2.5m?

In this connection, after the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) scandal broke in July 2005 – it was disclosed in media reports in November 2005, that NKF paid $ 2.5 million to produce the NKF Cancer Show.

How much costs paid for Charity Shows?

In this regard, I wrote a letter published in the Business Times on 22 November, 2005, asking how much was paid in total for the approximately 10 charity shows in a year? To the best of my knowledge, I don’t think there was any reply to my question.

Cost of President’s Star Charity?

What was the cost of the last President’s Star Charity TV Show?

Media ever report?

Has the media ever reported on the cost of each of the charity shows over the years?

President’s Star Charity in 2007 – where’s the missing $840,000?

In this connection, I wrote an article “President Star Charity – where’s the missing $840,000?” (theonlinecitizen, Oct 8, 2007) – “According to the Straits Times’ report on Oct 1, 2007:

“This year’s musical extravaganza raised a record $5.46 million for 32 charities, out of which viewers donated $567,700 by calling hotlines. The rest of the money came from corporate donors.”

TODAY newspaper, Oct 2, reported that:

“The biggest individual donor was Lippo Group president Stephen Riady — who gave $1 million — while the largest corporate donor was the Lee Foundation with its pledge of $1.5 million. Six other organisations — Singapore Totalisator Board, Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, Continental Steel, Singapore Pools, Singapore Sports Council and The Jewish Community of Singapore — contributed a total of $3.25 million.” (link)

The total donated by corporate donors was $5.75 million (Lee Foundation $1.5 million, Lippo Group $1 million, and 6 other organisations $3.25 million).

Adding the above $5.75 million to the public donations of $567,700, gives a total of $6.3 million. So, why is the total donated amount only $5.46 million, which is $840,000 short?

Where has the $840,000 gone to? Shouldn’t there be some disclosure on this?

To my living memory, I believe $567,700 may be the lowest amount ever for donations from the public, excluding corporate donors.

Why is this so?

Since the NKF saga, I understand that practically every television charity show was touted as raising new record amounts. However, I notice that the amount of donations from the public appears to have been declining.

Can the relevant authority please confirm whether this has been the trend?

In the first President’ Star Charity show following the NKF saga, for the first time in the history of Singapore, donation calls were toll-free.

I wrote to the newspaper forum applauding this change, and suggested that it be continued. However, subsequent donation calls have started to charge 21 cents per call again”.

Still charging 21 cents per Charity Donation Call?

I just went (3 January 2016) to the Community Chest’s web site and it says:

“Donations via Telephone

We have launched a 24-hour hotline 1900-112-2910, which enables you to make a direct donation of $10 per call. It is a straightforward one-step donation process – sparing you the hassle of filling in credit card numbers and donation forms. The donation amount will be charged directly to your phone bill*.

* Each call is subject to $0.21 administration fee and local call charges”

How much has telcos collected?

I wonder how much the telcos have collected from these $0.21 charges, over the years?

I also wrote an article “Calls are a-ringing?” (theonlinecitizen on October 27, 2008)

“Charity calls ringing?

I refer to the President’s Star Charity Show on 12 October.

When the show was nearing its end, just minutes before 10 p.m., the amount of donations from calls from the public shown on the screen was about $ 478,000.

After adding a few large corporate donations, the total amount donated announced at the end of the show was $ 5,041.833.

This means that the few corporate donations was about $ 4.6 million, or about 90 per cent of the total.

This year’s public calls donations were also less than last year’s.

I understand that for last year’s show the difference between the amount collected and donated was about $ 850,000. Was this amount paid to the television station for staging the show ? How much, if any, will the television station be paid for this year’s show ?

As I believe that the few corporate donors may have donated regardless of whether there was a television show, perhaps we could re-consider the need for all the effort and paying a few hundred thousand dollars more to run the show, than the amount donated by the public”.

Leong Sze Hian

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