Materia Medica Malaysiana

April 15, 2007

Worrying trend as charity turns big business

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:15 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: Fund-raising for charity has turned into a booming business, with huge chunks of public donations ending up in the pockets of people who least need help.
These days, professional fund-raisers team up with charitable bodies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) – all in the name of charity – and split the collections.
There are private firms offering management or marketing services to raise funds on behalf of NGOs who only seem all too happy to “pass the buck” to these “professionals.”
For example, if a particular charity home needed RM10,000 a month to sustain itself, then the order to the firm would be for it to raise at least RM20,000.
This was the deal involving one home for children with special needs and a professional fund-raiser, which had been handed a six-month collection “contract”.
What makes it more lucrative is that, apart from certain guidelines, there seems to be no written laws governing the way funds can be raised.
It could be through the sale of greeting cards, car stickers, badges or cookies, or even via organising huge fund-raising events.
Many of these charitable bodies raise funds in the name of the terminally-ill, those afflicted with chronic diseases and the handicapped.
But such collaborations are bad practices as far as Health Ministry parliamentary secretary Datuk Lee Kah Choon is concerned.
Urging the people to donate wisely, he said private firms which raised charity for a profit should be exposed.
He had also turned down people who approached him for such collaborations.
Women, Family and Community Development Ministry parliamentary secretary Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said she was aware that several NGOs registered under her ministry had engaged professional fund-raisers.
She affirmed that there were no laws to regulate such fund-raising but said the NGOs registered under the ministry which wanted to raise funds for charity could seek a letter of verification.
“However, such letters will not be issued to professional fund-raisers,” she added.
Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Fu Ah Kiow said those soliciting donations from door to door needed a police permit to do so.
“However, to me, getting a cut from charity does not make sense, besides short-changing the donors.”
Deputy Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Wong Kam Hoong summed it up this way: “Charity is no longer a culture of sharing and caring for the needy, once the cause is commercialised.”
Calling for laws to check fund-raising, Wong, an accountant by training, said it should be made mandatory for NGOs and fund-raisers to reveal the breakdown of monies collected.

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