The big read: As the pandemic continues, community volunteers grapple with fatigue, burnout and declining donations

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DROP IN DONATIONS

Financially, many Singaporeans have cut back on their donations to charities at a time when organizations are most in need of funds – due to the coronavirus-induced economic downturn that has left many former donors strapped for cash. .

This led to many charities going out of business last year.

While contributions from institutional donors have generally held up, the majority of volunteers surveyed said they had seen a significant reduction, especially in public donations, since the start of the year, especially when fundraising events did not. could not take place.

Mr Koh of RSVP Singapore said he has seen donations from the public drop by around 30%, while Lions Befrienders has seen a drop of 35%, Mr Tay said.

“People are more aware of their spending, and donors, especially businesses and foundations, are tightening their budgets,” said Tay.

“Given the current economic outlook and the recent increase in cases from the protracted COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have been hit hard and are in need of funds for their operations. This has resulted in a conservative stance on donations, ”he added.

However, TMT’s Tan said the organization has not seen a noticeable drop in donations from its sources, including businesses, family offices and philanthropists.

In fact, the charities it partners with have raised concerns that these donors tend to address COVID-19-related needs, instead of other ongoing services and programs that continue to require resources. and support.

Due to the drop in donations, some grassroots initiatives are struggling to meet the needs of their beneficiaries.

Mr. Khoo of the Saturday Movement, for example, which pays around S $ 15,000 to S $ 20,000 of his own money each month to fund social enterprise, said he has been feeling the effects since his restaurant collapsed. .

To cut costs, he had to cut seafood service to the community kitchen.

“We used to cook shrimp and squid once a week for meals, but now we can’t do it every week. We also need to control our costs. This month alone, utilities have doubled in price, ”he said.


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