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As the year 2020 draws to a close and the season of giving comes upon us, it is a time to reflect on what we have been blessed to have received over the past year despite the COVID-19 global pandemic. For those of us who are able, we can think about giving back to the community around us.
We can give through monetary donations as well as giving of our talent and time through volunteering with over 580 charities on Giving.sg, your national one-stop giving platform that’s simple, secure and trusted.
We Can Potentially Receive More Than What We Give
The general sentiment about giving that some of us may have is that when we give, we are giving out of the excess that we have – whether it’s time or money – to an entity that needs it more than us. For example, if we donate $1,000 to a charity, we give $1,000 that we can afford to while the charity we give gets $1,000.
Allow us to propose a different viewpoint. Giving is not a zero-sum game. This means that the charities we give to don’t just extract value based on how much we give. In fact, both us (the givers) and the charities (recipients of the gifts) we give to can be both positively impacted through giving.
The Tangible Impact Of Giving
From a practical standpoint, donations are the most straightforward form of giving we can make to charities. We make monetary donations to causes that we support, and the charities ensure the donations will improve the lives of those in need in our community.
However, not as many people realise that as we give, we also receive. This is because cash donations made to an approved Institution of a Public Character (IPC) for causes that benefit the local community are deductible donations, provided you do not receive any material benefits, such as advertising exposure or other gifts in kind. To encourage people in Singapore to give, the government allows donors to claim tax relief of 250% of the amount donated. So, this means that when we give, we can reduce our taxable income as well.
For example, assuming an individual has a chargeable income (the amount they are taxed on after deducting personal reliefs) of $120,000 in YA2020. Based on this, the person will pay a personal income tax of $7,950. However, if they were to donate $5,000 to an approved IPC during the year, their personal income tax will be reduced to $6,512, which means they save $1,438 in income tax.
If the individual has a higher chargeable income of $240,000, the person will pay $28,750 in income tax. If the individual donates $5,000 to an approved IPC, their income tax will be reduced to $26,375, a reduction of $2,375. Naturally, the higher our income and thus tax bracket is, the higher the personal income tax reduction when we donate.
To be clear, the savings we get in income tax will not exceed the amount we give. However, from the illustrations above, we can see it’s not a zero-sum game. The charities we give to can gain more from our monetary donations than what it costs us.
In addition, as part of The Bicentennial Community Fund, your donations to approved charities are matched dollar-for-dollar till 31 December 2020. Thus, the impact of our donations is multiplied. This means if we give $5,000, the selected charity we give to will receive $10,000. Furthermore, Giving.sg has waived off transaction fees till 31 March 2021, hence 100% of your donations go to charities.
We Become Better When We Give
On top of donations, we can also give in the form of our time and talent through volunteering. On one hand, we are giving to the community by contributing our efforts and talents through volunteering. On the other hand, volunteering can potentially allow us opportunities to improve ourselves by sharpening our skills or even uncovering our hidden talents.
For example, we may discover our knack for event coordination or budgeting when working on fundraising projects for the charities we are supporting. Or we may realise that we have an eye for graphic design when helping out with publicity materials. These are all useful skills not just for the charities we volunteer with, but also for the companies we work with. Volunteering with a charity allows us to develop these work-related skills that can be useful in our careers.
By volunteering with charities, we can also expand both our personal and professional network as we interact with other like-minded volunteers. It is much easier to establish a personal connection over a shared love for animals or to bond over the challenges of mentoring disadvantaged children. As such relationships are forged over common ground, they also tend to be more memorable than meeting someone at a networking event.
We Feel Better When We Give
Giving also has positive psychological effects. According to research conducted by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) in 2018, people feel better about themselves when contributing to charities. They also report feeling an increased sense of accomplishment, looking forward to each new day and an increase in the amount of pleasure they gain from daily activities.
When we give, we tacitly acknowledge to ourselves that we have more to contribute to society, whether it is financially or in terms of talent and/or time. This contributes to the feeling of gratitude which positively impacts our psychological well-being.
We Gain Purpose When We Give
According to the same NVPC research, we also feel a greater sense of self-worth and purpose in life when we give. As we donate and/or volunteer, we not only learn more about important social causes and the beneficiaries of the various charities, but we also undergo a journey of self-discovery. By researching and contributing to social causes, we actually learn more about life, ourselves and what we value.
For those with children, giving is also an opportunity to teach our children the value and importance of helping others. Donating and volunteering give us the chance to put our money where our mouth is, and in doing so, we affirm our values and purpose.
Start Giving Today With Giving.sg
While some of us may already be keen to give and convinced of the tangible and intangible positive impacts that we can create (and receive) from giving, we could find ourselves overwhelmed with the number of social causes and charities seeking contribution and support. To help us with this, we can go to Giving.sg, a national charity giving platform, to search out registered charities under the Commissioner of Charities in Singapore that we can give to.
By aggregating over 580 registered charities and non-profits in Singapore in a single platform, Giving.sg makes it simple and easy for anyone to give to their desired social cause. Besides donating to charities, we can also search out volunteering opportunities via the Giving.sg platform or fundraise for the charity of our choice.
The charities listed on Giving.sg are all registered and their IPC status (if available) are clearly indicated. We can also easily see whether our donations are tax-deductible by checking if a tax deduction receipt (TDR) will be issued for the donation.
Giving.sg is hosted and driven by NVPC, with support from the Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth.
Editor’s Note: To support giving in Singapore, DollarsAndSense will be donating the full amount we are getting from this project with Giving.sg to charities on its portal.