How To Check That Your Money Is Going To A Charity (And Not A Scam)

How To Check That Your Money Is Going To A Charity (And Not A Scam)

Last month, Malaysians were rocked by the news of a raid conducted by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) on a non-governmental organisation (NGO) called Aman Palestin, which is well-known for their public donations drives and efforts to help the lives of Palestinians living in the war-torn region.

This caused many Malaysians to pause and contemplate, just how do I know if the money that I’m donating is going to the right place? What if the charity or the organisation that I have been donating to all this time turns out to be nothing but a scam?

Which is why in this article, we’re hoping to help clear the air a little by providing you with some steps you can take to ensure that the charity you’re donating to is a legitimate charity, and not a scam.

How to check the legitimacy of a charity organisation

1) Cross check with a regulatory body

The first step you can take is to cross check the organisation with a regulatory body.

In Malaysia, there are two regulatory bodies you can reference to check the validity of a NGO body or a charity;

Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM)
Malaysian Registrar of Societies (ROS)

One piece of important information that you should know is that it is compulsory for any NGO body to be registered with the ROS. So if you can’t find any specific NGO that you’re looking to donate to in the ROS, then maybe it’d be prudent for you to hold off on the donation first.

2) Ask for a valid licence

If you ever come across a charity collection agent face to face, the first thing you need to remember is that they need to produce a valid collection licence.

If they fail to show you a valid collection licence, then chances are that they are not a legitimate charity body, or an NGO.

3) Using child beggars are considered a crime

It might be distasteful, but one of the tactics used by scam charity organisations is to use children as charity collection agents.

But did you know that in Malaysia, using children to solicit donations is a crime? Even actual charities will need a permit from PDRM to ask for donations on the streets or public grounds. This is regulated under the House to House and Street Collections Act 1947.

So if you find yourself in a situation involving a child beggar, resist the urge to give them your spare change.  Besides not giving them money, you can go the extra mile and report it. The public can report such incidents to the Women, Family and Community Develop­ment Ministry’s 24-hour Talian Kasih hotline at 15999.

4) Ask questions regarding the NGO/charity and always take receipts

If you do plan on donating, always remember to first ask questions regarding the NGO/charity that they are representing.

If they are representing a legitimate charity/NGO, most of the time they will have no qualms answering any of your questions, and they will also carry some official documentation about the organisation they’re representing.

Always remember to take a receipt as well, so that you can cross check the receipt with the organisation later.

5) Check out the organisation’s website

If you’re planning on donating to any specific organisation, you should always try browsing through the organisation’s website.

There, you will find plenty of useful information about the organisation, such as where your money will be spent, and what the organisation aims to achieve, their goals, and everything else.

A website will also provide legitimacy towards the organisation.

It’s good to be charitable, but do your research first

In the end, it’s always nice to feel like you’re helping effect a positive change to the world, and one of the best ways to do that is by donating to charities that champion a cause you care about.

But, always remember to do your research first, to ensure that the money you’re donating is going to the right place.

You should ensure your donation goes to an actual registered charity so that you can include it in your income tax deduction.

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