I was reading news about how people in the States use twitter to broadcast the SMS number to donate money to Haiti when I came across this article. Apparently, all four major telcos in US are waiving the charges for those who HAITI to 90999 to donate $10. (Don’t try in Singapore hor, only works in America)
I think that is good for these telco to waive the charges. After all, the money is going to charity. Why should you be making money out of Charity. Besides, the infrastructure is already there. It doesn’t take much operating cost to help collect donations from SMS. Telcos take it as a form of corporate social responsibility.
Which makes me wonder, should the local telco waive charges for the Charity Show 1900 hotline? We know that Ren Ci Hospital just had a Charity show recently on Channel U. I can’t help but notice that the Singtel is charging $0.20 admin fee for every 1900 call you make. $0.20 is a small amount. But think about it. Ren Ci raised $4.2m from public donation during the charity show. Assuming everyone use the $15 hotline, that would be 280000 calls or $56000 worth of admin charges collected.
$56000 can do a lot for the patients at Ren Ci.
Maybe it is too late for me to raise this topic. But I really hope that the local Telco will take a leaf from US telco’s book and waive the charges for charity hotlines in the future. I know Singtel has this Touching Lives Fund every year where they raise funds for local charity. Perhaps they could do a little more outside the Touching Lives Fund period. Charity organization can thank the Telco for waiving the admin charges during the charity show. Win win for everyone.
Speaking of extra charges on charity hotline. I notice that there is a GST component too. Why is there GST for Charity hotline too? According to IRAS website:
Charity TV show with donations made by telephone or SMS message to the donation helpline
If the charity TV show does not give away prizes or rewards to donors, GST is not payable on the public donations received. GST is payable on the public donations only when the charity TV show has lucky draws, giving the donors a chance to win prizes and rewards. Accounting of GST is based on 7/107 on the gross donations received less cash payouts to the winners.
For each call or SMS message to a specific hotline to make donations, the service provider (separate from the charity) may impose an administrative charge for the service rendered. If the service provider is a GST-registered person, the administrative charge is subject to GST, similar to other local telephone call charges.
The Ren Ci Charity show doesn’t have luckily draw. So why is there GST? Or is the GST just for the $0.20 admin fee? Anyone got any idea?