Commentary: In hard times, everyone in Singapore still has something to give

Recurring donations of fixed amounts will also decline in purchasing power over time. We forget that S$1 today is less than S$1 tomorrow; donations tend not to increase with inflation.


With overall inflation anticipated to come in at 5 per cent to 6 per cent for this year, NPOs are experiencing rising operating costs. Unlike the private sector, many NPOs deliver their services for free and are unable to pass on rising costs to their “consumers” or beneficiaries.

Any increases in cost, including wages, rent, and operating expenses all eat into the bottom line.

Mr Abhimanyau Pal, CEO of SPD, a charity serving people with disabilities, said: “We have seen our electricity bills increase more than two-fold in the first half of this year compared to 2021. This, coupled with overall inflation, increasing cost of manpower, utilities and goods and services add to operating expenditure. 

“SPD’s operating cost has risen more than 10 per cent from 2019. Yet charities are hard-pressed to keep programmes and services affordable while maintaining service quality.”

NPOs have also always found it challenging to attract and retain talent. NPOs often cannot raise wages for their employees the same way businesses do, even without the tight job market right now.

Those who choose to devote their lives to the service of others are admirable. But relying on the call of the common good is not always enough when employees also have their own personal financial needs.

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