Things People Have Asked Us

How do I transfer money overseas for those charities who have only provided bank account information?

  • Most banks have transfer options that allow you to transfer money overseas. The fees can be somewhat prohibitive and to our knowledge, Transferwise offers generally cheaper rates as far as we are aware.
  • You can create a free account online and transfer money almost anywhere. Singaporeans can carry out the transaction via Paynow after creating an account.

Why should I give outside my country at all?

  • Your donation can make a greater impact overseas. The needs of some communities in some parts of the world are clearly more dire. Your dollar doesn’t buy the same amount of rice everywhere. Not every country has a shortage in Personal Protective Equipment. We think that giving to places where the needs are the most severe means saving people from extreme suffering and possibly death.
  • Unless you have specific relevant skills or expertise, donation is one of the few ways you can help those outside your own country-of-residence. Volunteering and other support options are not open to you overseas.

Why should I help people in Southeast Asia?

  • Southeast Asia is a deeply unequal region. This inequality is manifesting in the way COVID-19 is affecting different countries in the region and how it’s affecting people within countries. NGOs, charities and COVID-relief campaigns are stepping in to fill the cracks and supporting people where governments haven’t been able to. By donating to charities working on COVID-relief in the region you help mitigate some of this inequality.
  • The recovery and future post-COVID will be regional. All signs point to an opening up within regions before global travel and connections resume. Supply chains are being reconfigured - the global dropped, the regional picked up - as countries everywhere begin to appreciate their immediate neighborhoods more.
  • We can’t and won’t try to make a case for Southeast Asia vis-a-vis other regions. Our personal impetus for focusing on Southeast Asia is because that’s where we are from and where we think we can make a difference.

How do I donate?

  • Almost all of the donate buttons on our charity listings lead to a fundraiser page where you can select how much you want to donate.
  • Usually donations will be processed through Paypal (not available for Singapore-registered bank accounts) or a Secure Payments platform.
  • For the select few charities with only bank account information listed, you would have to make an international bank transfer either through your bank's online banking services or a platform like Transferwise.
  • For a breakdown of recommended donation methods for each charity please refer to the Annex of this document:

Why doesn’t Regional Relief list charities outside Southeast Asia?

  • We saw that there was little focus on the needs of Southeast Asia as a region and that was the problem we sought to address.
  • Our expertise and knowledge as a team is restricted largely to Southeast Asia.
  • As mentioned earlier, we can’t and won’t try to make a case for Southeast Asia vis-a-vis other regions. Our personal impetus for focusing on Southeast Asia is because that’s where we are from and where we think we can make a difference.

How does Regional Relief pick the charities it lists?

  • We have 3 principles:
  • First, we list only organisations that are working to provide direct relief, by providing either Hygiene and Medicine and/or Food and Supplies.
  • Second, we’ve made sure that these campaigns are legitimate; almost all of them have recent record of using donations effectively. For those where we couldn’t find such records, we either know the people working on these campaigns and find them trustworthy or have found these campaigns endorsed by other reliable organisations.
  • Third, we’ve tried to seek out causes in every single country, to give donors as much of a choice as possible. The majority of the campaigns are on platforms that accept international donations through either PayPal or via Credit/Debit Card. There are some organisations which only accept international bank transfers and for those we recommend donors use Transferwise or similar services.
  • We maintain these principles because we are most sure that contributing to direct COVID-Relief now helps people effectively. Long-term relief efforts are contextual and complex. Where you think donations and efforts should go depends partly on how long you believe the effects of the pandemic will last. Nonetheless, even in the face of such great uncertainty, we think there is a moral imperative to do what you can today.

How do I know the money is being used to help people?

  • For most of our listings, there is evidence of the charities using money they’ve received recently for COVID-Relief. Where possible, we’ve stated just how much money they’ve used to achieve specific objectives.
  • For those that we haven’t been able to obtain direct evidence, we’ve used proxies. We either rely on recommendations by people we know are reliable, endorsements from reliable institutions (media/government) or past reports.
  • For some of our spotlighted charities, we’ve interviewed people working there and have written these interviews up on the Blog.