Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Cancellation of Lucky Draw for Mercedes - full refund

Dear Friends,

By now, it is likely that you have read at least one unflattering news article about us. For reasons we can only speculate on, the mainstream media have tried to make us sound like cowboys who are in trouble with the authorities.

The reality, however, is quite different.

We started The GIVEN Company to make charitable giving a win-win for everyone: for our partner charities, for socially responsible corporates, and for you, the generous, kind-hearted members of public. Our goal is not to ‘bait’ or ‘bribe’ people into giving to charity, as some of our critics have suggested, but rather to provide a nudge for those who currently don’t give and positive reinforcement for those who already do.

By utilising the existing lucky draw / donation draw framework and combining it with the technological advantages of an online platform, our goal is simply to provide the most effective, efficient and sustainable fundraising platform available to all charities, large and small.


We consulted with over 30 registered charities, as well as relevant government agencies, before our official launch to ensure our compliance with legislation and discuss our plans.

Obviously, we didn’t expect any of these organisations to officially endorse a potentially disruptive startup trying something new, any more than we would expect the Land Transport Authority to endorse Grab or Uber.

And while many whom we met were understandably cautious, almost everyone we spoke to agreed that our platform would help solve a pressing need for the charity sector and believed in its potential for good. All we had to do was prove it. That is why we decided to fund this project ourselves and take the entrepreneurial plunge.


While we expected and were prepared for detractors, having to address their concerns undoubtedly diverted our resources, delayed our marketing efforts and impacted overall sales. Therefore, having consulted with all our stakeholders, we believe that it would be in the best interests of our partner charities to reschedule the draw for sometime next year, but as it will take time for us to sort out the details (and with less than a month to go before our original draw date), we should first cancel this inaugural draw.

We are reaching out to everyone who has supported our initiative and will fully refund your purchases automatically via credit card (think of it as every ticket winning $20 each!), and you will also get to keep your T-shirts for free. Furthermore, in the spirit of encouraging philanthropy and volunteerism, we will also personally honour your charitable intentions by donating over $13,000 to our partner charities from our own pockets. This reflects all the money that has been raised so far, and it will be split based on which charities each of you voted for.

We apologise for not being able to give away the Mercedes-Benz as planned and any disappointment this may cause. As a fundraising platform, we strive to always put the interests of the charities and their beneficiaries first, ahead of ourselves.


Thank you once more for supporting our budding social enterprise. I would like to reiterate that this is by no means the end of The GIVEN Company; we will work to bring our first draw back online as quickly as possible, and have already been approached by a number of other charities to explore new and innovative ways of fundraising using our alternative, technology-led framework. Watch this space.

On behalf of the team,

Charles Tan
The GIVEN Company

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This was the modus operandi of even govt-linked charities in the past like the president's star charity & the NKF show. Back then cars & even condominiums were offered as prizes. However there was opacity in terms of the % of collected money utilisation --- how much used to buy the prizes, how much used for "allowances" and salaries of staff & celebrities involved, how much used for misc, advert, marketing and admin costs, how much actually went to final beneficiaries? After the NKF TT Durai & Ren Ci monk Mingyi fiascos, this modus operandi went out of favour with the whole Singapore up in arms over lack of transparency & revelation that actually large % of collected money being used for other expenses instead of going to final needy beneficiaries. If you can show proper audited proof that at least 80%-90% of money collected goes to final beneficiaries, people will be OK with it.

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