Despite its surging wealth and economic growth, Asia faces immense developmental challenges due to crippling issues such as natural disasters, poverty, urbanisation and environmental degradation. The non-profit community recognises the importance of building a strong presence in Asia. This helps them understand the complexity of the region’s key problems and effectively serve the causes they champion.
Singapore has increasingly become a platform for non-profit organisations to form strategic partnerships in areas such as corporate sustainability, multi-sector partnerships, social entrepreneurship, impact investing and venture philanthropy. This is possible due to Singapore’s established community of academic, private and public-sector expertise in policy design and social work. Non-profit organisations can also take advantage of Singapore's neutrality, global connectivity, pro-business environment, global talent pool and growing presence in innovative philanthropy. Additionally, Singapore is also home to 150 international non-profit organisations that manage and execute key regional functions and activities, including social conferences and exhibitions.
As a key wealth and financial hub in Asia, Singapore has been establishing itself as a platform for non-profit organisations to further develop its Asian donor base. In Singapore, charitable donations have more than tripled from S$341 million in 2006 to S$1.10 billion in 20121. Regional social finance and impact investing activities are also growing in Singapore, creating opportunities for non-profit organisations looking to tap alternative financing solutions for their work.
A dedicated International Organisations Programme Office (IOPO) was established in 2007 to assist international non-profit organisations in Singapore. To foster a conducive environment for the non-governmental organisations (NGO) community, it engages a range of non-profit organisations, including humanitarian and environmental Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), philanthropic foundations, industry and professional associations as well as inter-governmental organisations.
In order to build an active and collaborative social sector ecosystem in Asia and beyond, many Singapore-based organisations have been convening meetings that connect global thought leaders and practitioners to discuss ways to boost the efficacy of their activities. Examples include the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN) Conference, Impact Forum and Base of Pyramid (BoP) World Convention & Expo. The city is fast becoming one of the key global platforms to exchange ideas and brainstorm on ways to accelerate social impact.