Syndrome of Donation Phobia
Syndrome of Donation Phobia
  • Reporter Lee Mi-yeon
  • 승인 2017.12.06 00:12
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   ▲ 'Molar father' incident has evoked syndrome of donation phobia

There is a growing negative perception of charitable donations as the virtuous mind that aid those in need will lead to misuse of the needy. Due to ‘molar father’ and ‘new hope seeds’, people distrust donations itself which may lead to ‘donation phobia’.
Last August, a fraud case involving the new hope seeds became public. The chairman of this corporation and the CEO embezzled donations of about 128 billion KRW which was donated for underprivileged children and children from broken homes. The Chairman and CEO live in luxury with this money. They solicited people to subscribe to this supporter’s organization in the name of one to one matching with local children, and asked them to deposit 5,000 to 16 million KRW. 49,000 citizens were damaged by this scandal.
Lee Yeong-hak who is known as ‘molar father’ raised money for his daughter who has a rare disease. She suffers from gigantiform cementoma, a rare, autosomal dental tumor. The title was given because they had scraped off all the gums and left only molars. Through appearing on a TV program, a book publication, and a social networking network like Twitter, he received donations for help, saying, “I do not have money for my daughter’s surgery.” People were generous in providing help from his story. However, he was found to have lived a life of luxury through the contributions and has faced criminal charges, including sex trafficking.
Due to these two incidents, donators and sponsors are in shock. Experts warn that it could cause distrust towards charitable donations and lead to denial.
The problems that are pointed out are as follows. One structural problem is that there are no institutions that oversee charitable donations, thus preventing embezzlement and tax evasion is impossible. Besides, communication does not occur in situations where there person in charge. In terms of organization, there is a governance problem; there is no verification process and the organization is not transparent. Also there are procedural problems- a lack of guidance for donors that provides information about the organization and the transparent disclosure of the use of funds.
In the case of Australia, the United Kingdom, and Singapore, fund-raising broadcasts and promotional materials must be authorized by the government and have a posted verification code. There is a need for an interagency to monitor contributions and verification of personal reliability and use of donations. In addition to these alternations, a thorough survey of donors is required. Donors should be able to choose the charity which discloses information transparently, and has a high financial efficiency, visit the office, and make inquiries by telephone. The process of confirming how donations are used should be part of the process of developing a successful donation culture. Donors should know that they have responsibility as well as rights.
Bekay Ahn, the international council for nonprofit management (ICNPM) chief said the importance of the nation’s donation culture is undervalued. In order to solve the problem, creating a situation where the government, media, organization, donors are gathered is needed. As charitable donations is a culture for the future, donations need constant attention and rounded partnership with other organizations.