Applying for an OSC Grant

Operation Santa Claus (OSC) supports charitable projects that effect positive change (e.g. physically, socially, or environmentally) to the lives of disadvantaged people in Hong Kong and mainland China. OSC provides up to a HK$1 million grant for programmes and initiatives.
OSC aims to connect local communities to charities by leveraging the voice of two of the city’s most respected media organisations, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) and Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK). It has raised HK$275 million over the past 30 years and has benefited 264 NGO initiatives.
Recruitment period
Application for OSC Grant 2018 commences on June 1, 2018 and ends on June 29, 2018.
Applicants must be non-profit charitable organisations registered in Hong Kong and exempt from tax under section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance.
Collection of Project Proposals
In June each year, OSC invites charities to apply for funding from the funds raised from the Christmas campaign later that year. Advertisements are run in the SCMP and information is posted on RTHK’s website. Applications must specify the project content, the rationale, the number of beneficiaries and the amount required.
Selection of Beneficiaries
In choosing beneficiaries, the Selection Committee considers criteria such as, but not limited to, the following aspects:
Project themes
  • Programme objectives
  • Projects that directly serve or impact needy people in Hong Kong or China, particularly in the area of children and youth, community, elderly, physical and mental disability, medical, and environmental issues.
Project sustainability
  • Sustainable impact beyond the funding period
Economic feasibility
  • Cost effectiveness of programme
Programme impact
  • Potential impact on the community including social and/or environmental aspects
  • Programme reach, duration and intensity
  • Programme evaluation methods
Programme creativity
  • Demonstrates an innovative approach to tackle community issues
Organisation’s capability
  • Incorporates measures to ensure accountability and transparency
  • Demonstrates commitment and capability in carrying out the projects
OSC generally favours smaller charities operating without help from the government or other large patrons.
In general, the following would not be eligible to obtain a grant from OSC:

Project proposals should be written in English only.
The Selection Committee comprises members including representatives from the SCMP, RTHK, major donors and WiseGiving of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service. The Committee will meet in August-September to decide the OSC beneficiaries for that year.
OSC's Independent Charity Advisor, WiseGiving of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, helps conduct due diligence of the short-listed candidates. Selected beneficiaries are required to join WiseGiving to enhance transparency and accountability.
Important Dates
Announcement of Result
Selection results will be announced in September 2018. Applicants will be notified individually.
The following is a tentative schedule: Please check our website regularly for updates.
Jun 2018 OSC 2018 application period
Jul - Sept 2018 Processing of application
Sept 2018 Notifying all applicants of selection result
Mid-Nov 2018 OSC 2018 – Launch
Mid- to- late Nov 2018 Featuring OSC funding projects in SCMP
Nov – Dec 2018 OSC fundraising
Mid- Jan 2019 OSC 2018 – Closing Ceremony
Mar 2019 Disbursement of funds
Project Timeline
The funded project must be completed within three years of the receipt of the grant and must be commenced no later than 30 September 2019. Your work plan and budget plan should reflect this time period.
Project Monitoring
All OSC beneficiaries must submit both a mid-term and a final report for their funded projects. Each beneficiary organisation will also be asked to make a presentation outlining the project achievements they have made to OSC’s Steering Committee in September 2019. Following the commencement of individual projects, OSC staff will visit each beneficiary periodically to request information and arrange meetings to monitor the progress of their projects.
Project Governance
When applying for OSC funding, potential beneficiaries must outline their organisation’s background and core objectives, they must also provide details of their patrons and management structure. In addition to their number of staff and committee members, each potential beneficiary must also provide a list of present and possible future donors. Other mandatory documentary submissions include:

(a) The organisation’s Certificate of Incorporation;
(b) Proof of charitable status in Hong Kong;
(c) Organisation’s most recent audited financial statement

Each time a beneficiary is selected, WiseGiving of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS) will carry out a thorough due diligence on OSC’s behalf. During this process, HKCSS will ask individual beneficiaries about their organisation, board structure, financial accountability and transparency to the public. Potential beneficiaries must also outline what steps they are taking to minimise the likelihood of possible conflicts of interest.

Donors often ask OSC why governance matters so much. We have to be completely confident that every dollar donated will be well spent, and to make sure afterwards that it has been used as promised. SCMP and RTHK remain very aware that all projects involving the raising of either awareness or funds must not only be – but also be seen to be – 100% honest and above board. The reputations of OSC and all its beneficiaries as well as the SCMP and RTHK are at stake.