LOCAL welfare agencies having to compete head-to-head with overseas charities in Hong Kong are losing out in the battle for donations. They say small and newer local organisations usually lose out in the competition to foreign charities because they have more experience in fund-raising. More than $124 million was raised from 48 flag days and 232 street collections approved by the Social Welfare Department during the 1994-95 financial year, although how much of this went to overseas charities was not known. Kay Ku Yin-kay, assistant director (development) of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, said yesterday donation tax exemptions had attracted many well-known international fund-raising agencies, such as Oxfam and World Vision, to set up offices here. 'And this means local fund-raising agencies have to face greater competition,' she said. Ms Ku refused to estimate how many foreign charities were already in the territory but she believed the number was increasing. Philip Wong Kwok-fai, administration manager of Haven of Hope Christian Service, said his organisation found it more difficult to raise money. He said this was because many people liked to support overseas charities. 'The pool of donors is limited. 'More overseas agencies setting up offices here means that more people have to share the pool.' Chong Chan-yau, a director of Oxfam Hong Kong, denied there was competition between the overseas and local charities. He said agencies provided different services and had different fund-raising targets and it was up to the public to choose what they wanted to support. 'I think the problem for the small agencies is that they don't have manpower to specialise in raising funds. They should ask for more funding from government,' he said. Methods of efficient and effective fund-raising were shared yesterday by 92 local and 78 overseas delegates from 16 countries in the first East-Asian Fund-raising Workshop. It was organised by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service and the International Fund-raising Group. Ian Strachan, Director of Social Welfare, said the Government was considering expanding the current permit system to better control fund-raising activities. He said the permit would require fund-raisers to keep and publish audited accounts and to ensure funds were used for specified charitable purposes. Mr Strachan revealed the Government would soon purchase three premises to set up elderly day-care and home-help centres. He said it was negotiating with developers for premises on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon.