[Source: Social Entrepreneurs Magazine www.npi.org.cn May 20, 2012 No.49]
View original article in Chinese PDF.
What do grassroot NGOs under financial difficulty say?
Facing financial and resource hardships, grassroot NGOs come to reveal the truth about NGO funding--
“Today, Chinese nonprofit foundations are not even as generous as some corporations. The foundations raise a lot of money, but do not support grassroot NGOs, making it a mere formality.”
“It is very interesting how we are evaluating foundations. This shows that in the foundation-NGO relationship, NGOs, too, have a voice and are not always on the receiving end.”
“Only looking at resources and the providers of resources is a pragmatically shortsighted. ‘Support’ is mutual. Accepting ‘support’ means wearing ‘super-short skirts’ to give your ‘adoptive father’ a visually appealing picture. This twisted system has a long history and has already been taken for granted.”
“Supporting grassroot NGOs is a rare objective. The foundation that first changes its mentality and supports grassroot NGOs will win with their explosive morals! Grassroot organizations offer a market for foundations. If foundations continue to ‘pretend to be cool,’ and strive only to entertain themselves, they will gradually depart from societal demands and lose popular support!”
“Hopefully the government will pay more attention to grassroot NGOs and do their research carefully by going into grassroot organizations, so the government can really support some great grassroot nonprofits to construct a peaceful society.”
“If the registration system continues to be faulty, grassroot NGOs cannot develop smoothly.”
“We need to host more resource division conferences with both the funding side and the demanding side, so we can connect the resources in the East to poor areas in the West.”
“Cooperation will lead to mutual benefits.”
“Standardized management, transparent finances, and independent supervision and evaluation by a third party are very important.”
“We need to publicize with as much honesty as possible all the difficulties that grassroot NGOs face so the public will understand and support these nonprofits.”
“We should have good financial accounts and hire trustworthy employees.”
“Grassroots lack in funding and experience, but they have great enthusiasm. They want to actually accomplish something, which will be very difficult. Unfortunately, the qualifications, professional project reports, and previous project experience required by most foundations certainly pose a huge challenge to grassroot organizations. We need to think about how to solve these problems, so that the NGOs that actually want to do something can receive some support! Some NGOs have too much money to spend, but what about grassroot nonprofits? This is worth thinking.”
“About the topic ‘resolving the grassroot resource problem,’ I want to say something regarding project funding: although project founding is important, the ability to execute the project is even more crucial. Do not be afraid of not having enough funding, but be afraid of not being able to do the project well.”
“Government policies are imperfect, making it impossible to provide receipts for the individuals or organizations (including foundations) that one would like to support.”
“The application process and evaluation requirements need to be more efficient!”
“Public recognition and less restricted government policies are especially important. Foundations and companies can not only provide funding for projects, but also promote the development of NGO organizations themselves.”
“Resolving the grassroot resource problem is no doubt difficult and needs continuous effort from many different aspects, such as: striving for getting support through national policies, strengthening grassroot organizations’ transparency and professionalism, getting support from relatively larger foundations or corporations, making the public value the survival of grassroot organizations through media coverage, and being more understanding about the extraction of management fees.”
“I feel like seeking out venture capital is also a trend.”
“Foundations are very far away from actual grassroot nonprofits. Because they have no way of connecting to the lower levels, they naturally do not have successful projects, and grassroot NGOs do not have a good environment for growth.”
“To grassroot NGOs, their foremost problems is finding a source for funds, and building an efficient, reasonable, and transparent system, and having a great project is what attracts funding the most.”
Who is the most welcomed source of funding?
Grassroot NGOs say--
China Children Charity Relief Fund offers great support to grassroot NGOs and have efficient application processes.
Ford Foundation is the earliest organization in China to fund and help grassroot organizations to be self-reliant.
Narada Foundation, Yau Shing Foundation, and Red Cross Foundation all greatly support grassroot NGOs.
My favorite is Narada Foundation because they support a broad number of nonprofits.
Ford Foundation and Kang Shifu offer a lot of support and have efficient application processes.
China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation has an efficient application process.
EDP Entrepreneurs Association of Nanjing University offers a lot of support to NGOs and makes the development of NGOs closely linked to the charitable mission of our organization.
Narada Foundation recently initiated a line of charitable brand names to support the growth of grassroot NGOs. Narada Foundation not only gives a lot of support to grassroot nonprofits, but also helps a lot with making Chinese charities more professional.
SEE Foundation always pays a lot attention to the growth of grassroot organizations concerned with environmental protection.
China Women’s Development Foundation offers great advice and academic support to NGOs.
Narada Foundation and Lenovo because I feel like they understand NGOs, even though I have never worked with them.
Companies that deserve recognition include Bayer, Dell, and Lafarge
America’s Ford Foundation greatly helps the growth of Chinese people who are interested in charity, and thus offers a great contribution to promoting citizenship of Chinese society.
Oxfam Hong Kong, as an NGO specializing in funding, has contributed greatly to promoting participation-type development and NGO capacity building. Their funding strategy clearly favors grassroot nonprofits and builds an accompanying relationship with their partner in cooperation.
World Bank’s “China Market Development Project” exercised the NGOs’ ability to execute projects and developed a path to support the survival and growth of NGOs.
World Vision initiated poverty relief efforts in poor areas and contributed greatly to China’s poverty relief efforts.
From personal experience, Shinpei Community Foundation is the most friendly towards grassroot nonprofits.
“Transparent Fish Fund,” a foundation I recently became in touch with, supports grassroot organizations fairly well. Ping and Chao Family Foundation and Social Development and Public Policy Institute of Beijing Normal University started the Transparent Fish Philanthropy Lab, which supports administrative costs of charity organizations, an act rarely done by Chinese foundations.
Global Green Foundation (GGF) replies very rapidly to application letters, so we can know very quickly whether or not we will receive support. Of course, this is also because the amount of funding is low, and therefore there is a low risk as well. This, however, is very suitable for grassroot nonprofits and is liked by many environmental protection organizations.
Director, Zhongda Gongmin Societal Center Zhu Jiangang
Director, Shaanxi Women’s Yuanhui Gender Development and Training Center Gao Xiaoxian
Manager, Sichuan Provincial Academy of Social Sciences Institute of Sociology Guo Hong
Secretary-General, China Association for NGO Cooperation Huang Haoming
Professor, Renmin University of China School of Public Adminstration Kang Xiaoguang
Director, Tsinghua Innovation and Social Responsibility Research Center Deng Guosheng
Chairman, Horizon Research Consultancy Group Yuan Yue
Director, Public Environmental Research Center Ma Jun
Founder, Beagle Club Feng Yongfeng
Welfare Minister, Nanjing University EDP Entrepreneurs Association Bian Kaiqin
Global Green Fund Wen Bo
(Not in any specific order)
English Translation by Transparent Fish Fund Intern, Allison Zhang, edited by Yanyan Zhang
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