Grounded on core values of respect, love, and service to the elderly, the Xin Yue Senior Citizen Service Center of Chongqing, China, promotes social work services for senior citizens and builds harmonious living environment for them.
We have been a part of Transparent Fish Fund’s Nonprofit Platform for nearly two years. If not for TFish Lab’s invitation to this blogging event, we would not have had time to review our growing experience these past two years. Today, with this rare opportunity, we would like to share the lessons we learned with everyone here.
The center was founded in early 2012, and, just like a newborn, there was a lot we needed to learn. Because we lacked experience, the center mainly offered day-to-day services for the elderly and also received some meager donations and volunteer services. The volunteers and donors, however, would come once to the center, donate or volunteer, and leave after taking some photographs. Without a good volunteer organization system and a working financial system, these donations and volunteer services could not help us better accomplish our tasks, and sometimes even hindered our progress. Facing this difficult situation, the center planned a mini-project aimed to help volunteers grow and learn. Late 2012, the center contacted and got to know Transparent Fish Fund. After initial inspection, the center luckily became associate member with TFish. Later, “Little Bee Growth Project” received TFish’s funding. Although we had believed in insisting the idea of “Transparent Philanthropy, Transparent Finances” from the beginning, this idea was not completely accepted. We also did not know what this idea would bring into effect. So, during the execution of “Little Bee Growth Project,” the center combed through our financial records, perfected our project guidelines, and improved our information recording and publicity system with the help of TFish Lab. After working on it for over a year, we discovered a drastic change in how we accomplish our tasks when we were summarizing project progress. We strengthened our ability to utilize societal resources, increased volunteer participation, and gained trust from our community. In June, the center applied for a grant from TFish for our Senior Group Birthday Project and again received the trust and support of TFish!
If we were asked about what we gained with Transparent Fish Fund’s support, our answer would be the the benefits from turning TFish’s ideas into reality. During the two years working with TFish, we, like other interactive partners, received the foundations’ funding and support, guidelines for financial reports, publicity for our daily activities, and a systemization of volunteer services, as well as a standardization of project operations. The most important benefit, however, was being able to put in practice “Transparent Philanthropy, Transparent Finances” and its subsequent result. If a nonprofit wants to be noticed and supported, it must first gain trust from others. And this trust develops from an understanding of the the organization’s social services and their project finances. If an organization’s financial situation is not transparent, its services offered would also seem coded. Even if the organization is not corrupt, its lack of transparency would instill prejudice in the hearts of the public and fail to gather support because no organization or person would want to donate to someone (or some organization) that is not trustworthy.
As a volunteer service organization, although we still face many problems, including in areas such as project management, financial guidelines, extension of services, and workers, as long as our general direction and idea are correct, we believe that our efforts will not be wasted. We will remember the help from Transparent Fish Fund, friends in our community, and kind donors with hearts full of gratitude. Let us support and encourage each other in the days to come!
Original article written by Ling Feng, translated by Allison Zhang, edited by Yanyan Zhang
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