According to their motto - “Love, truth, and service to community” - Xingyang Volunteer Federation works to enhance people’s sense of social responsibility through providing them various volunteer opportunities.The office is in Xingyang, Henan province.
How Transparent Fish Fund Changed Our Organization:
Xingyang Volunteers Federation has adhered to the principle of transparency for all nonprofit events since its formation in 2006. We publish our monetary transactions on the Internet and welcome the general public to monitor our finances. All our financial records, however, were posted on the volunteers page, which is part of the Xingyang forum, sporadically by part-time employees during their free time. When we needed to assemble our end of the year summary, we had to spend a lot of time and energy compiling and categorizing our records.
Transparent Fish Fund specializes in supporting grassroots nonprofit organizations. Their “Transparent Philanthropy, Transparent Finances” philosophy matches our’ “Open and Transparent” policy. In June of 2012, after getting to know each other, Xingyang Volunteers Federation began accepting funds and guidance regarding administration tactics from TFish. After over three years of cooperation, I personally believe that we have learned a lot. For example, we did not know where to begin when we first started doing monthly progress updates. After receiving help from Ms. Wang Jun of TFish, I wrote the first monthly work summary, which is equivalent to TFish’s monthly progress update.
At first, progress updates were basically lists of our activities and descriptions about what happened with photos from the activity or event. We were not very good at formatting and had varying picture sizes, which made the reports not very aesthetically pleasing. Mr. Wang gave us formatting suggestions and templates for reports with photos, making our reports much more standardized and also smaller in size so we can send and upload them faster, increasing our efficiency.
After half a year of exploring, improving, and studying other NGOs’ progress updates on the Transparent Fish Fund website, I split our activities into the following main categories: student support 1+1, poverty and disability support, happy childhood, seniors support, reading rooms, volunteer activities, and other. Summary reports of the different categories are clear and easy to read and remember, making them a great help for publicizing our nonprofit. In our later publicity work, Xingze Volunteers used the publicity fund from TFish to print newspapers. The main substance of those newspapers was each month’s project update, so more people can understand nonprofits and Xingze volunteers around them. The newspapers were also timely, convenient, and greatly helped us enhance our public credibility, supporting the speedy but stable development of Xingze Volunteers.
Transparent Fish Fund opportunely started the “Outstanding Monthly Blog” evaluation. Whenever we see Xingze Volunteers evaluated as one of the outstanding blogs, we feel very encouraged and work even harder. During months in which our blogs did not receive the title, we would immediately search for and correct our inadequacies.
When time comes to compile the yearly summary, we now only need to compile the monthly progress updates, lowing the amount of pressure at the end of the year and saving more time to accomplish the day-to-day tasks. Now I already have a habit of recording and categorizing monthly activities and starting to prepare for the monthly updates on around the 25th of each month by calculating the number of people at each event, writing down the time and project name, selecting photos, etc. On the last day of the month, I can compile all that together and upload the report after polishing.
Transparent Fish Fund started a new project this year. The new digital monitoring system is a challenge to our volunteers. In order to complete this project, we had to find volunteers from each event to confirm the digital data. We learned to use succinct and appropriate expressions. This made our project and events better expressed. From now on we will also compile news from each of our events in a timely fashion, to increase our efficiency and help more people in need. The Vice President of the association, An, is also actively coordinating with Transparent Fish Fund to test financial software, feeling that being able to get financial reports and other information will be of practical use to grassroots nonprofits and wanting to make our finances and projects more transparent. Compiling summaries regularly is a good habit to have. Many people see their usefulness but fail to persevere in writing them. I am lucky to have formed this habit under Transparent Fish Fund’s guidance.
Thank you Transparent Fish Fund!
Original article written by Zengliang Zhang, translated by Allison Zhang, edited by Yanyan Zhang
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