There has been recent buzz of signs that a positive shift is occurring in China’s social sector. China Daily and the China Foundation Center state that with the loosening of registration regulations from dual to single sponsorship from a government entity, more and more of these nonprofit organizations will help with government outsourcing of services. The Economist writes that the change in legislation and increase in registered NPOs is a sign that China’s middle class is becoming more civic minded and that citizens are feeling more empowered to voice their opinion.
While these are all signs of forward movement in the sector, SVG is excited by several other signs that China’s grassroots nonprofits are achieving great milestones. All too often, we see founders of new NPOs eager to help their communities but not properly equipped to efficiently and effectively execute their vision. Whether it is navigating the intricate regulations or finding funding and the staff to help share the workload, often times these NPOs are vanish before a year’s time. Foundations have recognized this reoccurring pattern and are becoming more involved in grant making and experimenting with capacity building. China Charities Aid Foundation for Children (中华少年儿童慈善救助基金会) for example started the Tongyuan plan which offers special grants to projects assisting marginalized children.
Guangzhou and Shenzhen in Guangdong province have been the pilot cities for reformist regulations. Currently NPOs in these cities are allowed to apply for public fundraising rights for specific projects during a specific duration of time. If these temporary changes to regulations are believed to be positive, these changes have the potential to be rolled out nationwide. We also are excited to see the recent loosening of regulations of public fundraising. Three separate nonpublic foundations in three different cities (One Foundation in Shenzhen, Dream Foundation in Shanghai, New Sunshine Foundation in Beijing) have been able to successful change to public foundations with the abilities to publicly fundraise for themselves.
More and more grassroots nonprofit organizations are dreaming bigger with a larger volume and diverse range of capacity building organizations helping to make their missions and projects realities. Organizations such as SCE 索 (Shanghai), Frolick方脑壳 (Shenzhen), and YeeMedia 益美 (Beijing) and helping NPOs improve their professionalism and bring their monitor and evaluation, marketing, branding, and media communications up to industry standards. Organizations now are sharing best practices and are working towards innovating, expanding, and replicating their models across China.