Make me your Homepage
left corner left corner
China Daily Website

Call for charity fundraising expertise

Updated: 2013-09-26 09:51
By Fan Feifei ( China Daily)

Charity experts have called for more training courses and a national qualification system to boost fundraising.

"We lack people who possess professional knowledge and experience in fundraising," said Yu Xiuhong, secretary-general of the Bright China Foundation, which was founded in 2005 and dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship education to the underprivileged.

Although the foundation set up a fundraising department this year, with two full-time staff members, it is insufficient, she said.

Fundraising still takes up 30 to 40 percent of her workload, she said.

Yu spent half a year to find a fundraising manager, but she still thought she was very lucky.

"The fundraising industry is very new and the people who have a professional background are rare because Chinese universities don't provide courses or degrees in fundraising," she explained. Those with experience in public relations, sales, marketing and customer development also prefer to work in enterprises or transnational companies than nonprofit organizations due to the higher salaries and clearer career paths, Yu added.

She conceded the shortage of fundraising workers directly affects the progress of some activities, and even restricts the development of the whole foundation.

A report this year based on studies by the Beijing Normal University's Song Ching Ling Education Center on Philanthropy, Tsinghua University's NGO Research Center and the China Foundation Center found the shortage is common throughout the public welfare industry.

It showed that employees in charge of fundraising only account for 9.7 percent of the employees in a foundation, and 77.5 percent of them have worked for less than three years.

The report said more than a third of the public foundations are desperately short of fundraising expertise.

Moreover, it found that the working pressure on fundraisers is a major factor. Despite their heavy workload they are not paid very well and the monthly salary ranges from 3,000 to 10,000 yuan ($490 to $1,620), so the employees have a high level of mobility.

The opportunity for promotion seems limited and more than 60 percent of employees have not had a promotion in the past three years, the report said.

The studies involved interviews of foundations in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and other "private non-enterprise" public welfare organizations.

Low salary

Beijing Chunmiao Save the Children Foundation also has the same problem.

Cui Lanxin, secretary-general of the foundation, said there were only two members of staff in charge of raising funds: One is the business development director, and another is the secretary general, who also works on other projects.

Other departments in the foundation need to cooperate with the fundraising department to finish the fundraising task, she said.

Cui said the salary is low, about 3,000 yuan a month, and is not attractive to applicants.

She also complained that it would be difficult to offer better salaries because of budget constraints.

"These employees would be trained during work and we like the applicants who have a passion for the public welfare."

However, China Charities Aid Foundation for Children seems not to be very worried about the shortage of fundraising expertise.

Jiang Ying, its assistant director of communications, said they didn't care about how many fundraising members of staff they have as exploring resources is more important.

"Sixty percent of our funding came from public fundraising in the first half of this year. We cooperate with charity channels under Tencent and Sina and send the information regarding the children who are in need of help on their web and let more people know in order to get donations," she added.

Yang Rui, director of education and training at Beijing Normal University's China Philanthropy Research Institute, the first research organization about public welfare, said they provide seminars and lectures about fundraising but there are no degrees or long-term lessons offered to the people working in this field.

Chu Ying, a researcher with Tsinghua University's NGO Research Center, said fundraising expertise is "scarcest" in the public welfare industry.

"Most of the philanthropic organizations in China don't have a specialized fundraising team. The people who are in charge of fundraising are the general secretary or director."

Hot Topics
A sailor from British Royal Navy destroyer HMS Daring tries to catch a mooring line to dock in the north side of the bund at Huangpu River in Shanghai December 10, 2013.