CiYuan Newsletter | Q2 2011

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In This Issue


Guiding Corporate Giving in China

From central government support for greater transparency in the nonprofit sector to an award ceremony recognizing the top social innovation programs in China, there have been several key developments to improving the impact of social investment in China over the last quarter.

In this issue, BSR Partnership Development Director Pei Bin explores the latest policy developments related to the Ministry of Civil Affairs’ new “Corporate Giving Guide,” for which she recently participated in an expert consultation seminar.

Next, following our participation on the selection committee for Intel’s “Social Innovation Award for Nonprofits,” we reflect on the latest trends in China’s nonprofit sector.

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New Guide to Encourage Corporate Participation in Social Investment

By Pei Bin, Director, Partnership Development, BSR

In contrast to the rapid development of the nonprofit sector over the past few years, legislation—particularly relating to charitable organizational governance, information disclosure, and operations—has lagged behind. Recently, however, the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the body responsible for setting such legislation, has stepped up its efforts to create a “Corporate Giving Guide” that will help companies effectively use their resources to address China’s social and environmental challenges.

In May, I participated on an expert consultation panel—which also included government, nonprofit, and business representatives—to provide feedback on the new Guide. Rather than focusing on corporate giving, as the name of the Guide suggests, the consultation meeting focused on how companies can partner with nonprofits, namely NGOs and foundations, to leverage their resources to increase social impact. The Hong Kong Council of Social Services, Hong Kong Red Cross, Cathay Pacific, Disney Hong Kong, BEA Hong Kong, Nokia China, and HengYuanxiang shared their experiences building platforms for corporate-NGO partnerships as well as ways in which the sector can encourage these partnerships and corporate giving in general.

Since corporate donations in China now represent more than 50 percent of total donations to the nonprofit sector (China Charity Donation and Information Centre, 2011, “Nonprofit Sector Transparency in China 2010”), it’s important that companies have clear guidelines to make their contributions have the greatest impact. To do this, the Guide will:

  • Provide standards for and best practices on effective and efficient corporate giving.
  • Encourage corporate-employee mobilization and participation in philanthropy.
  • Offer guidance on how companies can shift from a focus on short-term tangible results to one on long-term investments and program impact.

I also came away from the meeting with some key observations on what is needed to encourage corporate participation in social investment:

  • Increased credibility and transparency of nonprofits to attract corporate partners and funding.
  • A clearly defined mission and vision from nonprofits to discourage divergent actions during program implementation.
  • Programs that are co-designed by the company and nonprofit to ensure a sense of ownership for both parties.
  • Close monitoring and timely reporting on program outcomes at each stage of implementation to strengthen long-lasting partnerships.

To build a robust social investment structure in China, corporate participation needs to extend beyond traditional giving programs, and corporate-NGO partnerships is one way companies can become actively involved. This Guide will hopefully be a huge step forward in making this happen.

How do you think companies can participate in social investment?

Please send your views and comments to

In Brief

Intel Recognizes Social Innovation in China

By Pei Bin, Director, Partnership Development, BSR

The “Intel Social Innovation Award for Nonprofits” was a key milestone for the development of philanthropy in China over the last quarter. The award ceremony, which recognizes nonprofits across five different categories under the broader theme of promoting social innovation, was broadcasted live on the popular Chinese portal The award website attracted more than 1.1 million online visits, and the ceremony itself gave nonprofits from across the country the chance to learn about innovative programs from those recognized by the competition.

It was inspiring and enlightening to participate in the selection process of the 20 finalists from a pool of 382, and witness firsthand the growth and development of the sector. Some notable trends include:

  • Young professionals from the business sector are joining nonprofits, bringing wide-ranging experiences such as program design and new approaches to address social and environmental development needs.
  • An increasing number of nonprofits are using technology, in particular online tools, to drive innovation in program design. One example is the Charity Supermarket, which uses the internet to connect citizens willing to donate clothes or buy clothes online with proceeds going to those in need.
  • Innovative cross-sector partnership programs are emerging to enhance the impact of social investments.
  • Nonprofits are increasing their focus on projects that provide differentiated social services to meet the needs of their target beneficiaries.
  • A range of stakeholders—including the Ministry of Civil Affairs, academia, NGOs, public and private foundations, and asset-management companies—are endorsing programs that recognize innovation.

In addition to the award and a grant from Intel and private foundations, award winners have the opportunity to participate in presentation skills training (led by Intel), a study tour to South Korea on social innovation, and the development of case studies highlighting new models and approaches to philanthropy.

For more information on this project, please contact Pei Bin at

The Future of Philanthropy

Through interviews and conversations with government, nonprofit, and private-sector leaders in China, CiYuan has captured the visions of the future of philanthropy. Visit to learn more about the sector’s history, trends, challenges, and opportunities.

“Traditionally, our values have been at the heart of our culture. We need to reignite our sense of social values instead of focusing on the technical details of charity.”

Peng Jianmei, Director, China Charity Donation and Information Center | Full profile

“We partner with NGOs to get different perspectives, opinions, and ideas—new thinking that we could not access in any other way.”

William Valentino, Vice President Corporate Social Responsibility, Bayer China | Full profile

See all profiles


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