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Accountability critical to philanthropy
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By Fan Junmei
China.org.cn staff reporter

A seminar on 'Charity Trust and Accountability and Civil Society' is held in Beijing, November 2. [China.org.cn]

A seminar on  "Charity Trust and Accountability and Civil Society" is held in Beijing, November 2. [China.org.cn]

A seminar on "Charity Trust and Accountability and Civil society" was held in JW Marriott Hotel, Beijing, November 2. All the distinguished guests expressed their points of view on how to build up the accountability of philanthropy. The key points are as follows:

Cultural heritage

Yu Dan, Professor of Beijing Normal University. [China.org.cn]

Yu Dan, Professor of Beijing Normal University. [China.org.cn] 

Many people think that the history of charitable activity in China is not as long as that of the west. To rebut this point, Professor Yu Dan of Beijing Normal University, quoted the sayings from The Analects of Confucius and stressed that "Ren" is the core value of Confucian thought. In other words, China has an old and established tradition of encouraging people to do good deeds. The issue is how to pass on this heritage. Professor Feng Yan of National Taiwan University echoed that charity is not limited to the well-off, ordinary people can also be philanthropists with the appropriate guidance. Kang Xiaoguang, director of the NPO Research Center of Renmin University of China, observed that there is much philosophy on altruism in China's traditional culture, and that every individual should shoulder some responsibility for society.


An officer from the China Children & Teenagers' Fund strongly recommended that China's philanthropic groups need to improve their professionalism. NPOs in China should try to establish clarity of purpose, form a strong board, improve management, and be accountable to their donors. Professionalism is not an end, but a means to further development. David Pao, philanthropy adviser of HSBS Private Bank, added that a third-party monitoring system is also crucial in a professional structure for NPOs.

Maxime Ferte, regional director of IWC-Asia Pacific, Hong Kong & China, stated that 'quality" is important. A successful philanthropic program needs a true story behind its message. NPOs should promote their positive image, get big names involved, and use trust to develop partnership.


Amanda Horton Mastin, innovation director of Comic Relief suggested that NPOs do something "out of the ordinary" to raise funds. They have the opportunity to develop some incredible ideas and build up unique brands to promote philanthropy. People can get bored if they hear the same story all the time. NPOs have to do something innovative to inspire people's enthusiasm and get everyone involved, from children to the old, adding freshness to charity-related activities.


The last and the most important point lies in ACTION. Yu Dan told the audience that she would like to be a volunteer if possible. She wants to be a cultural 'icon' who makes a genuinely meaningful contribution. Only through actions can individuals and NPOs prove to the public that they are accountable. Everyone needs to do something good to make the world a warmer place--philanthropic activity should become a habit.

(China.org.cn November 4, 2008)

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