Donors desert RCSC

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, August 5, 2011
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The Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) is struggling to find donors in the wake of the recent scandals that have engulfed it.

Nanfang Daily reported that only 11 donors gave 5,035 yuan (US$782) to the Shenzhen office in July, a drop of 90 percent.

In April, an invoice showing that a department of the Shanghai branch of the RCSC had spent 9,859 yuan (US$1,525) on a meal was posted online.

Then 20-year-old Guo Meimei identified herself as the general manager of the Red Cross Chamber of Commerce on her microblog, which had photos flaunting her lavish lifestyle.

Then the State auditor said the aid agency had five discrepancies in its budget last year.

All these have whipped up public anger and mistrust and led to accusations of waste and even corruption.

The damage inflicted on the aid agency has forced it to be more open. On July 31 it responded by launching an online database, which is supposed to provide greater transparency. This was a step that should have come earlier. And the aid agency still has many questions to answer if it wants to regain its credibility.

In recent years, there have been numerous complaints about the charitable organization's irregularities, but previously those in charge of the charity's funds have always been able to disregard the public's opinions. Now, however, the RCSC has fallen into utter disrepute, had it won over the hearts and minds of the public, it would still be receiving their donations.

When people stop giving donations to a charitable organization, they are registering a vote of no confidence in it.

Charitable organizations are supposed to offer a safety net and hope for the future for those in need. People pour their hard-earned money and valuable time into this organization under the premise that it is making a difference in someone's life.

That is why there has been such a public outcry when the country's largest charitable organization and some of its employees violate the public trust. The controversies surrounding the RCSC have had a ripple effect on the country's charities, yet there has been little administrative response to such abuses.

The mistrust and anger directed at the country's charitable organizations could have been avoided or at least tempered if charities had to adhere to a stringent code of ethics.

Action should be done to clearly define, acknowledge and communicate the behaviors and actions that are expected of all managers, employees and volunteers associated with philanthropic entities. This can be accomplished through the development and adoption of stringent code of behavior.

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