As promised, a detailed recap of our recent conference! To read the recap in its original Chinese, please click here.
On October 18th, the Transparent Fish Laboratory’s Mao Weimin and Wang Xinyi organized the NGO leadership conference to help use a different top down assistance model for NGO support. Transparent Fish hopes to sove the greatest NGO pain points, such as financial management and fundraising challenges. However, Transparent Fish uses a style that demphasizes criticism (telling NGOs what they are doing wrong) and emphasizes offering their services to NGOs in a respectful way, as a partner.
"Nonprofit, public service organizations should make information public."
On the evening of October 15th, Transparent Fish’s “Transparent Finances, Transparent Nonprofit” event in Beijing concluded. Transparent Fish Fund founder Ping Chao and Director Ms. Tianfu Ruan presented the concept of Transparent Fish to representatives from over 30 NGOs. They introduced NGO backend support programs, and continnued with in-person idea exchange. The meeting was divided into three major parts.
The first part was segmented into smaller sections that took the audience from abstract ideas to concrete details, conflicts in moving from concept to implementation, Transparent Financial accounting practices, and Transparent Fish action. Ping Chao personally addressed all participants to demonstrate the heart and soul of the Transparent Fish concept of action. Mr. Chao delivered his expectations of future NGO development trends, and concrete details on the NGO backend support plan and financial accounting transparency methods, as well as his sincerity in his willingness to cooperate. Afterward, Ms. Ruan led Transparent Fish Laboratory staff to demonstrate how to implement the backend support plan and tools. Passion and enthusiasm for service characterized this young team as they shared their work. The testimonies of several current partner organizations also brought great encouragement to the conference participants. Discussion groups were interespersed throughout the section to listen to any concerns or feedback from NGOs that could help Transparent Fish improve its future quality of service.
The second part of the meeting involved a series of rotations so that Transparent Fish staff could explain each of its backend support services to individual NGOs on a more personal basis. Some of the rotations involved an explanation of the Transparent Fish technology platform, a description of partnership levels and their corresponding requirements and benefits, funding opportunities for strategic partners, and financial disclosure training. The small group exchange format helped NGOs gain a deeper undertanding of all areas of Transparent Fish Support.
After dinner, the NGO representatives each had one-on-one time with Mr. Chao and Ms. Ruan. As representatives waited their turn, Transparent Fish staff offered opportunities for more personalized training and assistance. The Transparent Fish team was very pleased to see the interaction between teams and the relationships established that day, which will hopefully serve to promote more opportunities to work together in the future.
By Transparent Fish staff’s measures, the conference was a huge success. It clearly communicated Transparent Fish’s vision: to use technology, partnership and entrepreneurship to drive long-term NGO development. But more importantly, the sense of accomplishment came from the NGO respnses we heard. Many NGO managers told staff, “We feel your genuine desire to help us and know that we now have support we can trust.” Perhaps as a further sign of participants’ enthusiasm, the last representatives to leave did so at 10:45pm, 11 hours from the time the event began.
There were a lot of tired faces by the end of the night, but staff can rest well knowing what an outstanding job they did. Congratulations to the Transparent Fish Beijing staff for a job very well done!
After much consideration, the Chao Foundation has decided to convert its Little Red Scarf (LRS) newsletter into the Transparent Fish Newsletter, marking its dedication to its partner, Transparent Fish Fund. The reason for the change is that many LRS newsletter readers were interested in projects in East Asia that go beyond the scope of Little Red Scarf. Thus, by continuing to provide updates on our congenital heart surgery efforts and combining them with news on other East Asian NGO news, we hope to provide even more valuable information to our audience. Our hope is that the Transparent Fish newsletter will be a prime source of information on happenings in East Asian nonprofit culture, and will educate our subscriber base on grassroots organizations that they might not be able to hear about from anywhere else. To read our first issue of the Transparent Fish Newsletter, please click here. We are excited to hear your feedback and welcome any suggestions or thoughts on how to improve the newsletter at firstname.lastname@example.org. To stay on top of news automatically, just "like" us on Facebook!
Now you can see and sponsor children from some of Chao Foundation's major programs directly online through The School Fund's platform! Although The School Fund was known for it's work in Africa, its recent partnership with (and grant from) the Chao Foundation has allowed them to extend their reach to East Asia, beginning with China.
We have started with 6 of our children on their site and are beyond thrilled to see that two of them have already been fully funded. However, we still have four children in need who could reall use your help to pay for school supplies, tuition and uniforms. It's incredibly easy to donate in just a few steps. First, either visit www.theschoolfund.org, then search by country and click on "China" to view our children (or you can simply click here). Then, once you've chosen a child, click through to see his or her profile. If you are interested in donating to that specific child's education, just click the purple "Fund" button on the left side of the page and begin the easy checkout process (payment by credit card is accepted and preferred). All donations are tax deductible, never have an administrative or transaction fee taken out, and are guaranteed to directly reach the intended recipient.
Click here to read about Lina, Fangdi, Zhongshe and Congxia here, then donate and spread the word! Even if you've already funded a child, check back periodically as we'll be updating the site with new children and new stories. For people who might not be in a position to contribute financially, there are plenty of other ways to get involved, like by spreading the word about us! In fact, we're hoping to get some of our EV interns this year to help find innovative new fundraising tactics to support these children. So if you were thinking of becoming one of this year's Service Scholars, start thinking about what you would do if you were the spokesperson for one of these children!
We're still working on getting visibility for Transparent Fish and The Chao Foundation through The School Fund's website. In the meantime, you can already see Chao Foundation listed as one of the School Fund's supporting partners. You can also see a sneak peek of some of the programs that you'll be able to support via online donations on the scholarship partners page. We'll have a new Transparent Fish Fund website to share with you shortly (it's in beta stage now), and look forward to keeping everyone updated on on 510(c)3 filing!
It's official! The Chao Foundation has awarded a grant to The School Fund, which we've mentioned in some of our earlier blog posts. The grant will help fund a programmer to make some enhancements to their site. Those enhancements will (1) extend The School Fund's area of impact to Asia, and (2) help us raise awareness of our projects while giving potential donors the opportunity to sponsor some of our children. We'll be starting small - with just a handful of children - but if the platform proves to be a successful one from a fundraising and awareness perspective, we hope to develop the partnership into something more substantial.
We'll be participating in an upcoming conference in Beijing this October. While the original plan was to host a large number of NGOs, we may in fact be focusing on a student population this time around. Despite these changes, however, we still see a wonderful opportunity to promote the Chao Foundation mission of promoting a spirit of philanthropy. Having this chance to interact with youth, run them through a poverty simulation, and then talk to them about ways they can help will be tremendously valuable in spreading a service ethic in China's younger generation. Hopefully we will leave them excited enough to help identify potential grassroots organizations or other candidates like children with Congenital Heart Disease who can benefit from our foundation's services. In the meantime, we're trying to put as much marketing collateral together as possible in time for the event. We're still playing around a lot with design, but here's a sneak peek of the front one of our potential handouts (the back will have more specific information on how to join the effort)! Hopefully the message, which tells youth that they don't need to have any special skills to join us in our work, will let people know that ordinary folks can make a difference.
It's been a hectic few days! We had dinner with folks from The School Fund and were even more encouraged than we were following our initial conversation over lunch a few weeks ago. It's always refreshing to see young people who care about making a positive impact on the world really bonding over their passion for service and actually starting something. Like other person-to-person donation sites, The School Fund's website features photos of people (children in their case), and the amount of money they need to reach their goal (enough tuition to attend school). The team has done a great job of trying to implement processes that will hold their field partners in Africa accountable and ensure that the money is being distributed properly and in a way that is transparent for donors. Our hope is to become one of their field partners, but help them expand their donation model and platform to Asia using our existing resources. Nothing's official yet, but based on our meeting on Wenesday, we're very excited about the potential for partnership. Our missions and values are very well aligned and we'd love to be able to support one another in our work.
In other news, we hosted some NGO visitors to our Bay Area office today and are preparing for a visit from recent college graduates tomorrow. They are part of a Haas fellowship program, and each fellow is spending his/her summer at a different nonprofit organization. Our intern, Steve (a Stanford '11 graduate), will be welcoming his fellow program participants into the office and introducing them all to the Chao Foundation, our work, and what he's been doing with East Villagers as his summer project. We hope all goes well and that we're able to convey the Chao Foundation's message and mission in a way that inspires our visitors to continue exploring the nonprofit sector.
We are pleased to announce the launch of the new Chao Foundation website, which we hope will provide a cleaner interface for people to learn more about us through.
On the new website, you can easily find descriptions of all of our programs - those we run ourselves, and those that we work on through affiliates - and easily find the individual websites or project pages for those programs.
Another advantage of our new site, is that it allows users to easily submit information to us online. Send us a request for more info, or ask any other questions you may have through the "Contact Us" page. If you're interested in submitting your proposal for grant funding, you can do that online as well through our new "Apply for a Grant" page. Before sending us your proposal, you can also easily review the grant application deadlines, as well as eligibility and proposal writing guidelines.
Chao Foundation has a number of exciting projects underway and we hope that the new, cleaner website will better showcase some of our efforts at home and abroad. We also hope it will keep everybody better updated on Chao Foundation news and events. To take a look at the new site, please visit us at www.chaofoundation.org. We look forward to your visit!