China rises to the challenge of channeling funds for a good cause

South China Morning Post

With the regional economies booming and more wealthy people in China as a result, significant donations are expected to emanate from both Hong Kong and the mainland in the coming years.

Channeling philanthropic impulses in this part of the world effectively and strategically, and in a manner that meets local legal requirements, is therefore key.

John Peralta, managing director and chief adviser of Global Philanthropic, an international fund-raising consultancy, said only government-operated agencies were free to raise money on the mainland.

“The Chinese government doesn’t object to the inflow of money into the country from offshore, but it doesn’t monitor and control the activities of foreign NGOs to make sure that they’re not working towards political purposes,” he said.

Geneva Global, one of the best-known performance philanthropists in the field, actively welcomes the involvement of anyone from Hong Kong, the mainland or the global Chinese Diaspora.

“In terms of placing funds, a lot depends on where the funds go and the regulatory environment,” said chief knowledge officer Timothy Ogden.

“The money goes directly from the donor to the programme, so the donor has complete visibility into when, how, who, where and why, so its very easy to get involved from a low level, say a US$20,000 investment – up to a US$2 million investment programme,” Mr. Ogden said.

“My advice to wealthy people in Hong Kong and China is that writing the cheque is the easy thing…we need you engaged,” said Chandran Nair, who heads the Hong-Kong based Global Institute for Tomorrow.

“Poor people do not need pity and handouts; do your due diligence and establish the metrics of success,” Mr Chandran said.

“Many involved in this sector have good intentions and knowledge, but they are not the best to deliver results. There needs to be a robust plan, tough questions raised and excellent project management.”