The China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation has just published a handbook that aims to guide and support Chinese grassroots NGOs to “go out” (走出去) and get involved internationally. The project was funded by the Asia Foundation. CDB’s associate editor Guo Ting participated in the project along with academic Lu Bo and Xiang Ying from the China Youth Development Foundation. The handbook (in Chinese) can be downloaded from the CDB website here. Lu Bo summarised the aims and structure of the project:
According to Lu’s latest research, as of August 31st, 2014, there were 4005 registered foundations in China and about 0.9% of these were already “going out”. Assuming the same ratio applies to registered NGOs, then 0.9% of 619,000 (the current total of “NGOs” registered with MOCA) is quite a large figure. The purpose of the handbook is to provide these NGOs with case studies and recommendations to guide their “going out”.
Chinese grassroots NGOs “going out” can be a long and complicated process. One aim of this handbook is to provide guidance during the earliest stage of the “going out ” process for Chinese NGOs. Another aim is to provide NGOs that already have gone out with some operational guidance.
The handbook covers 5 main areas: “feasibility studies”, “relationship-building”, “daily operations”, “funding” and “establishing projects”. Each chapter is divided into many small sections following the same logical order: “why”, “how”, “methods”, and “suggestions”. The authors also interviewed NGOs that have gone out and added their experience to the handbook as guiding case studies.
4. Division of labor
Lu Bo focused on the introduction and chapter 1, Guo Ting worked on chapters 1 and 2 and Xiang Ying wrote chapters 4 and 5.
Even though the handbook wasn’t meant to be an academic publication, the authors still paid close attention to terminology and definitions. For example, the reason that the handbook used “grassroots organizations” (民间组织) instead of non-profit organizations, social organizations or other similar terms is that the authors wanted to emphasize civil society organizations, those with a grassroots background. They also chose the word “going out” (走出去）instead of internationalization (国际化), because it is more accurate and representative of China’s global strategy.
The author’s did not include a “how-to” template in the handbook. However with the guidance presented they hope that Chinese grassroots NGOs can discover their very own way of operating when “going out”.