By Zhang Mulan (张木兰), Philanthropy Times (公益时报), April 16, 2013
Using the recent Heifer International/China Beijing United Charity Foundation Night as a starting off point, this article discusses the survival strategies for international NGOs in China. The event was intended to announce the creation of a special fund for Heifer International under the supervision of the China Beijing United Charity Foundation, the first non-governmental public foundation registered in Beijing. This type of fund is one of the few current channels for international NGOs in China; Heifer, which has worked in China since 1985, began with a different approach. In 2008, they registered the Sichuan Haihuai Service Center as a local NGO that would also serve as an international branch. The special fund will serve as the next step for the organization, allowing them to openly seek funding in a manner available only to public foundations.
The 2004 Regulations on Foundation Management leave open the possibility for international foundations to register, but in fact only around 20 such organizations have been able to establish foreign offices (including Hong Kong and Taiwan). Some international NGOs, due to the lack of regulations for NGOs, have been able to shift their identities into foundations in able to register domestically. Another group, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, mentioned that their project required little fundraising, and so there was no necessity for them to formally register. Other groups confirmed that at this point, little of their funding comes from mainland sources. Yunnan has developed a unique system where international NGOs must beian, or report their activities to the Civil Affairs Bureau.