Press Room

Foundations adopt better strategies for fundraising


China Foundation Center (CFC), an information service platform for foundations, held a salon on Tuesday about how to fundraise effectively in the 21st century.

Speakers included Dorit Lehrack, a CFC consultant who has fundraised more than 20 years for many international organizations, such as Friend of the Earth German, Greenpeace and Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung.

She talked about what fundraising in Germany entails, preconditions for a successful campaign and eight steps for achieving success.


Dorit Lehrack gives a presentation on fundraising. Photo provided by CFC

She pointed out that fundraising was about more than collecting donations. It depends on establishing and maintaining human relationships that serve a common purpose. The key is to make people feel like they don’t need to expect anything back for their time and money.

She said 90 percent of donations in Germany were from individuals, which is in stark contrast with the situation in China.

“I think that there are a lot of problems with China’s foundations,” she said. “There are a lot of good causes, including fighting poverty and helping people attain educations. But the legal situation needs to be improved so that foundations can grow.”

Lehrack said no one can do it alone.

“Between foundations and NGOs without the character of foundations, there must be good relationships and cooperation because foundations need NGOs to implement projects, and NGOs need foundations to give them support,” she said.

“The two must also work closely with the government and business sectors, legal institutions and tax legislations to create a beneficial environment.”

Liu Yongfeng, product manager of a public welfare platform that has raised more than 10 million yuan in nine months, talked about how to use microblogs to fundraise.

He said making events transparent is important because it’s crucial to have the public’s trust.

“There were many popular fundraising opportunities after our weibo platform opened,” said Zhang Ruwei, who was in charge of activities. “Netizens were very enthusiastic.”

CFC was launched by 35 Chinese foundations in 2010. As a third-party platform, it discloses information about organizations registered under the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

“Government departments, the public and related scholars can understand China’s standard foundations they want to learn about through our data,” said Zhang Ping, former director of communications at CFC. “At the same time, CFC also provides a platform for those foundations that want to show themselves. We usually recommend more transparent organizations to donors.”

CFC began holding salons last October. It cooperated with online platforms QQ, Ku6 and Sina Weibo to teach participants how to improve their organizations through New Media.

“We think our industry needs communication,” Zhang said. “We are an online platform for the industry and we want to provide new knowledge and solutions.”

Yuan Yuan, a salon organizer, said not enough people use the Internet to connect with others.

“We often deal with new concepts on the Internet so we can provide new ideas to them,” she said. “Our salons are the ‘in’ practice.”

“We have also invited professionals from other domestic organizations to speak,” Zhang said. “Even if they have been doing the projects for a very long time, they still want to get new ideas and discover popular and new ways of fundraising.”

At least one participant agreed.

“We are newly established and lack experience,” said Du Chang, who works at China Next Generation Education Foundation. “I’ve come to learn and have a look at how overseas organizations fundraise. We should make good use of new media as a tool for publicity.”

“The idea behind this presentation is to bring people together to help each other,” Lehrack said. “We could also talk about basic principles that are valid in each culture and that aren’t very different between Germany, China or any other country.”