The 2014 China Grassroots Transparency Rankings, sponsored by organisations including the Dunhe Foundation, Narada Foundation, SEE Foundation, Western Sunshine, and China Foundation Center, was released on March 15 in Shenzhen. The list was based around information from 1300 grassroots NGOs. The Grassroots Transparency Index (GTI), the evaluation model used by the List, was developed by Deng Guosheng and Cheng Wenhao, both professors of School of Public Policy and Management of Tsinghua University.
The main conclusions from the Rankings were:
1. Grassroots transparency had been increasing gradually, but there is still much room for further improvement. There were also big gaps between grassroots NGOs in terms of openness and transparency: the highest score achieved was 98.3 while one organization scored as low as 2.57.
2. Grassroots NGOs have shown willingness to disclose information, but the information revealed was not as thorough as expected. The public, with the help of internet and new forms of media, had easier access to the basic information of NGOs, however in-depth information – such as financial reports – was still hard to acquire.
3. Grassroots NGOs hoped that the government would lower the threshold for NGO registration and draft laws and regulations related to the public welfare sector. There are no national laws regulating charitable organizations, and regional regulations had different standards regarding NGO registration, which was one of the reasons why the transparency level of unregistered NGOs was so far behind those that were registered.
4. The sustainable development of China’s grassroots NGOs relies on the improving of transparency level. The 2013 and 2014 lists showed that NGOs ranked higher were more capable of maintaining balanced and all-round development, which is a great inspiration for the future development of China’s NGOs.