Government fund lends a hand to grassroots NGOs

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It has always been challenging for China’s grassroots NGOs to participate in government procurement of services, due to inadequate organizational capacity and lack of familiarity with government standards. But help has now arrived.

In 2021, China’s central government set up a special fund, the 2021 Central Financial Support Project to support NGOs in remote areas, mainly subsidizing them to purchase office or service equipment. One year later, how is the project progressing?

“The changes are obvious. Volunteers are more motivated, work is more efficient and more standardized, and the beneficiaries report increased satisfaction,” said a member of staff from the Love Porter Volunteer Association in Qinghai Province.

With a shabby office and lacking necessary equipment, the association used to be a typical grassroots NGO in a remote part of China. After applying for funds from the 2021 CFSP, a total of 51,000 yuan ($8,014) has been raised from the government and related fundraising channels, helping to improve the office environment and funding the purchase of computers.

The Xiangchuanqing Social Work Service Center in Li County, Sichuan Province, is another NGO that has benefitted from the 2021 CFSP.

“Thanks to these funds, our center successfully provided social work services for senior citizens and children living in the plateau pastoral areas, benefiting more than 800 people,” said Li Dandan, head of the center.

Grassroots NGOs in Tibet Autonomous Region, such as the Association for the Deaf, the Association for the Blind, and the Association for the Disabled, have also received tens of thousands of yuan from the fund. These NGOs have not only improved their working conditions with this funding, but also familiarized themselves with government processes, which will help them to bid for government procurement contracts in the future.