A report recently released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs provides a picture of the online fundraising landscape in China for 2018. Over the course of the year, the 20 official platforms for online public fundraising designated by the Ministry of Civil Affairs published a total of 21,000 solicitations for fundraising on behalf of over 1400 charitable organizations nationally. Netizens clicked, followed and otherwise reacted to these solicitations a total of 8.46 billion times, and the total amount of money raised was in excess of 3.17 billion Yuan, a figure that rose by 26.8% compared to 2017. Charity organizations raised 1.725 billion Yuan through Tencent Charity, 670 million through Ant Financial, and 440 million through Alibaba Charity. Xinlang Charity, Jingdong Charity, Gongyibao, Xinhua Charity, Qingsong Charity, Lianquan Net, United for Charity, Meituan Charity and Shuidi Charity raised over 10 million Yuan each.
The report also shows that the proportion of projects across the 20 platforms that focused on targeted poverty alleviation and grassroots charities exceeded 80%. The methods by which funds are raised are also becoming more diversified, with fundraising campaigns linked to walking, reading and virtual reality games. The generations of Chinese now in their twenties and thirties represent the main category of donors, but teenagers are also starting to donate. Another new development is that a few of the fundraising platforms, including Aixin, Qingsong and Shuidi, have signed an industry pledge for self-discipline regarding individual calls for aid made by people with serious illnesses. A few such solicitations have caused controversy in the past, with people accused of asking for help in spite of having a satisfactory financial situation.
The Ministry has also continued to strengthen its supervision of the online fundraising platforms according to the two industry standards, the “Charity Organizations’ Internet Public Fundraising Platform Basic Management Rules”, and the “Charity Organizations’ Internet Public Fundraising Platform Basic Technological Rules”. Over the year, the Ministry arranged talks with the platforms 18 times, carried out two comprehensive inspections, released seven notifications ordering rectification and reform, nine improvement and recommendation notices, and demanded the platforms hand in written explanations and rectification and reform material seven times. The Ministry also organized a committee of experts to assess the main platforms. The committee found problems with the work of Bangbang Charity, the China Social Poverty Alleviation Net, ICBC’s Rong Egou Charity, and Baidu Charity, and required that these four platforms make some changes to their work.