NGOCN reports several findings and highlights of the recently concluded Charity Fair, held in Shenzhen from the 19th to the 21st of September.
Firstly, there were growing independent voices from grassroots organizations. The overwhelming number of organizations that participated in the fair had opportunities to exchange ideas and network among other organizations. Some CSOs (civil society organization) discussed and confronted difficult issues such as the China Dolls Center initiated “Ice Bucket Challenge” and the closure of some public interest organizations. In addition, youths held a “dissatisfaction walk” that was open to the public to give voice to constructive criticism. There was also a show of solidarity for Li Ren Rural Libraries [a network of rural libraries] that were recently ordered to end their operations.People placed white chrysanthemum at their booth as a sign of solidarity.
The second notable aspect of the charity fair was the meticulous organization. The running of the Charity Fair was very well handled, with information booths aiding guests and participants, colored zones to distinguish different types of exhibits, and ample exhibition space with a large center stage. This year’s fair also took up an eco-friendly initiative: with the organizers of the fair encouraging participants not to bring paper materials but instead to use QR codes to disseminate information. The organizers also encouraged participants to give their feedback about how the fair was run using microblogging and/or written comments.
Launches at the Fair also demonstrated how the sector is expanding in many areas. Technological innovations were launched, such as the “Love You” app, aiming to facilitate better flow of information between donors and organizations. The Ford Foundation launched a pilot model that gives recipients of grant money more leeway in managing allocated funds. Also on display at the Fair was more in-depth research reports into CSOs and, according to the organizers estimations, the amount of financial resources. At this year’s fair, it was estimated that all the participant CSOs had funds totaling up to RMB 5.08 billion, up 197.37% from last year.