Post-COVID Chinese NGOs Display Resilience Amidst Challenges

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In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the landscape for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and charitable organizations in China has undergone significant shifts, with some encountering challenges and others showcasing remarkable resilience.

Beijing Xianfeng Foundation (BXF), established in 2015 with a mission to provide sustained and unrestricted funding to NGOs, recently conducted interviews with 23 organizations under its purview, shedding light on their current status in the realms of finance, human resources, and operations.

Among the organizations interviewed, the majority (18 out of 23) not only maintained their income, but three of them even reported an increase in fundraising ranging from 10% to 25%.

Interestingly, there appears a to be no clear correlation between the size of the organization and its fundraising capacity, as both small and large NGOs demonstrated the ability to secure steady funding.

However, challenges surfaced for four organizations that reported a significant reduction in funding. This downturn was primarily attributed to diminished funding channels and the withdrawal of international financial support, highlighting the vulnerabilities faced by some NGOs.

On the human resources front, a notable aspect emerged: none of the NGOs interviewed resorted to laying off staff during or after the COVID period. Nevertheless, a few organizations did witness voluntary staff departures, attributed to increased job insecurity and a heightened focus on family considerations.

Adapting to the changing work environment, many organizations reported adopting a hybrid working model during COVID restrictions, either out of necessity or choice.

Unsurprisingly, the operational aspects of NGOs bore the brunt of the pandemic’s impact, particularly in the public health sector.

Social distancing policies rendered in-person events impractical, affecting the ability of these organizations to carry out their usual activities. This sector, in particular, faced additional challenges due to recent regulations targeting it specifically.

As China continues its recovery from the pandemic, the experiences of these NGOs reflect both resilience and ongoing challenges, emphasizing the importance of adaptability and sustainable funding models in navigating uncertain times.