The 9th of September was set up as a “Charity Day” by Tencent, China’s internet behemoth, in 2015. Since then the 9/9 Charity Day has turned into the largest online fundraising event in the world. On the 3rd of September 2020, the sixth Charity Day was formally launched by the company in Wuhan. During the launching ceremony, the new secretary of the Tencent Foundation Ge Yan revealed some new features of this year’s Charity Day, and the new strategies that Tencent will adopt to increase the event’s transparency and ensure it proceeds smoothly.
As reported by the Charity Times, Ge Yan noted the following new features for this year’s Charity Day: the number of young people who take part in the event is expected to increase; there are more ways to take part; new blockchain technology will help trace data and information and improve the transparency of all the donations; a larger number of companies have joined the event this year through various channels, including direct donations and promoting target programmes on various social media platforms like Bilibili, Tiktok and Vendor.
Ge Yan explained that involving the younger generations in the Charity Day is of great importance, and the philanthropic sector needs young people to continue its work with commitment. Tencent therefore has tried new methods to attract younger audiences, for example setting up livestream functions for young campaigners to advocate for their programmes and celebrity fan clubs for young donors to generously give and support philanthropic organisations. Also, as already mentioned, more and more companies are choosing to donate through the 9/9 Charity Day. To create a more friendly environment for corporate participants, Tencent has designed new tools such as coupons that companies can use to encourage their customers to give donations.
This year, social media has also been a great force for the promotion of the 9/9 Charity Day. It is reported that Tencent has cooperated with thousands of WeChat public accounts to roll out a “We Media Partnership” plan. Each We Media platform is able to appeal for donations from the public for one specific philanthropic programme from a certain organisation which it represents. Since the plan was published, social media organisers involved in the event have produced detailed promotional material by actively engaging with the organisations they represent. So far there have been over 100 philanthropic programmes represented by We Media platforms, focusing on areas including children, the elderly and poverty reduction.
As the Charity Times report notes, the 9/9 Charity Day has encountered ups and downs over the past five years. One prominent setback is that sometimes the only motivation of organisations choosing to take part has been to receive donations, rather than promoting the programmes they are working on and raising awareness of public participation in the philanthropic sector. That is where Tencent expects change to happen.
In the past few years, there have been cases of organisations cheating in order to attract more attention from donors. Tencent has made it clear that this year they will have zero tolerance towards such behaviour. Apart from adopting blockchain technology into the procedure of donations and programme promotions so that no information or data will be distorted, Tencent has decided to deny the right of any organisation to take part in the event if any kind of cheating is discovered. At the same time, the company will provide donors with security codes to avoid fraud and cheating from happening.
On the 5th of September, the Tencent Foundation published the “Notice on Ensuring the Good Order of the 9/9 Charity Day”, stressing the significance of honesty and transparency for organisations taking part in this year’s event. The Tencent Foundation also announced on the 6th of September that 200 million in funds will be donated to help Chinese philanthropic organisations get through the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and look for a long-term sustainable development plan.