The way ahead

ChinAfrica - - Lifestyle -

While In­ter­net com­pa­nies have brought a wave of ne­ti­zens’ en­thu­si­asm to char­ity de­vel­op­ment through pop­u­lar so­cial cam­paigns, some ques­tions have also been raised.

As the art­works by painters with autism went vi­ral in Au­gust, some on­line com­men­ta­tors doubted whether they were re­ally painted by these peo­ple, and oth­ers ques­tioned if Ten­cent and the project’s ini­tia­tor, Shang­hai-based World of Art Brut Cul­ture, re­ceived any com­mis­sion, de­spite the lat­ter be­ing a pri­vate non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Ten­cent re­sponded to all the doubts on­line, pub­lish­ing a state­ment about how they launched the project and how donors could track their do­na­tions as well as re­leas­ing videos show­ing painters with autism cre­at­ing and in­tro­duc­ing their works.

The com­pany also stated that the money raised would not be fun­neled through Ten­cent’s char­ity plat­form; it will go di­rectly to Ai You Fu­ture Foun­da­tion, a Shen­zhen-based or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“For pub­lic fundrais­ing projects, do­na­tions will go to the ac­counts of the or­ga­ni­za­tions qual­i­fied to raise money pub­licly, which are also re­spon­si­ble for the us­age of the funds,” said Yang Sibin, mem­ber of the Aca­demic Coun­cil of the China Char­ity Al­liance.

Many char­i­ties to­day are In­ter­net-based, and they are in­creas­ingly run on third-party plat­forms. To safe­guard against fraud, the Char­ity Law, which took ef­fect on Septem­ber 1, 2016, stip­u­lates that only char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tions of­fi­cially ap­proved for pub­lic fundrais­ing ac­tiv­i­ties can post rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion on­line.

“In the past, NGOS were con­cerned mostly with find­ing peo­ple who could do­nate. But now, they must pro­vide more in­for­ma­tion: Donors need to know who will fi­nally ben­e­fit from their do­na­tions and what the whole process is like, not only where the money goes,” said Zhang Jian­min, Vice Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of China Women’s De­vel­op­ment Foun­da­tion.

Ten­cent Foun­da­tion, es­tab­lished in 2007, re­newed its trans­parency pol­icy ear­lier this year, re­quir­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions on its plat­form to pub­lish the amount of funds raised, the ex­penses, and the plan of the tar­get project. Those who meet the re­quire­ments are ap­proved to par­tic­i­pate in its an­nual char­ity cam­paign in Septem­ber.

“The ex­po­sure of com­plete and true in­for­ma­tion guar­an­tees that par­tic­i­pants have a good record, which earns pub­lic trust and also en­ables peo­ple to se­lect bet­ter projects and helps them ac­com­plish their goals,” said Chen Yi­dan, Ten­cent Foun­da­tion founder.

Liu Qiang, founder of an NGO in Nan­jing, sees the pos­i­tive side. “Although the amount of money I raised through Ten­cent Foun­da­tion’s cam­paign is small, I’m still ex­cited be­cause com­mu­nity-level or­ga­ni­za­tions need to de­pend on gi­ant plat­forms to at­tract more par­tic­i­pa­tion,” Liu said.

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