New Year Lights Campaign:Build Home 4 Vietnam NPOs

Aug 29, 2014

How NPOs can solve problems using Action Learning

HSBC Nhan Ai

HSBC Volunteers meet with Nhan Ai Volunteer Group (NPO) & Rio Group (Skilled Volunteers)

As part of LIN's Community Partnership Initiative 2014 (CPI 2014), which is designed to enhance NPO's financial sustainability, HSBC bank in Vietnam organized fove Action Learning training sessions for five NPOs on the 14th, 21st, and 28th of June.

The sessions' agenda focused on solving current obstacles through the Action Learning Method, by channeling the participants' knowledge and experiences into the most effective solution for complicated problems. The "father" of this method, Professor Reginald Revans, explained that Action Learning is asking the appropriate questions at the right moment and coming to action.

With their respective training experience in HSBC Vietnam, Mr. Nguyen Viet Anh and Mr. Nguyen Lan alternatively acted as "Coach", and applied the Action Learning method in every meeting. In each session, the NPO played the role of the "Problem Presenter", while eight other members, including HSBC staff and each of the NPO's skilled volunteers, played the role of the "Questioners". There were also observers from other NPOs. Consistent with the Learning by Doing approach, the rule to "only ask; or only answer the previous question" was strictly followed. Solutions to problems of NPOs appeared after each 3-hour meeting, and many paths created to building a better future for the organizations.

HSBC Nhan Ai 2

After using the Action Learning, Mrs. Hong To Hue Lan, head of Ceporer Hoc Mon, said "I have gained insight into some of the practical ways to develop the organization; from writing down all processes and strategies as a social entrepreneur, to recruiting outstanding personnel for administration, and to researching the building path for the social enterprise via Internet and erudite professionals."

Mrs. Le Thi Thu Thuy, director of Thao Dan Child Center, another NPO that joined the Action Learning, can define precisely the essence of their drawbacks. She said, "I believe our financial problem originates from the lack of professionalism in administration. After this training, I will reconstruct the human resource department, standardize evaluation and head towards investing into a business project in the near future."

Meanwhile, volunteers believe that the method is a new problem-solving approach, but the 3-hour-or-more meeting reduces concentration. There are some elements to this method that are far from practice and is a gap that needs closing through positive thinking and a "change-daring" spirit. However, its impacts are undeniably effective. From the participants' contribution, NPOs can start removing current barriers and start witnessing the upcoming changes towards a better direction.


May 28, 2014

LIN Hosts Several Peer Sharing Meetings for NPOs & Launches New Website

Checking out NPO Brochure @ LIN Community Center
Checking out NPO Brochure @ LIN Community Center
NPO Morning Coffee

On the 23rd of April 2014, LIN shared a coffee with 15 representatives of nonprofit organizations to talk about "Governance", a fairly new topic in the development of Vietnamese nonprofit organizations. Ms. Elizabeth Pham, Director of Consulting at LIN started the event by introducing the concept. After the brief introduction, each member shared the different ways they think about and apply governance to their own organizations.

It became clear that local nonprofits organizations remain challenged by the establishment and management of a true governing Board/Council. Many organizations do not yet see the importance of having a governing board or how it can help to direct the mission and strategy of their organization.

"After this meeting, we understand more about the practical experience as well as current governance practices of our nonprofit partners," noted Mr. Son Pham, LIN's Deputy Director.  He added, "LIN is about to introduce our next Toolkit, which focuses on Governance and Law for small nonprofits which should help these organizations better understand the importance of governance and how to apply it to their organizations."

NPO Leadership Circle

On the 25th of April 2014, 15 nonprofit organizational leaders took part in a sharing session on the subject "How to work with difficult staff" presented by Mrs. Hông Vân Nguyên, Associate Director of Nam Viêt Thuan Company.

Mrs. Hông Vân used the theory of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) to explain relationships within a organization, which highlights the importance of understanding differences in individuals. One of our NPO leaders decided to play the role of the non-cooperative participant. Although LIN and the speaker were not made aware of this individual's plan, Mrs. Hông Vân managed the situation well and provided a good example of how to react in such a situation. "It was an interesting sharing session; it fully enlightened me of new knowledge and perspective," said Mr. Hung Trân, Tinh Than Programe. He added, "I think LIN should invite Mrs. Hông Vân to possibly make a training session related to NLP one day so that participants can be educated on this theory. The sharing session helped me understand the role of the leader in an organization."


NPOs in Hanoi and HCMC meet to discuss the Law on Associations and the Law on Access to Information

On 9 May, the LIN Community Center made it possible for five HCMC based nonprofits to join, via teleconference, the People's Participation Working Group Meeting (in Hanoi), which was organized to assemble nonprofit organizations and individuals interested to learn about how they can contribute to an upcoming National Assembly review of the Law on Associations and the Law on the Access to Information.

At the end of the seminar, two working groups were established, one to focus on each law. Both groups confirmed that the key goal of this process is to mobilize people's input on the draft revisions revisions to both laws and ensure that this input is included in the legislative program from 2015 to 2016. NPOs from HCMC agreed to support the working group that is focusing on the Law on Associations.  The seminar formed the foundation for an open forum for individuals and organizations that are interested in the two laws to provide their input.


Introducing the new and improved LIN website 

After one year, long hours, late nights, brainstorms, debates and discussions, we are thrilled to announce the launch of a new and improved version of the LIN website.

When you visit the new website, we hope you may take a few minutes to complete our new website survey to share your feedback, positive and/or constructive. Change is not always easy, particularly for LIN's friends and partners who used the old LIN website. So, please do not hesitate to let us know if you cannot find something or if you think we should add something to the new site. It is our goal for the website to be as user friendly and informative as possible. We hope you like it!

HCMC NPOs Join the PPWG Mtg via Skype
HCMC NPOs Join the PPWG Mtg via Skype
LIN's New Website


Feb 10, 2014

Happy Lunar New Year and LIN's Annual Report 2013

Lunar New Year Greeting
Lunar New Year Greeting

Thank you for helping to build a stronger community in and around Ho Chi Minh City!

With your support and encouragement, the LIN Center for Community Development was able to exceed our targets for 2013. Here are some of the highlights from 2013:

  • - Launched in Q4, this website details 70+ nonprofits, searchable by name, cause & location (and we are working to get all of the nonprofit pages translated into English by the end of this month)
  • Over 225 local nonprofit staff received pro bono support services from LIN and those services indirectly benefited over 96,000 people in Vietnam.
  • 17 Nonprofits joined LIN, for a new total of 121 NPO Partners.
  • 293 volunteers were engaged by LIN (94 Skilled Volunteers served 50 NPOs directly, 31 Skilled Volunteers were Trainers/Speakers and 168 Volunteers supported LIN programs) contributing over 10,577 volunteer hours, valued at over USD $240,000.
  • LIN Community Center hosted 4 developing nonprofit organizations in our Incubator.
  • 16 workshops helped to build the capacity of local nonprofit staff.
  • Narrow the Gap Community Fund received USD $26,666 and disbursed 11 grants valued at USD $24,380.
  • 7 "Do-It-Yourself" toolkits to guide start-up and developing nonprofits in operational best practices. (Click here to download a toolkit in Vietnamese)
  • 700 customers came to at least one of 12 SecondChanceStore events generating over USD 3,600 in donations to LIN activities.
  • 423 donors to LIN (including cash and in-kind).
  • 98% of NPO partners reported that LIN's services resulted in positive organizational impact!

Read more about our achievements by downloading LIN's 2013 Annual Report (click here to download).

Our success in 2013 was only possible because of your support during the New Year Lights Campaign, which took place at this same time last year. I hope that you will be proud of what we accomplished with your help.  If you have any suggestions for improvement, we would love to hear from you!

May the year of the horse give us all the humility to see the world as it is, and the audacity to imagine the world as it should be.  The LIN team wishes you all peace, love and kindess in 2014.


Note: We are thrilled to announce that Ernst & Young Vietnam agreed to provide a pro bono audit of LIN's 2013 financial statements. E&Y's audit of our 2012 financial statements is already posted on the LIN website (click here). E&Y will begin working on our 2013 audit this April and hope to have the report back to us by late May.  


Nov 7, 2013

NPO Incubator at LIN Community Center

The Deaf Community of HCMC borrows space at LIN
The Deaf Community of HCMC borrows space at LIN

Shortly after launching opening LIN's Community Center, LIN decided to convert the extra office space into desks for local NPOs who do not have an office and cannot afford one. That idea then stimulated a discussion on what other kind of start-up support LIN could provide to early stage NPOs. These discussions resulted in the first NPO Incubator program in Vietnam.

LIN's NPO Incubator services seeks to strengthen the capacity of Vietnamese NPOs, which would help to improve their performance, accountability, reputation and acceptance in the broader development community. By supporting start-up and developing charitable and community development organizations, we believe LIN can make apositive impact in our community.  The current benefits to NPOs that participate in the Incubator program include:

1 . Office space for 4 NPOs (desk, chair, computer, WIFI, electricity, stationary, water, access to printer/scanner, etc)
2 . Networking opportunities with LIN team and other NPOs in the program
3 . Management assistance from the LIN team
4 . Technical assistance via LIN's ongoing organizational development training services (workshops, peer exchanges and one-one-one consultations)
5 . Access to LIN's meeting and conference rooms

Athough the service was not officially announced until October 2013, LIN already has two NPOs participating in the Incubator program: ECO-Vietnam Group and VietSeed Foundation.  We are excited to welcome the

LIN's training room prepares for 50 guests


Aug 8, 2013

LIN Community Center Update 2013

LIN's Narrow the Gap Photo Contest on Facebook
Dear Friends and Supporters of LIN!

We have a lot of exciting news to share with you! 
Since our last update, LIN received two grants - one from a team of philanthropists in HCMC called the Charity Cabaret Committee and the second from the US Consulate General - which will help to:
  • Equip the LIN Community Center with computers, routers, telecommunications and Internet connection
  • Provide in-depth, one-on-one consultations to our partner not-for-profit organizations (NPOs)
  • Launch a leadership roundtable and a series of much needed workshops for local NPO managers
  • Organize LIN's traditional Narrow the Gap community event on September 15
We also rolled out refreshed versions of two of LIN's traditional programs. 
  • First is Community Partnership Initiative, a program that matches local NPOs with marketing and PR experts to help the NPOs create professional communication materials such as websites, videos, and brochures. With these materials in hand, the NPOs can better tell their stories to the community and attract more donors and volunteers to support their cause.  You can read more about CPI here:
  • Second is the Narrow the Gap Fund, LIN's traditional Community Fund that this year focuses on helping NPOs working with disadvantaged children in HCMC. The idea of the community fund is to bring together concerned individuals and businesses in the community to solve the city's most urgent social problems. Everyone is invited to contribute to the Fund and later to help us decide how the Fund will be spent by voting for their favorite projects online or at NTG Community Event on September 15. To learn more and to support the NTG Fund, follow this link: 
Thank you once again for your support and belief in our vision to build a strong community together!


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Project Leader

Dana Doan

Ho Chi Minh City, N/A Vietnam

Where is this project located?

Map of New Year Lights Campaign:Build Home 4 Vietnam NPOs