Skilled Volunteers Help Empower Vietnam Nonprofits


On 4 December 2012, the LIN Center for Community Development organized, “I Volunteer: The People Who Made A Difference” to recognize all skilled volunteers who contributed their skill sets to support local NPOs and to highlight the impact they made in the community in 2012.

Over 70 people attended the event, including representatives from local NPOs and skilled volunteers. Many new volunteers came to learn about the concept of skilled volunteerism and how they could contribute their skills set to help NPOs grow.

The program had four parts:

  1. Presentation by LIN's Volunteer Coordinator on “Working with skilled volunteers”, which provided an overview of skilled volunteerism and its benefits to the NPOs.
  2. Panel Discussion “Skilled Volunteers Help NPOs Grow”, with the participation of two pairs of NPOs and their Skilled Volunteers, which offered deep insight into the process of cooperation from different perspectives. 
  3. Speed Volunteer Matching during the break helped to attract potential volunteers to 7 NPOs who were in need of skilled
  4. Volunteer Appreciation Ceremony to highlight and thank the Volunteers that contributed to LIN and/or to one of our partners throughout 2012.

Highlights of LIN Volunteer Services in 2012:

  • 28 individual Skilled Volunteers matched to 9 NPO partners. The volunteers helped the NPOs with website design, marketing and communications strategy, translation,fundraising, and accounting enabling the NPOs provide better services to more people in need
  • 22 professionals presented at LIN’s workshops/events for NPOs pro-bono
  • 4 corporate teams of volunteers participated in LIN Corporate Volunteer Challenge to train 5 NPOs on ways to design better marketing materials and thus be able to gain new support and expand their programs
  • 3 networking events for Skilled Volunteers that helped volunteers exchange advice and experience and spread further the concept of skilled volunteering

Snapshots of the Award Ceremony on 07 Sep 2012
Snapshots of the Award Ceremony on 07 Sep 2012

LIN Corporate Volunteer Challenge 2012*, a competition held by the LIN Center, ended on 7 September, when the participating teams—having worked hard for two months on their projects—were present at the Award Ceremony and received the prizes they deserved.

The Ceremony started with a short video clip (click here to watch) which summarized what’d happened over the course of two months under this competition. The organizations involved said they’d gained invaluable experience in communications working with the volunteer companies, and all believed they would win.

One week prior to this, the participating teams had submitted their communications products and strategies, which were judged by a committee of experts. At the Award Ceremony, representatives from five organizations were asked to respond to a final challenge, that is, presenting their project outputs to the audience and judges. The judging committee, comprised of Ms. Pham Thanh Thuy Vy—Marketing Lecturer of the HCMC University of Economics, Ms. Phan Cam Ly—Communications Director of Nokia in Indochina and the Philippines, and Mr. Lai Tien Manh—Deputy Director of T&A Ogilvy, made comments and gave their opinions after each presentation. They then deliberated among themselves and decided on the prizes.

All members of the judging committee agreed that the communications product and strategy by Brand Maker-Ceporer Hoc Mon were highly comprehensive and thus deserved the first prize. The second prize went to Co May Man-Hoa Hong Nho Shelter, as the presentation by Ms. Thien, who represented the Shelter, showed to be detailed and clear. Matterhorn Communications-Thao Dan Child Center arrived as the third-prize winner.

After the event, Ms. Nguyen Tran Hoang Anh—Communications Director of Brand Maker, said, “I’d like to firstly congratulate Ceporer Hoc Mon, and secondly thank the LIN Center for organizing such a meaningful competition, which gave different enterprises the opportunity not only to understand the NPO and NGO communities of Vietnam, but also to make a positive contribution to these organizations.”

To Ms. Hong To Hue Lan, Director of Ceporer Hoc Mon, the most important prize her organization received was a deep connection with Brand Maker. “I’m very happy our organization won the top prize,” she said. “However, even if we didn’t have any prize, the appreciative relationship between Brand Maker and us would still be there standing as a promise that we would be frequently in touch with each other. Under this competition, we did try our best. Up until this morning, we were still meeting to perfect the presentation for today’s Ceremony.”

Ceporer Hoc Mon, as the first-prize winner, was awarded ViiVue’s service package worth VND 40,000,000, which would be used for website development and brand building. Hoa Hong Nho Shelter, which reached the second place, was presented with a VND 15,000,000 service package by Emerald Digital Marketing. Lastly, Thao Dan Child Center received a voucher for printing services worth VND 5,000,000.

The LIN Center would like to congratulate the wining teams. It also wanted to express the greatest gratitude to Brand Maker, Co May Man, Matterhorn Communications and Lowe Vietnam for sharing their time and expertise with the participating organizations during the past two months. Regardless of the results they got, every team was a winner because of the community spirit they showed.

For more photos, please click here.

* LIN Corporate Volunteer Challenge 2012 is an initiative of LIN Center to match advertising companies to local NPOs in Ho Chi Minh City in order to help them improve their communications skills. From June to August, five teams competed with each other to produce the best communication product and strategy for the NPOs. A judge panel will select the teams who present the most effective outcome. Three winning NPOs will be awarded with communication prizes (including website development, digital marketing, printing voucher) which in turn will help the them in their fundraising effort; raising public awareness and support for their cause.

The Challenge is made possible thanks to financial support from The Asia Foundation and in-kind contributions from TBWA Vietnam, Viivue and Event Channel.


LIN Volunteer Stories Book
LIN Volunteer Stories Book

Dear LIN Friends,

In this updates, you will find news about our recent activities, as well as upcoming exciting projects.

LIN Skilled volunteer meeting – May 2012

On May 27, LIN Center held a meeting with the participation of 10 skilled volunteers at the main office of Huynh Tan Phat Scholarship Foundation, 11 Le Ngo Cat, District 3, HCMC. The topic of the meeting was “Meet the International Volunteers”.

In a friendly and open atmosphere, the volunteers shared with each other ways to look for volunteer opportunities and different models used in the U.S., France, Russia, Hong Kong and Vietnam to promote volunteerism among the youth. The participants also discussed the benefits and challenges of volunteering in Vietnam and in those countries.

This is an event that LIN organizes once every three months for skilled volunteers in Ho Chi Minh City.

LIN Volunteer Stories Book - Vol.2: The power of sharing

LIN Center is glad to announce the publication of Volunteer Stories (Volume 2): The Power of Sharing. The book is printed in both Vietnamese and English with lively illustrations by Do Quang Vu, LIN skilled volunteer. The 13 stories in the book were selected from 90 submissions for Volunteer Stories competition organized by LIN Center in September 2011.

We would like to express our deepest gratitude to all the sponsors of Volunteer Stories competition 2011, whose support is a strong motivation for us to get this book done: Judith Carey Zesiger Family Foundation, UNV Vietnam, SRI Vietnam, Emerald Digital Marketing, MobiVi, Megastar and The Word Magazine. The book, of course, wouldn’t exist without the contribution of the individuals and organizations who shared their heartfelt volunteer stories, pictures and videos with us. And last but not least, we owe many thanks to our volunteers who selflessly helped us with the translation, edition, revision and design of the book.

“The publication is well-designed and makes up of high-quality and moving stories. I particularly think that the best part is the bilingual presentation, thanks to which foreigners can read the book as well. Thank LIN very much and wish that LIN’s upcoming events will be successful!”

Huong Trang – a volunteer who submitted her story for the competition.

Launching: LIN Corporate Volunteer Challenge 2012

LIN Corporate Volunteer Challenge will officially start on June 23, 2012. LIN will invite interested companies and NPOs who signed up for the challenge to come to a meeting, organized along the same lines as a speed dating event. LIN will give a presentation to provide context and orientation, explain the challenge guidelines and then facilitate the speed matching process.

Each company will then be matched with one NPO to help mentor communication skills, produce a communication product that can meet the NPOs needs and help the NPO to develop an effective communication strategy.

Over the course of two months, the teams (each team with one company and one NPO) will compete with each other to deliver the best communication product and strategy. A judge panel will deliberate to select the team who presents the most effective outcome. The winning team will be awarded with prizes including communication services (eg. Website, digital marketing, printing voucher, etc.) which in turn will assist the NPO in expanding their fundraising network; raise public awareness and support for their cause.

“Few local NPOs in HCMC have in-house communication system, let alone communication staff. It is our belief that they would benefit from a partnership with a communication expert(s) who could help them to improve their skills and knowledge,” said Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Truc, Project Manager at LIN Center. “At the same time, this competition offers a great opportunity for the communication companies and their employees to do good and give back to the community in a meaningful way.”

LIN Corporate Volunteer Challenge 2012 seeks to increase the dialogue and interaction between the for-profit and non-profit sectors that are all working to strengthen the communities in which they live and work. The goal is to inform and inspire individuals and companies to think meaningfully about vulnerable groups in their community and how they can engage to make a positive impact. 

For more information about the Challenge, please click here.


Thank you so much for reading. We welcome all contributions, suggestions, or questions regarding our Volunteer activities. Please don’t hesitate to leave your comments here or contact us at: Your continuing support will enable us to carry out more helpful projects for Skilled Volunteers to help empower Vietnam not-for-profit organizations.     


Truc Nguyen

LIN Volunteer Coordinator


Jacqueline Lee is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout Southeast Asia. Her “Postcard” from the visit in Vietnam:

Friday, March 31, I visited the center of all of LIN's impact work. After my arrival to Ho Chi Minh City, my first project site visit was LIN Center for Community Development. I was greeted immediately upon arrival by LIN founder, Dana, and her volunteer coordinator and office manager, Truc. 

Dana and Truc shared with me LIN's successes, current projects, goals, and challenges. There were 3 main projects we spoke about: (1)Matching skilled volunteers to local grassroot non-profits, (2) Capacity building for the organizations, (3) and philanthropy advising service for donors. LIN's programs are providing a service that did not exist and filling a gap that was needed to support and connect local non-profits. LIN's programs were also helpng create strategic thinking to the idea of giving and philanthropy that is newly developing in Vietnam.

As for long-term planning, LIN shared they just had a team come in to help create a new 5-year plan to reach their goal of becoming the resource center for non-profts and private sector on philanthropy. For measuring and evaluating, Truc explained LN's monthly evaluation provided to volunteers and non profits for feedback on LIN's work. They are also collecting impact stories to share volunteer experiences.

After, I toured the office and met the rest of the staff - head of capacity biliding, head of donor management, and the accountant. What I did not know was that their clean, welcoming and professional office space was provided by a local restaurant which reduced many costs. LIN Center for Community Development is meeting the needs of the community by providing a service that did not exist and creating a bridge to bring valuable resources to local non-profits doing impact work for the people and society of Vietnam.

Dear LIN Friends,

As we enter the fresh first days of the Year of the Dragon (the Vietnamese have just got back to work this week after a long celebration), we would like to wish you a year full of great opportunities and dynamic activities to help the community. Thank you for your support to our Volunteer Programs in the past year.

And what is better way to welcome a new year than looking back on what we have achieved and setting new goals for the next 12 months? In this report, we are happy to post some highlights from our annual report of the Volunteer Service in the year 2011, and our programs for the year 2012.

A. Highlight of Volunteer Activities in 2011

1.      Support to Skilled Volunteers: 2 meetings

2.      Survey: 2 surveys

  • Skilled volunteer survey

- Objective: To identify challenges skilled volunteers face while providing assistance to Not-for-profit organizations (NPOs) and strategies to overcome such difficulties.

- Findings: Through this survey, we found that volunteers face similar challenges and there are opportunities to address and/or prevent those challenges. Balancing work, personal and volunteer responsibilities was a concern for over a quarter of skilled volunteers. Lack of clear instructions and/or defined volunteer roles and responsibilities was a challenge for 11% of survey respondents.

To solve the challenges that volunteers faced, 50% of the survey respondents said that they would talk directly with the organization. Others found support in sharing their experiences with another volunteer(s).

  • NPO Need for Skilled Volunteers Survey

- Objective:

  • Understand the extent to which our NPO partners are aware of the “skilled volunteers” concept.
  • Find out the readiness of NPO partners for skilled volunteers;
  • Assess the demand of NPOs for skilled volunteers; and
  • Find out how LIN can bridge the demand and supply

- Findings:

  • Only 48% NPOs fully understands the role of a skilled volunteer.
  •  2/3 of NPOs are ready to work with skilled volunteers.
  •  Most NPOs listed executive and/or practical skills as necessary from a skilled volunteer, instead of leadership or managerial-level skills.
  •  How to get skilled volunteers to be a part of the organization and

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Project Leader

Dana Doan

Ho Chi Minh City, NA Vietnam

Where is this project located?

Map of Skilled Volunteers Help Empower Vietnam Nonprofits