LIN Center for Community Development

LIN's mission is to provide support services to local NPOs, skilled volunteers and donors who are committed to building strong communities. The LIN Center for Community Development serves grassroots not-for-profit organizations (NPOs) and individual and corporate philanthropists located in and around Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. By helping local people to meet local needs, LIN aims to promote a healthy environment for philanthropy in Vietnam and strengthen the communities in which we live and work.
Mar 18, 2016

Results - Community Partnership Initiative 2015

With over 187 nonprofit partners in and near Ho Chi Minh City, many are seeking assistance and support to build their capacity in different areas (e.g., communications, fundraising, strategic planning and financial management). By 2013, LIN began an annual survey of our NPO partners, which allows us to observe trends and identify gaps in capacity. One area where a capacity gap became apparent, both through the analysis of 2014 survey report as well as feedback from participants in the Community Partnership Initiative 2014, was human resources management in nonprofits. 

The Community Partnership Initiative 2015 (CPI 2015) focused on addressing the HR management challenges of 10 nonprofit organizations.  Each nonprofit was matched with a company team or a team of 3 to 4 skilled professionals.  Throughout the CPI 2015 program, which started in May 2015 and lasted until November, the LIN team checked-in with participating nonprofits and their respective corporate/volunteer teams. We collected weekly reports from Partners, to track and assess progress towards the milestones and overall objectives.

After the conclusion ceremony and recognition event, the LIN team sent out a feedback form to all program participants, Among the 10 nonprofits that started CPI in May, nine made it to the end of the program, eight responded to LIN’s survey with the following feedback: 

  • 100% said they were pleased with the program and deliverables and
  • 70% said the corporate/volunteer teams considerably improved human resources management in their nonprofit!

When asked what the nonprofit liked most about CPI 2015, the representative of Thien Tam Huong Vocational Training Center for People with Disabilities shared the following: “The professionalism and commitment of the company in terms of: - action planning – plan implementation – skills exchange – objective feedback and expertise!”

LIN also carried out 1-1 meetings with more than half of the participating nonprofits and nine of the corporate volunteers in order to collect more detailed feedback on the program and areas for improvement.  

Summary Results:

  • CPI 2015 attracted a total of 61 skilled volunteers who played the roles of mentors, trainers and/or advisors to the 9 nonprofit organizations, contributing well over 1,600 volunteer hours.
  • Upon completion of the program, 90% of participant NPOs have a written action plan for their Human Resources management, detailing the vision and activities for the next few years.
  • 50% NPOs defined their organizational structure and developed tasks for function departments.
  • All of the NPOs now have job descriptions documented for every existing post in the organization.
  • 50% of the NPOs completed their recruitment system and process with training and induction included. They now have specific objectives and criteria for recruitment, with an emphasis on the organizations' core values.
  • 30% of the NPOs now have a management of productivity system built and documented.
  • Upon completion of the program, four HR pro bono teams decided to continue their partnership with their NPO partners for 2016.

Nonprofit Testimonial:

 “Huong is a wonderful expert both in terms of skills and commitment, she is so much determined and diligent in advising Change. After the mentoring, the most amazing thing left in me was not about having detailed guidelines but how to think, the way  to work, the way to analyse in order to find out the ultimate root of a problem and thus having a suitable solution in that certain situation.

I am so much grateful to Huong, Nhung and Operation Smiles in Hanoi for creating much great environment for me to learn. I am thankful to Thao for her connection, encouragement as well as valuable sharing of administration experience.

I am thankful to Phuc and LIN for this amazing matching program. I hope that NGOs like CHANGE will have more opportunities to join such meaningful program”

-Ms. Ngoc Huynh, Operation Manager – CHANGE

http://vietnamcauses.org/npo/index/center-of-hands-on-actions-and-networking-for-growth-and-environment-change

Links:

Mar 4, 2016

Interrim Update from ECO-Vietnam Group

HPDE Biogas System Installation
HPDE Biogas System Installation

We recently received a project update from ECO Vietnam Group, the team behind the project “For our Environment," which received a grant of VND 150,000,000 (about USD $7,500) from Narrow the Gap Community Fund late last year thanks to your support... 

The project installed 2 biogas systems for people in Ben Tre Province and completed draft communication materials (video clip and documents) on how to use the system.

The project unfortunately did not receive promised support from the local authority (as initially plan) to help with providing orientation and encourage local people to use the new biogas system. ECO-Vietnam Group reported that there was a big change in the management personnel of the local authority who preferred traditional materials and was not ready to accept the use of HPDE. As a result, the local people were not enthusiastic to use the new biogas systems and unwilling to co-finance 30% of the value of the system. As a result of this situation, ECO Vietnam Group would like to request to change the project location.

ECO Vietnam Group has experience carrying out several projects and a preliminary need assessment in Long Duc, Phong Phu and Hoa An Communes in the Cau Ke District of Tra Vinh Province. The local authorities in Cau Ke District were supportive, open and willing to help conduct training on how to use the system for the local people. ECO Vietnam Group therefore proposed to transfer the remaining activities of their project over to Tra Vinh Province. The proposal was reviewed and approved by two thirds of the members of the Narrow the Gap Grant Allocation Committee. ECO-Vietnam Group proposed to conduct a deeper needs assessment of the target beneficiaries and sign a written collaboration agreement with the local authority prior to further actions.

ECO-Vietnam Group intends to send updates on the needs assessment to LIN so we can share with everyone that contributed to the Narrow the Gap campaign for the Environment.

Stay tuned for more updates from ECO Vietnam Group!

***

Du án “Vì Môi Truong” (http://bit.ly/1Q39sMQ) cua ECO Vietnam Group (EVG) (uoc tài tro 150,000,000 VN): Du án ã lap at 2 túi biogas cho nguoi dân o Ben Tre, hoàn thành ban nháp các an pham truyen thông tuyên truyen ve cách su dung he thong bang video clip và van ban.

Tuy nhiên, du án cho biet không nhan uoc su ung ho cua chính quyen ia phuong (nhu ke hoach ban au) trong viec ho tro các khóa tap huan gioi thieu cách su dung he thong biogas cho nguoi dân. EVG cho biet có su thay oi lon ve mat nhân su trong thành phan quan lý cua chính quyen ia phuong, nhung nhân su moi này không nhìn nhan nhung uu iem cua vat lieu HPDE mà van muon su dung vat lieu truyen thong. Do ó, nguoi dân noi ây không man mà en túi biogas và khien cho ke hoach moi nguoi dân se óng góp 30% tien cua túi không dien ra úng.

Voi tình hình không uoc ung ho tu chính quyen và dan theo là các ho dân, EVG buoc phai chuyen ia bàn du án. EVG có kinh nghiem thuc hien du án và ã tien hành tien tram khao sát nhu cau tai xã Long uc, Phong Phú, Hòa Ân, - huyen Cau Kè - tinh Trà Vinh. Ket qua so bo cho thay chính quyen ia phuong noi ây het lòng ho tro và san sàng ong hành voi du án tuyên truyen cho bà con. EVG do ó ã e xuat chuyen ia iem thuc hien du án sang Trà Vinh và uoc 2/3 ban giám khao cong ong chap thuan. Hien nay ho ang thuc hien ánh giá nhu cau cua oi tuong thu huong tiem nang và chuan bi ký ket thoa thuan hop tác voi chính quyen ia phuong. EVG se cap nhat voi LIN ve ket qua cua nhung ánh giá này.

HPDE Biogas System
HPDE Biogas System

Links:

Jan 29, 2016

Guidelines for Ethics in Fundraising in Vietnam

Panel Members
Panel Members

On January 12th, at Hoa Sen University, the LIN Center helped to organize and facilitate the workshop, "Successful Fundraising - Working toward International Ethical Standards".  The workshop was organized, in part, to share and solicit input from representatives of the nonprofit sector in Ho Chi Minh City on the first draft of a code of conduct for fundraising professionals in Vietnam.

The draft was prepared by a volunteer consortium of fundraising profesionals, representing both local and international nonprofit organizations in Vietnam, who came together in 2015 for the purpose of adapting the International Statement of Ethical Principles in Fundraising (http://www.afpnet.org/Ethics/IntlArticleDetail.cfm?ItemNumber=3681) to the context and needs of nonprofits in Vietnam. The purpose of developing a "Statement of Ethical Principles in Fundraising in Vietnam" was to unify the fundraising community in Vietnam - those who are dedicated to accountability, transparency and effectiveness - behind a single universal declaration of fundamental principles. It was also designed to foster public trust in the nonprofit sector while discouraging personal gain at the expense of donors and stakeholders.

During the half-day workshop, three members of the consortium joined a panel to discuss their experiences with fundraising: LIN's Founder and Strategic Advisor - Mrs. Dana R.H. Doan, the Director of Saigon Children's Charity - Mr. Tim Mullett and the Director of ICS Center - Mr. Tran Khac Tung. The panel was moderated by a fourth member of the consortium, Ms. Nguyen Phuong Anh who is a freelance consultant and local fundraising expert.  

The workshop began with a question from the moderator to all three panelists: "How did your organization build relationships with donors?". Equality, openness and proactive sharing of information was the common position of representatives from the three organizations on the panel.  Mr. Tim Mullett, said that SCC built relationships based on common interests between SCC and its donors. "It is important to understand," he explained, "the needs of our partners." He went on to explain some differences between individual donors and corporate donors, such as the common practice of individuals to give based on emotion, while companies would likely base their decision on information. "In addition," Tim added, "the current trend of businesses is to request opportunities for their employees to participate in activities of the project they are funding."

Mr. Tran Khac Tung, Director of ICS Centre similary shared that he looks for a mutual benefit when considering a partnership with a donor. ICS donors are invited to join their events and activities and visit the office to understand each other better. By understanding the needs of the business, and vice-a-versa, nonprofits are better able to build appropriate relationships.

Ms. Dana Doan, shared LIN's experience raising funds when the organization was just getting started and unknown in the community.  "Since we did not have a track record, we had to establish our credibility. One way we would do that was to prepare and present a thoughtful and comprehensive project proposal, including a clear and detaild budget that was reasonable and directly related to the proposed activities. A logical proposal and clear budget helps to build confidence in a donor that your organization knows what it is doing and has the capacity to get it done."

Workshop participants were interested to learn strategies for retaining donors. On this question, Ms. Doan shared that donor retention requires effective communications and database management. After more than five years in operation, LIN recently transitioned from an Excel database to a cloud based CRM system.  Dana explained, "As LIN increased its number of donors, we began to have difficulty keeping in contact with each of our donors.  It was at that point that we recognized the need to develop a more robust database management system."  With support from a skilled volunteer, LIN was able to move its donor data to a CRM (client relationship managment) system, which helps small organizations better manage information and recognize donors in a more timely and effective manner. CRM systems can also sync with email marketing platforms to enhance communications.

Tim Mullet added the experience of SCC: "NPOs should not reply soley on email or social networking channels to communicate with donors. Rather, there needs to be a more personal approach."  Tim explained that there are many reasons why a person might ignore or miss an mail. Whereas, he added, "a telephone call or meeting can help the organization maintain contact and better understand a donor's needs."

On keeping in touch with donors, Mr. Tran Khac Tung said that ICS team strives to answer all donor inquiries within 24 hours. That direct and prompt contact with donors keeps ICS actively updated on the needs and interests of donors while keeping donors actively updated on what ICS has done. This type of relationship also helps ICS to stay on top of all viable funding opportunities that comes their way.

In response to Ms. Phuong Anh's question, "How do NPOs build transparency in fundraising activities?". Mr. Tran Khac Tung acknowledging the importance of transparency in building the confidence of current and potential external partners, said that a regular flow of information between donors and NPOs and among employees within the organization is important. Good information flow, he explained, "helps build strength and credibility to the organization."

For SCC, Mr. Tim Mullet talked about the importance of maintaining a transparent budget. Similar to ICS, SCC is open to all inquiries from donors during project implementation. He also recommended the establishment of a Board of Trustees, consisting of advisors who help ensure that the organization implements policies of transparency in their operations.

In reflecting upon LIN's own experience, Ms. Dana Doan shared that "not everyone has the experience or natural instinct to know what is the right thing or what is the wrong thing to do when it comes to building relationships with current and prospective partners." For this reason, prior to legal establishment, LIN developed an internal code of conduct with policies relating to procurement and gift acceptance, including gifts in kind. The LIN team appreciated having that guidance written, in black and white.  "In addition," she added, "our sponsors and partners seem to appreciate the fact that we engage an external organization to conduct an audit of our annual financial statements." Such reports should always be made publicly available, for example on the website of your organization, she recommended.

After the panel sharing, the panelists joined participants to review and discuss the draft "Statement of Ethical Principles in Fundraising in Vietnam".  Five groups discussed different sections of the code and reproted back their questions, concerns and recommendations for improvement. One of the recommendations made was to establish a working group or network of fundraising professionals in HCMC.

Over the next month, the consortium plans to edit the draft Statement, incorporating the comments and suggestions that were shared during the workshop and then send the statement to other stakeholders (e.g., auditors, government, donors) for a final round of review and inputs. We hope to finalize the statement before the end of June 2016 for broad dissemination.

Participants at the Workshop on 12 Jan2015
Participants at the Workshop on 12 Jan2015
Q&A with Workshop Participants
Q&A with Workshop Participants

Links:

 
   

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