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.
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
LIN's New Website

Links:

Mar 31, 2014

The "Annual report" volunteer

Le Thuy Linh
Le Thuy Linh

For the past three years, LIN engaged skilled volunteers to help draft our annual report. In addition to supporting our team with an essential task, having an outsider's perspective on our work has proven to be invaluable to LIN for two reasons. Firstly, we are learning how to better explain our work to key stakeholders. The second benefit is to have an unbiased person supporting the process of reflection and evaluation of our work and our outcomes. This past year, we were fortunate to meet Ms. Le Thuy Linh whose professional experience and personal interests suggested a perfect fit for the task of writing up LIN's 2013 annual report.

In this interview, Linh shares her tips to create an annual report that is both professional and eye-catching.

How did you get to help LIN write its Annual Report?

Linh: I had known about LIN for a while before I registered to volunteer for this organization. During a discussion with Ms. Dana Doan, my supervisor at LIN, I was asked if I could help to write the LIN 2013 Annual Report. I thought this would offer the best opportunity to gain an overall understanding about an organization, since I would have the opportunity to talk to not only LIN staff but also its beneficiaries and partners. Because my background was in market research, I was particularly interested in this project which would enable me to apply my analysis and presentation skills.

How long did it take for you to complete the report? What did you have to do?

Linh: The first step was to compile all data into an internal report, followed by drafting the content  for the official report. The entire LIN team especially Ms. Dana Doan, contributed to the content through discussions and interviews. Since the target was a short report that delivers the most essential information about LIN, I spent quite a lot of time to select data and plan the draft.

However, it was the presentation of the report that was most time-consuming. I am very critical when it comes to presentation. I am not skilled in graphic designing, therefore, I tried to read many annual reports by other organizations to learn from their layout and design. I spent quite a lot of time going back and forth with different layouts and designs, as well as selecting photos from LIN’s database and editing them in Instagram. My boyfriend is a designer so he also volunteered to help me with the design. I spent a total of one month on the report.

In your opinion, how important is the annual report for an NPO?

Linh: The Annual Report is a tool to share information about the organization and its activities and achievements. It is an effective way to archive data and helps the staff to gain an overall picture of the work of the organization and set their targets for the coming year. For not-for-profit organizations, the Annual Report has another important function: the opportunity to inform the donors and the community about their work, raise the awareness and indirectly call for action or rally support for a causes that the NPOs are advocating.

What skills are required of a volunteer to write an Annual Report for an NPO?

Linh: First, the volunteer must be interested in reading and learning about the NPO he/she is supporting. Second is the ability to analyze and select data, however, the most important skill is storytelling. The volunteer should be able to pick the right information to create the plot and use visuals to present the story in the most compelling way.

Thank you!

“We are proud of this report!”

"The LIN team learned a great deal from Linh during the three months that she worked with us. She always prepared for meetings and asked great questions. One of the first things she did was to explain her proposed approach and suggested timeline, which helped to set our expectations and ensured that we would be prepared with the information she needed to complete the report. She engaged easily with the LIN team and spoke with several of our stakeholders, making a deliberate and sincere effort to understand our work.

Opening up Linh's first draft of the annual report was an awesome experience. She accomplished something we had   always wanted to do but did not know how to do ourselves. The format and design of the annual report managed to tell the story of LIN's work in 2013, using data and visuals in a meaningful and effective way. We are so proud of the report that Linh created for LIN and truly fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from her."   

- Ms. Dana Doan, LIN’s Consultant

Click here for LIN’s 2013 Annual Report

(Read more about LIN's Volunteer projects from our Volunteer Newsletter at: http://www.linvn.org/cms/upload/FCKFile/file/Newsletters/Volunteer%20Newsletter%20Q1_EN.pdf)

Links:

Mar 17, 2014

E-Book for Visually Impaired Children Almost Done!

Narrow the Gap Visits Kim Tu Dien Centre
Narrow the Gap Visits Kim Tu Dien Centre

On 28 February 2014, LIN organized a site visit to The Center for Multilanguage Database Kim Tu Dien, which won 3rd Place (and a grant of VND 50 million) during the Narrow the Gap Community Event 2013: Focus on Children.  Kim Tu Dien agreed to use those funds to produce a “Let’s Learn” English language E-book for visually impaired children at shelters, clubs and schools in Ho Chi Minh City.  Click here to watch the short video introduction to their project.

Four Narrow the Gap representatives joined the morning site visit, where we met and talked with Mr. Tri, the software developer , who gave an introduction to the Center and how they came up with the idea to produce a “Let’s Learn” English language E-book for visually impaired children at shelters, clubs and schools in Ho Chi Minh City.

“In the past, we created several E-books for children,” said Mr. Tri.  “We also created E-books for visually impaired children, with a shelter as our client.  We just thought, ‘why not turn this popular English language learning book into an E-book for visually impaired children as well?’”

After running through a demo of the “Let’s Learn” E-book, which Mr. Tri said is ninety percent completed, he talked about next steps.  First the team needs to check, once more, for errors and complete the design (referring to functionality as opposed to graphics). Before the end of March, they expect to install the E-book on some computers at Nguyen Dinh Chieu School for the Blind in order to test usability with the Director and some of the students.

Attention NPOs working with visually impaired children! Mr. Tri said that Kim Tu Dien would welcome a chance to test the software at one or two other shelters. If any of your organizations would be interested and willing to help test the software, please contact Mr. Tri (at Kim Tu Dien) and/or Mr. Son (at LIN).

“In our experience working with visually impaired children, we know that they cannot use a mouse and they prefer to only use the ‘up’ and ‘down’ buttons,” explained Mr. Tri. “That is why we designed this software to rely heavily on those two keys.”

Once the tests are completed, Kim Tu Dien will make the required fixes before disseminating the completed “Let’s Learn” E-book to schools and shelters in the existing network first.  Afterwards, Kim Tu Dien said it would like to make the software available to anyone else that would be interested.  For this purpose, they plan to upload the software to the Center’s website for free download.  (A password may be required but Mr. Tri said the Center plans to provide a password to anyone interested to download the program.)

“In the past, we made software for visually impaired children as a service provider, with the shelter as our client,” said Mr. Tri.  “We did what they wanted.”  But the decision to produce the “Let’s Learn” B-book, was different, “This program is something [Kim Tu Dien] wanted to do so we gave it our all, we contributed our staff time and we are working hard to make it perfect.”

Because Kim Tu Dien won third place, they were only able to create one out of the three “Let’s Learn” E-books they originally proposed to translate.  Mr. Tri said the center plans to look for additional funds so they can make these books as well, “We still have a desire to produce the other two E-books.”

Mr. Tri demonstrates how the e-book works
Mr. Tri demonstrates how the e-book works

Links:

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