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Helping NGOs in China build transparency and trust

Setting the scene

While public trust is an important asset for any organisation, it’s especially vital for non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Lack of trust can impair an NGO's ability to raise funds which are needed to enable it to make a real difference for the people and causes it supports. 

Specifically, a couple of years ago in China certain NGOs were involved in online scandals regarding the possible misuse of funds. These events raised important questions about transparency, accountability and the efficient use of funds in the local NGO sector. 

"Transparency is critical for NGOs and social enterprises because the people who support them want to know that their donations are being put to good use. That’s why it’s so important for non-profit organisations to report on their goals, activities and the impact they are making, in a clear and transparent way. Our self-assessment tool helps NGOs do just that.”

PwC China Corporate responsibility steering committee member

How we helped

PwC China recognises that enhancing transparency and building trust are keys to creating a strong NGO sector in the country. In December 2016, the firm took action by launching China's first free  self-evaluation system for the transparency of philanthropic organisations’ reports. 

The system provides 57 questions that help NGOs assess their level of compliance with relevant Chinese laws and regulations, including the latest Charity Law. The tool is regularly updated to reflect changes in regulations and also allows NGOs to assess the readability and accessibility of their reports, providing useful examples on how to increase the transparency and user-friendliness of their communications with external stakeholders.

The self-evaluation system was developed jointly by PwC, China Philanthropy Research Institute and China Global Philanthropy Institute, and drew from PwC Germany’s advanced experience and expertise in NGO transparency. 

Impact

Since its launch in late 2016, over 400 users have already completed either part of, or the full, transparency self-check.

Lu Yin, Information Manager at China Charity Alliance, said: "The tool helps NGOs get a well-rounded assessment of their disclosures and is exactly what China's NGO sector needs nowadays."