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How an emerging non-profit sector is giving China a social makeover

Non-profit organizations (NPOs) are changing the very face of business in China, and opening doors for people looking to do business abroad. Let’s look at how the East can meet the West on these grounds.

NPOs China

NPOs China

The impact of non-profits on China

NPOs, or non-profit organizations, have peppered our English vernacular for over 40 years. Before that, Americans tossed around phrases like “social justice” and “do good.” Now, in these modern times, China is making social change by adapting laws to benefit, protect and bolster non-profits.

Just as in America, these non-profits run the gambit of who they help. Some Chinese non-profits have very similar missions to their US counterparts, such as Chinese Red Cross, OperationSmile (medical assistance to children with cleft palates) and Teach for China (like our Teach for America). There are even non-profits designed to bridge relationships between China and the US.

Why the surge of NPOs in China?

A friend of mine bluntly asked, “China seemed like a very progressive country, with men and women being equal during and after the cultural revolution. Why do they have such a surge of non-profits?”

I remind him that NPOs don’t just help to accelerate gender-issue change, but also spearhead causes for rights of the disabled or the economically disadvantaged. With the increase of the socio-economic gap between China’s haves and havenots, there exists, now more than ever, a concerted effort to raise the living and educational standards of the poor and disenfranchised.

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The opportunities for businesses

From a business perspective, I see a great opportunity to help others while building new revenue streams. Many of the Chinese NPOs are “importing” Executive Directors or those who can help guide the fledgling non-profits as they emulate the Western model.

As with any new endeavor, non-profits locally and abroad need business services to make them stand out and to be more efficient. Things like website design, HR management, grant writing, etc. are others ways for East and West to meet. With the creation of new non-profits, it’s in the best interest of US service providers to expand their nets to not only capture new clients and revenue, but also to aid the growing Chinese NPO movement.

Two key takeaways

  • These newly formed non profits offer other ways to get involved in conducting business in China.
  • Keep in mind that China is growing and changing, as such new concepts of philanthropy and social responsibility will emerge.

Written By

Monica Moffitt, founder and Principal Cultural Consultant at Tianfen Consulting, Inc., has traveled the world and enjoys linguistics and all things culture. Having split her career between project management and business analytics, Monica merges logic, fluency in Chinese and creativity in her new role as cultural consultant. She received a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies/Chinese from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Business Administration (International Management and Marketing) from University of Texas at Dallas.

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