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Charity on the cheap (2)

(Global Times)

14:31, November 11, 2011

1 million NGOs

The problem is there's very little left to pay for the work that must get done.

Zheng, who is 50 and has run the center since it opened, earns less than most college grads just entering the job market. She brings home just 2,500 yuan ($394) a month.

"Every month is a challenge to pay my team on time," said Zheng, who relies on donations mainly from domestic enterprises to keep her organization going. Zheng's team members earn just 1,500 to 1,900 yuan a month.

Zheng's troubles are shared by many in China's NGO, non-profit community. There are an estimated 1 million grassroots NGOs in China.

A report jointly issued by four research, consulting and charity organizations found that almost 90 percent of NGO employees earn less than 5,000 yuan a month. It also found that 60 percent of NGOs are losing their best talent who say they can't afford to work in the non-profit sector.

"If the trend continues, it will be harder to find people to work for these non-profit organizations in China," said Liu Zhouhong, vice secretary general of the Narada Foundation, which co-authored the report with Horizon Consulting, Liu Hongru Financial Education Foundation and Tencent Charity Channel. Their survey of 5,500 NGOs found that nearly 20 percent of NGO staff earned less than 1,000 yuan a month or had no regular salary.

Last month, Liu Zhenjun, the head of an NGO in Yunnan Province, tried to mount an online campaign to draw attention to the low pay of employees of non-profits. He called for a one-day work stoppage by staff of all NGOs with the ultimate goal of raising awareness of the good work and essential services they provide.

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