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Charity on the cheap (4)

(Global Times)

14:31, November 11, 2011

"Many donors simply ignore the fact that NGOs have real operating and labor costs, and are not willing to pay for them," said Deng adding that many philanthropists are insisting that no more than 5 percent of their donation be spent on administrative costs. This is affecting the NGOs' ability to effectively manage much needed humanitarian projects, said Deng.

The NGO nonprofit sector has a number of critics who say too many are poorly run and fail to produce results.

"The overall quality of China's NGOs needs to be improved," said Wang Zhenyao, the Dean of One Foundation Philanthropy Research Institute of Beijing Normal University, and former director of the Philanthropic Promotions Department of the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Executing projects exactly as planned and managing money is not always the strong suite of many grassroots NGOs. "The Red Cross Society of China offered 20 million yuan to projects that supported reconstruction efforts following the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, but very few NGOs were qualified," Deng wrote in one of his recent essays.

Many NGO leaders complain that it's difficult to raise service standards if they can't afford to recruit outstanding people and pay a decent salary that will keep them in the job.

Shi Fumao is the director of the Beijing Legal Aid Station for Migrant Workers, one of the city's biggest NGOs. His 21-member team help the huge army of migrant workers solve 1,600 labor disputes a year.

Keeping employees happy

"It's hard for us to attract very talented people to work here, our salary is far from attractive," said Shi, adding that new college graduates are paid around 2,000 yuan a month, while a grad with a Master's earns around 3,000 yuan a month.

"We're not doing this type of work for the money, but NGO staff still need to be able to survive in big cities," said Shi.

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