“Vietnamese people’s perception of NGO philanthropic activities – Opportunities and barriers for VNGOs to mobilize resources” was the topic of a large-scale research carried out by iSEE and the Sociology Institute of the Social Sciences Academy of Vietnam in 2013. Findings from the research were presented on Nov 5, 2013 in Hanoi.
Research findings show that VNGOs’ in-country mobilization efforts will encounter numerous obstacles, since people still have little knowledge of NGOs activities and little interest in development philanthropy, and the majority of mobilization channels are state-run through multi-level state and local governments without any channels for other organizations.
The research was conducted with 1200 surveys in the four provinces and cities of Nam Dinh, Dac Lak, Ho Chi Minh City, and Dong Thap, and with 105 in-depth interviews in the five provinces and cities of Ha Noi, Nam Dinh, Hue, Ho Chi Minh City, and Dong Thap. The findings were presented in a conference on Nov 5, 2013.
The majority of participants survyed consider that philanthropy is important (80%) and they are interested in philanthropy (81%). However, conception of philanthropy is limited to the narrow sense of humanitarian relief and temporary assistance to those in hardship. Other forms of philanthropic activities toward long-term changes such as environment protection, anti-corruption, education and healthcare quality overhaul, protection for vulnerable groups, etc. do not figure in the popular concept. Besides, people normally donate via state mobilization channels or local government representatives. Thus, VNGOs wishing to mobilize resources from in-country donations will encounter numerous barriers.
Nevertheless, the research points to many opportunities for VNGOs, since a significant percentage consider their donation level “little” to “very little.” There also exist many other forms of donation besides cash that are not yet effectively mobilized such as labor and in-kind. VNGO’s ability to access community resources can also be strengthened if they have more effective mobilization approaches, and if they can prove their capability in the context of intensified doubt of state-administered philanthropy’s efficiency (less than half of respondents rank the management, openness and transparency of state philanthropy as “good” or “average.”)
Based on their experience in development activities in many regions in the country, conference participants also analyzed real life barriers to fundraising and discussed measures to strengthen their ability of attracting resources. Mr. Le Quang Binh, iSEE’s director, said:
“We believe that civil society organizations need increase available information on their activities so that people can understand how these organizations are contributing to the country development, and understand that philanthropy is not only relief but also to solve many other social problems. From this understanding we can eliminate concerns and build up support. The government also should have regulations and mechanisms to allow more diverse channels to mobilize the abundant resources from the masses, to invest in development activities sustainably and efficiently.”
The conference attracted high interest from journalists from different media agencies.