China’s NGO sector plays an important role as the space for civil society expands. With limited funds at their disposal, China’s NGOs are increasing their human resource pool and engaging their communities by utilizing volunteers to fulfill their missions. It is within this context that the Strengthening Volunteer Management in Chinese NGOs project was developed. The goal was to provide Chinese NGO professionals practical training in volunteer management.
The first phase of the project took place in China in December 2005. Two American specialists selected by the National Committee provided the expertise for a three-day training-of-trainers workshop for twelve NGO volunteer managers from around the country. Following the workshop, the twelve participants assisted Marilee Chinnici-Zuercher, president and CEO of FIRSTLINK in Ohio, and Arlene Schindler, an independent consultant, in three larger skill-share workshops for the broader NGO community, as well as a series of individual NGO consultations in Beijing, Xi’an, and Kunming. Chinese partner, PeopleLINK, organized the workshops and consultations.
Four of the twelve specialists were then selected to take part in the second phase of the project — a five-week internship program beginning February 2006 that enabled them to see firsthand how American organizations develop strategies to assess their needs, recruit and retain volunteers, measure the effectiveness of their programs, and cooperate with other organizations working on similar issues. This stage of the project took place in Columbus, Ohio and Phoenix, Arizona.
The final stage of the project was the production and distribution of a Volunteer Management Tool Kit, based on the workshops and consultations, by China Development Brief, the Committee’s other Chinese partner.