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Charity in China; Reforming China’s Non-Profit Sector

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China Red Cross, Source: AsiaNews.it

Posted by Jessica Drun, AsiaEye

Recent scandals involving charity misspending and embezzlement have tarnished the image of China’s non-profit organizations (NPO). News of these controversies has spread like wildfire across Chinese micro-blogs and public philanthropy suffered a blow by alienating potential donors. For instance, China saw an immediate decline in blood donations following the Guo Mei Mei incident, in which the supposed general commercial manager of the Red Cross flaunted her lavish lifestyle on Weibo, a Chinese social networking site. The Red Cross in China now reportedly faces a 30-40% shortage. With Chinese people increasingly wary of corruption, monetary contributions to charities have reportedly more than halved from June to August of this year. The consequences of these trends are grave, as Chinese citizens across the board have called for government reform in the country’s nascent third sector—and Beijing is feeling some pressure to respond.

The economic reforms spearheaded by the late Chinese patriarch, Deng Xiaoping, are largely credited with unleashing market forces that spurred China’s rapid growth. The “opening up” policy contributed to a wide scale privatization campaign, leaving in its wake a debilitated social safety net. These trends, coupled with an upsurge of development-induced social problems, have opened space for Chinese NPOs to emerge at the forefront of the country’s public service sector. Under- resourced and overextended, China’s third sector has been a reoccurring topic in legislative debates in recent years—both in the front lines of grassroots initiatives and among many levels of government officials. The situation presents an interesting contradiction, wherein the Chinese government must face the need to address social problems while at the same time realizing that such a move could detract from its authority.

The landscape of the country’s third sector has changed significantly in recent years. This change is reflected in official government statistics that show the number of registered organizations has shot up over 40% between 2005 and 2010 alone. This increase does not include unregistered organizations, which are blocked from formal proceedings by China’s dual-registration system and strict guidelines. Comparatively, the non-profit landscape was practically barren under Mao’s rule and these types of organizations did not emerge until the 1980’s. This surge coincides with the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) decision to defer social management responsibilities to NPOs as a means to promote Deng’s economic policies and encourage market forces. The initial non-profits were directly under government jurisdiction but as social problems emerged at a faster rate than the Party could manage, the central government began to defer control and reform the system.

Approaches to reform have been multifaceted. The central government, citing the importance of preserving social order, has sought to revise the current bylaws underlining non-profit management. The central government has overseen the establishment of experimental sites in Wenzhou, Shanghai, and Shenzhen to test the prospect of transferring more government functions to non-profit organizations. The National People’s Congress and the CCP Central Committee have dedicated a section of the country’s next Five Year Plan (FYP) to charity management, ostensibly to address rising public discontent towards corruption in NPOs.

In Chapter 39 of the 12th Five Year Plan, the central government called for the development of social organization through a streamlined application process, improved tax incentive laws, and policy support a la legal and regulatory protections. Before final approval in March 2011, the government disclosed the FYP guidelines to the Chinese people through a series of public hearings, seeking e-mail feedback and leaving room open for revision. Consequently, a Charity Law, drafted by the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MoCA), which has been on the table since 2005, has resurfaced for consideration. In July 2011, the government reopened the draft as the “Guideline for the Development of Charity in China” and solicited public input to give direction to charity growth and expedite processes conducive to the 12th FYP. However, the draft has since seen little movement within the legislature.

Meanwhile, frustrated by government inaction, local and provincial governments have apparently taken matters into their hands. Respective authorities in Jiangsu, Ningbo, Hunan, Beijing, and just recently Guangdong have each enacted their own set of regulations, facilitating registration processes and allowing for more accountability in non-profit management. These moves have been commended by officials higher up in the government. In late 2010, a MoCA representative voiced his hopes that these developments will help guide those on a national scale.

The general consensus on the need for reform paints an interesting picture for future developments of the third sector. The timing of the FYP and its related reforms comes at a critical crossroad in China’s development. First, the 12th FYP coincides with a transition of power to its fifth-generation leadership that will take place in 2012. Chinese leaders seek a seamless power change, but they must address the growing challenges posed by increasing social unrest. By adhering to the tenets set by the FYP and by shaping public interests through the charity law, the Party could mitigate discontent among the masses, while at the same time demonstrate responsible leadership. Moreover, promoting China’s international image should provide further incentive for the government to amend its non-profit regulations by legitimizing the new leaders through social progress. It should be noted, however, that certain types of non-profits within the sector, such as those dedicated to religion and human rights, will see little change in their directive.

These advancements in the third sector may also point to the prospect of more comprehensive reform throughout the country. Grassroots movements empower and educate citizens for involvement in the public sphere, which then calls for a more active and informed society, with its own functions and claims. Larger citizen involvement, enabled by a burgeoning nonprofit sector, could lead to a further decentralization of power. This would be in line with the CCP’s “big society, small government” policy that seeks to create a network of social protections wherein citizens serve as intermediaries between the government and social organizations to sustain and promote a “harmonious society”. In essence, nonprofit reform may equip the citizenry with the capacity to take on the Chinese government’s social functions and become that “big society.” The deciding factor, however, is largely dependent on the direction the central government takes from its current Catch-22: toward third sector reform at the cost of its relative power or the continuation of the status quo at the risk of social instability.

Please share and join the discussion on facebook by clicking the “Like” below. Published with the written permission from AsiaEye (Project 2049 Institute).

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Sanskar Shrivastava is the founder of international students' journal, The World Reporter. Passionate about dynamic occurrence in geopolitics, Sanskar has been studying and analyzing geopolitcal events from early life. At present, Sanskar is a student at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture and will be moving to Duke University.

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4 Ways to Improve Your Customer Experience

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Customer experience is much more than a one-time interaction. It’s an ongoing process that requires your business to think critically about how you can improve every interaction with your customers. Your customers should feel valued and understood at every step of the way, from first contact to the final sale. If you’re reading this, you know that customer experience is essential to the success of your business. It goes beyond surface-level niceties like “hello” and “thank you.” Instead, CX involves a 360-degree view of how customers perceive your company from beginning to end. These customer experience tips will help you streamline your interactions and give your customers the kind of service they want to return to.

Make it easy for customers to do business with you.

Never make your customers feel like they’re jumping through hoops to interact with you. Instead, make it easy for them to find and use your customer touchpoints—your website, social media channels, or physical storefront. Don’t forget about accessible payment options for your website and store to allow for multiple payment methods. Whether you include options to pay via PayPal or you need high risk merchant services due to poor business credit, pay attention to what you offer.

This applies to your customer service interactions as well. Make sure you have a clear way for customers to reach you through email, phone, a contact form, or some combination of the three. Be sure to include your hours of operation and any steps customers need to take to resolve their issues as swiftly and painlessly as possible.

Make sure your contact channels are functioning well.

Make sure you have a way for customers to reach you both during regular business hours and after business hours (if applicable). Ensure your phone system is working correctly, your emails are always sent, and your website or any other online contact form is easy to use. Additionally, make sure you’re responding to customers promptly. If you’re doing everything else right, but if your contact channels are a mess, you’ll end up with many frustrated customers. No one likes to feel ignored.

Offer solutions to problems, not just products or services

It’s essential to offer products, services, and solutions to your customer’s problems and concerns. When speaking with customers, focus on their challenges and how your products or services can resolve them. Remember that customer service isn’t just about sales. It’s about resolving customers’ concerns about your company, products, or services—even if they aren’t ready to buy yet. Your goal is to create a lifelong relationship, not just a single transaction.

Establish trust through transparency and authenticity

Trust is crucial for building a strong customer experience. Be transparent about your policies and your products—this means disclosing any potential risks or downsides as well. Be authentic in how you interact with your customers. You should always be yourself, even if that means you’re not the best salesperson or occasionally make a mistake. Customers will respect your authenticity, which builds trust and loyalty.

Summing up

If you take nothing else away from this article, this is the one thing you need to remember: your customer experience dictates your business’s future. Your customers don’t just experience your products or services once. They experience them throughout their entire relationship with you. Make sure you’re paying attention to every single touchpoint and listening to how you can improve. Put in the effort to improve your CX, and you’ll see the results in no time.

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David Faraco and Aquarius will create the First NFTs in Solidarity with Nature

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When it comes to the environment, we often think about ways to reduce our carbon footprint or recycle more. But what if there was a way to actually support the environment while also supporting your favorite artist? With NFT, now there is! NFT, or non-fungible tokens, are a new way to collect and trade digital art. And because they’re stored on the blockchain, they’re completely secure and immutable. That means that when you buy an NFT, you can be sure that you’re getting the real thing and that your purchase will support the artist directly. Plus, NFT are a great way to show your support for environmental causes. Aquarius and David Faraco are teaming up to create the first-ever nfts in solidarity with nature.

What is an NFT?

An NFT is a digital asset that is stored on a blockchain. The term NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. NFT are unique, unlike traditional cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, which can be exchanged for goods or services. NFT have been gaining in popularity due to their ability to represent digital assets in a more secure way. For example, an artist could create an NFT of their work and sell it as a digital collectible. The benefits of using an NFT include the fact that they cannot be counterfeited and are tamper-proof. David Faraco Heredia, will be creating the first ever NFT in solidarity with nature. This project is aimed at helping to preserve our planet’s natural resources.

How will David Faraco’s NFT help nature?

In David Faraco’s native country of Costa Rica, nearly a quarter of the land is protected in some way by the government. This includes rainforests, national parks, and biological reserves. Now, with the help of blockchain technology, Faraco is hoping to do even more to protect the environment. Faraco is the founder of Aquarius Crypto Universe, a company that creates non-fungible tokens (NFT). NFT are digital assets that can be bought, sold, or traded like traditional cryptocurrencies. However, unlike Bitcoin or Ethereum, each NFT is unique and cannot be replicated. Aquarius will use NFT to create digital certificates of ownership for land and wildlife. These certificates will be stored on the blockchain, making them tamper-proof and impossible to forge.

What are the benefits of using NFT?

  1. According to David Faraco, the benefits of using NFT include “the ability to show provenance, the immutability of the data, and the trustless nature of the technology.”
  2. He claims that by using NFT, we can “create a more sustainable future for our planet and its inhabitants.”
  3. Faraco believes that NFT “have the potential to revolutionize how we interact with and value Nature.”

David Faraco, CEO of Aquarius Crypto Universe, has announced that they will be creating the first ever NFT in solidarity with nature. This comes as a response to the growing environmental crisis and the need for new ways to support and protect our planet. NFT are unique and cannot be exchanged for another currency. This makes them ideal for supporting causes and organizations, like Aquarius, that are working to make a difference. These NFT will be available for purchase on Aquarius’ website and will help support their environmental initiatives.

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How to segment your customers for better results

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email marketing

Segmentation is classifying your audience by a relevant characteristic. This makes the strategy target prospects that could buy your product and increases the effectiveness of the campaigns.

Email marketing is a digital marketing strategy where segmentation is possible, as the best managers offer this possibility.

Why segment?

Segmentation is one of the marketing challenges facing companies today, because many are not used to it.

Until a few decades ago, advertising possibilities were limited to television, radio and newspaper commercials. These commercials reached all audiences equally. If the commercial was about women’s clothing, it was seen by men and boys alike. But the internet changed that.

Today, digital marketing offers great possibilities to segment the audience, so that everyone receives the information that is of interest and useful to them.

Some examples of segmentation are the following:

  • An appliance shop sends a special discount only to customers who are finishing paying for a product purchased in their shop.
  • A department store sends a toy catalogue to parents subscribed to its mailing list for the Christmas season.
  • A bookshop sends a newsletter with a discount coupon to parents with school-age children at the beginning of the academic year.
  • Invitations to an event on shop in a specific city, but only to subscribers who live in that city.

With these strategies you want the message to hit the target and get a lot of conversion, for this Mailrelay offers tools to segment the list in an easy and effective way. Thanks to this mass email software, you will be able to successfully segment your users in just a few minutes.

How to get a segmented mailing list?

At the time of the campaign, you can include some questions to find out some characteristics of the customer. For example, the name and surname, city, interests, etc.

Be careful with the questions, because they can dissuade the customer from subscribing, so you should only include the most important ones.

After subscribing, the customer may be asked to answer a survey, in which additional questions may be asked, but this should also be done with care, as it may be uncomfortable. It should always be optional and if the subscriber does not answer it at the first attempt, do not insist.

Another strategy to get the information we want is a contest. For this, you have to establish a very attractive prize that the subscribers appreciate very much.

Finally, purchasing habits can provide information. If a customer regularly buys products for cars, we can intuit that they own one, and we can design offers for them.

What are the advantages of audience segmentation?

The main advantage is that you gain in effectiveness, with segmentation you reach the specific customer who is in a position to buy. This allows you to design a direct message that speaks to the customer according to their needs and facilitates the sale.

It also happens that the message does not reach people who may consider it inappropriate. For example, if we have a mailing list with customers from a department store, and we are going to launch a campaign for women’s clothing, the men who receive it could mark it as spam, which would affect the company’s marketing plans.

In addition, segmentation generates greater engagement, as the customer feels that you are talking to him or her about his or her needs and concerns. Talking directly to subscribers is the best way to get closer to them and make them loyal customers.

Recommendations for segmenting your customers

  • If you are planning an email marketing campaign, it is very important that you do a proper and effective segmentation. For this, it is very important that you choose a mailing manager that has good segmentation tools.
  • Establish strategies for each segment of your audience, so that you get new niches to develop your business. Knowing the possibilities of your brand and the needs of your customers is fundamental to design strategies that will be profitable.
  • Combine the segmentation of the email marketing campaign with an excellent social media management, in order to achieve the appropriate proximity to make the relationship between the brand and the public strong. Social media is booming and is also a form of direct communication that can be very cost-effective.
  • The conformation of groups should be established strategically, this can be by gender, location, preferences, socioeconomic level, activity, etcetera. These groups should be very well differentiated and their distribution should be related to the business in question.

How to get better results from a segmented campaign?

If you have established an email marketing campaign for one of the groups you have defined in your list, the following tips can help you achieve better results:

  • Choose the right frequency according to the product and the characteristics of the group. A poorly chosen frequency can be counterproductive, if there are too many messages, it could lead to unsubscribes and if they are too infrequent, the message could be lost.
  • Analyse the metrics provided by the email marketing manager, with this information you will know if the campaign is giving results and have clues about what the problem may be, if there is one.
  • If it is a campaign of several newsletters, you can place a button for the subscriber to indicate if they are not interested in the campaign, that way you can remove them from the campaign and prevent them from unsubscribing from the list.
  • Surveys are a great tool, as they capture relevant information from customers. If they are applied, they should contain only one question, maximum 2, and always a selection by clicking on an answer option. Do not overuse surveys because they could generate unsubscribes.

If you are going to implement an email marketing campaign, segmentation is necessary to get the best possible results. We recommend you start researching today the most appropriate segmentation of your customers. You will be able to achieve great results with just a little effort. 

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