Hong Kong Council on Social Services

Great meeting held after AFP Hong Kong hosted luncheon.

Here are some key points discussed:

  • Council on Social Services operates much like a Chamber for
    Social Services.
  • 340 member agencies.
  • Funded through member fees, rental income and government to build middle to small NGO fund capacity building platforms.


  • IT support services — i.e., no cost server support, discounted group software costs, customer service, etc.
  • Research
  • Advocacy
  • Social Workers
  • Exchange program between government officials and NGOs
  • Raising Charity Accountability
  • Promoting Corporate Citizenship
  • Social welfare sector of excellence activity

Raising Charity Accountability:

  • Wise Giving Program

    NGOs fill out forms delivering information regarding financial statements, percentage administrative costs, etc. to promote wise giving throughout corporate giving community in support of feasible charities.

  • Directory of Funding Bodies

    Listing of contact information of all foundation, corporate, etc. funding bodies in Hong Kong

  • Caring Company Directory

    3 inch thick catalog listing companies nominated by NGOs that fulfill at least two of six criteria related to green, hiring people with disabilities, NGO mentoring, employee volunteering, families, donating, etc.

  • Choose positive approach versus confrontational.

    What are companies doing right versus focusing on what they’re doing wrong. Purposefully chose lower threshold to reward any good corporate citizenship action. Different from Community Chest that exhorts vs. rewards.

Last year, more than 1,500 companies were nominated and listed as a Caring Company. Each nominated company receives an annual decal as the “good charitable partner” seal of approval. In addition, an annual Wise Giving and Caring Funder receives an annual plaque gift photo of NGO partner.

Great example of business partnering:

One of presenters at AFP luncheon distributes mobile alarms to the elderly. Council on Social Services linked the NGO with the gas company.

The gas company always experienced difficulty gaining access to seniors homes to check on meters annually. One, there was distrust of the gas company and secondly, staff was unskilled at elder communication.

The NPO concerned with seniors welfare wanted their mobile alarms to be serviced annually. In addition, the NGO was always looking for ways to generate companionship moments for elders.

A natural linkage was established in which the NGO helped gas company workers build skills to improve elder communication. As a result of gas company workers being seen as friends to improve personal safety, elders more readily allowed access to heating equipment.

For an extra two minutes, gas company workers checked elders’ mobile alarms. In addition, workers spent another 4 minutes to linger in conversation (skills they learned from the NGO) with seniors to promote connection and limit loneliness.

A win-win-win all around.

The delegation expressed profound appreciation of what the Council on Social Services accomplished in 7 short years. Their entrepreneurial approach to “do it without talking” is greatly admired and even envied.

There was particular interest in the Council’s not generating a level of giving donor list. The reasoning is that starting out this “charitable encouragement campaign”, they wanted to include the “little guy” business on equal footing as the behemoth business as to their corporate social responsibility.

The Council will however, probably increase the fulfillment of two criteria to minimum of three criteria to be listed as a Caring Company and to use the dec al/bug insignia. In the meantime the Council is working hard to increase their
NGO members’ fund development cap city.

Attention then turned to the global recession and the tactics to address.

Two overarching thoughts came out of the discussion:

  • Keep Donors close — beyond giving — so that when recession lifts, they remain with your mission.
  • Mobilize NGO services to serve the business sectors — i.e., provide counseling services and resources for recently laid off workers, give the basic support in food, health, etc services to care for workers w/o work, etc.

Linda Brown Rivelis, CFRE