There was constant talk about impact measurement, transparency, accountability, civil engagement, professionalism and investment strategies. AVPN attended the China Private Foundation Forum in Guang Zhou, held over 22-23 November 2012, which was a spectacular harbinger of the direction that the country’s social sector would be developing towards. Over 500 attendees turned up, and many times, the function rooms were standing-room only, with everyone eager to hear what the industry leaders had to say.
Although the name of the event references “private foundations”, representatives from public foundations, NGOs, government and the media all turned up to address the wide-ranging issues facing private foundations. They represented the stakeholders within the Chinese social eco-system, and topics ranging from utilizing social media to new tools of social investment, and fundraising challenges were raised. After all, the theme of the forum was – Pursuing excellence whilst using resources dynamically. Interestingly enough, there were several calls to change the event name to reflect the entire sector, instead of only the ‘private foundations’. At times, NGOs criticized foundations for harsh funding conditions, and yet others pointed fingers at the government for projects that worsened the economy. It seemed like no subject was taboo and everyone got their voices heard through this platform.
At the end of the 2 days, most speakers were lauding the organisers for a job extremely well done. From the innovative use of different segments to the current and pertinent topics that were discussed, everyone seemed to walk away with new lessons, and, just as crucial, important new contacts.