LIN, Where Are We Going?

LIN, Where Are We Going?

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"LIN, Where Are We Going?" [also know as "LIN oi, Minh Di Dau?"] is a facilitated event by the LIN Center for Community Development, which was inspired by a common dilemma of volunteers and philanthropists around the world – How to select one cause or one organization to support among so many worthy causes and so many not-for-profit organizations?


After an exciting pilot run in January of this year, "LIN, Where Are We Going?" is proving its ability to help individuals, groups and companies find their cause(s) or partner organization(s). On June 14th and Jun 27th LIN facilitated two "LIN, Where Are We Going" events, the first with 57 young professionals participating in the 2014 SEO-Vietnam Summer Internship program and the second with 40 Community Service Committee members from Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions Vietnam (BOSCH).


SEO Vietnam's Interns


 BOSCH's staffs

In both cases, the event gave SEO-Vietnam and BOSCH participants a chance to test different approaches to select a cause to support and ideas for building a partnership with a nonprofit organization:

"As we talked, I found out that as volunteer, I can actually help them improve their performance using what I have learnt."Mai Pham, SEO-Vietnam Intern 2014

"Beyond funding an NPO, [our company] can provide technical support/solutions. Our human resources can [be allocated to] support these NPOs, but we would need a proper plan."Minh Hung (BOSCH)


 BOSCH's staffs  talked with  Thien An Shelter's staffs. Photo: Giang Pham

The event is designed around the Vietnam Causes website. NPOs listed on the site are invited to participate in the event, based on the client's criteria (i.e., causes of interest, legal structure, geographic preferences). When an NPO agrees to participate in the event, the appointed representative helps the LIN team design an appropriate mission – task, which the visitors can accomplish during their one-hour site visit.

The event itself is broken up into three parts: Orientation, Site Visits and Debriefing. During the orientation, participants are broken up into teams and each receives a scenario, which provides the background and purpose for their site visits. These scenarios can be real or made-up, depending on the needs of the client. 


Orientation for  SEO-Vietnam's Interns. Photo: Giang Pham

At the conclusion of the orientation, each team receives its first clue. Using the Vietnam Causes website, the teams must decipher the clue to find the location of their first site visit.


SEO-Vietnam's Interns found out the NPO site visit by using provided clues. Photo: Quang Tram

Each team visited two nonprofit organizations. During each visit, the teams must complete three missions, two of which are customized to the NPOs being visited. The first mission is to conduct preliminary due diligence on the nonprofits by asking a serious of standardized questions about the nonprofit's purpose, operational structure. These questions are designed to help the teams assess the NPOs suitability for partnership (based on the team's scenario) and opportunities to provide support that is needed.


BOSCH's staffs' drama about the environmment . Photo: Giang Pham

True to LIN's mission, the event helps to connect prospective donors and volunteers to the local, nonprofit community and, in doing so, it helps to reveal the true potential of grassroots organizations:

"Observing how professional and sustainable this [NPO] works, I have changed my thoughts about grassroots nonprofit organizations. I used to think that they are unprofessional and short-term in impact. But the Scholarship Fund Huynh Tan Phat has convinced me that with clear vision and good administration, these organizations can function effectively and bring out long-term impact." - Phung Thi Thuy Dung, SEO-Vietnam Intern 2014

"After talking to [the NPOs], I was inspired to contribute more to the community. Additionally, the debate among different teams over which NPO is good to invest in was also very appealing to me."Anonymous (My Duong)


Preresentative present about NPO(s) that they want to support t. Photo: Quang Tram

In an effort to support the philanthropic community in Ho Chi Minh City, participants are challenged to reflect on their site visits and share their thoughts about each nonprofit by posting a comment or follow-up question on the NPO's profile page on the Vietnam Causes website. Such feedback, we believe, will help NPOs better address the needs and concerns of the donor and volunteer community while simultaneously informing other donors and volunteers about that NPO.

To spice up the event, teams compete for a chance to win prizes by completing the most missions in the shortest period of time. Although winning a prize is great, the most of important prize we aim to offer everyone who participates is a meaningful experience and improved social awareness.


Participants at  Thien Tam Huong Vocational Training Center . Photo: Giang Pham

Based on analysis of participant surveys and reflections during and after the event, "LIN, Where Are We Going?" helps participants not only obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to undertake a more strategic approach to giving in Vietnam, but it also helps to raise their awareness about local causes and local nonprofits addressing those causes.

Does your company or volunteer group need help to identify a cause or nonprofit partner to support? If so, give LIN a call and we can put together a "LIN, Where Are We Going?" event just for you!