Morning Coffee Talk: Online Platforms for Not-for-Profit Organizations (NPO)
On August 27, nearly 20 representatives of local NPOs in Ho Chi Minh City joined the monthly "Morning Coffee Talk" at LIN Center for Community Development. The topic for the meeting was "Online Platforms for Not-for-Profit Organizations" and participants were introduced to BlueBees – a volunteer matching website, and Charity Map – a crowdfunding website, both launched in Ho Chi Minh City to support local NPOs.
During the opening session, Mr. Tu, one of the Founders of Charity Map, introduced the vision of the organization, which is to support the fundraising activities of NPOs via an online platform. Online fundraising is becoming quite trendy around the world; however, it is applied by few local NPOs in Vietnam. To address this gap, Charity Map developed a crowdfunding website: www.charity-map.org , designed to help donors support good causes and good projects.
There are two ways to receive funds using the Charity Map website: firstly, funds can be transferred directly to the bank accounts of the NPO / NPO representative; additionally, Charity Map can receive donations on behalf of an NPO and transfer all funds raised upon completion of a campaign. Charity Map is currently building partnerships with local e-commerce companies in an effort to expand its network and develop new channels for online fundraising in the near future.
BlueBees (or OngXanh) is the second website that was presented to NPOs during the NPO Coffee Hour. Mr. Nhat, LIN's Volunteer Coordinator, introduced the BlueBees website: www.Ongxanh.org , which helps to connect skilled-volunteers with NPOs through challenges that can be completed entirely online. Ong Xanh is a new concept Vietnam, although similar initiatives are operating effectively in other countries, such as www.volunteermatch.org , which works exclusively in the USA and www.onlinevolunteering.org , which operates on a global scale.
The BlueBees website allows NPOs to seek out volunteers for tasks that can be completed online by skilled volunteers, regardless of whether they are located in Vietnam or other parts of the world. Relevant tasks (or, challenges, as they are referred to on the BlueBees website) include straightforward tasks such as: brochure and website design, translation and copyediting as well as advisory support services in areas such as communication, fundraising human resource management and more.
BlueBees presents a new channel for NPOs to easily connect and work with skilled volunteers to address urgent needs, while opening up new opportunities to engage skilled volunteers more deeply in the future.
During the Morning Coffee Talk, NPOs raised many good questions about the use of online support platforms. The questions revealed some concerns and hesitation towards the use of online tools that support organizational development. Both Charity Map and BlueBees are new and not yet familiar to the NPOs. It will therefore very important for developers of the new tools to prepare and support NPO staffs that are willing to test the value proposition of these new tools for themselves. At the same time, we hope that our NPO partners in Ho Chi Minh City and our NPO friends throughout Vietnam will be courageous enough to try, gain experience and learn how best to use online platforms that are designed to support their operations.
We look forward to seeing you all at the next Morning Coffee Talk!