Dear Friends of ACS,

Welcome to our inaugural e-newsletter! As we have expanded our program portfolio and continue to grow our network of NGOs, skills-based volunteers and partner organizations, thank you for being a part of our community. 
Our ACS newsletter aims to share with you, useful information and resources developing in Hong Kong’s charitable sector, so please do see the section below on recent scholarships, grants and a new cost-effective co-working space.

Recent ACS activities and learning are also summarized here, but for more detailed, real-time updates, you can follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn
Applying our Design Thinking training, we will prototype and hope to continuously improve this communication. So, please feel free to share with us any feedback and stay tuned for updates!

- Karen Chau, Executive Director
What We've Been Up To
Jockey Club ENGAGE Digital Exploration : Volunteer Recruitment
ACS was happy to see our speakers, volunteers and NGOs all actively ENGAGED during our sessions on August 28 and September 11.  Volunteers are such a core part of ACS and many other NGOs in Hong Kong as well.  How fitting that ACS Volunteers worked alongside a diverse mix of NGO leaders to craft communication strategies and key messages that can be applied with digital marketing for volunteer recruitment!
IGNITE Next Generation Seminar
39 NGO representatives at the first IGNITE Next Generation Seminar on September 5 learned from Steve Bruce of SB Consulting and Mathew Gollop from Connected Group about Using Social Media to Build Your Brand and Attract the Best Talent. They enjoyed hands-on participation during the breakout sessions led by 15 volunteer facilitator consultants, and networked with fellow NGO leaders during the half-day seminar.
Sprint Hackathon – Design Thinking for Social Good
On September 28, 50 members from NGOs and social enterprises, plus 60 volunteers, together, not only stretched their arms, but also their minds. to create innovative solutions to better meet beneficiaries’ needs with design thinking.  Five judges from foundations and corporations joined us in the afternoon to provide  very useful feedback to our participants.
Coming Up at ACS
We are hearing from so many NGOs serving Hong Kong on their need for support to develop media and social media capacity, and we want to respond. Upcoming this November, the next seminar of our IGNITE leadership series will address the Power of Media, and we are introducing a SPRINT Hackathon to create and launch a social media campaign. NGO and volunteer registration for the January 2020 ENGAGE: Digital Exploration cycle on Crowdfunding will also open in November.
Have you wondered why and how certain NGOs are able to regularly get into the media spotlight? What are they doing "right" that you might benefit from knowing? What is your compelling message for the world, and who can help you broadcast that message ?

Come and learn from expert media professionals at our Ignite Next Generation seminar:The Power of Media - Getting Your Story Told and Increasing Your Influence.
Learn More / Sign Up
I am a Face of ACS: Madeline Kam
Madeline Kam is a native Hongkonger who has been volunteering regularly at ACS since last year.  This year, she transitioned from the corporate world to become the Executive Manager at Make-A-Wish Hong Kong, which grants wishes to children aged 3-17 years old, who are suffering from critical illnesses.  Madeline has found ACS to be an excellent platform from which she can understand more about the social sector, and which allows her to apply her business skills to assist other NGOs in solving their problems.
1.  What 3 words would your friends use to describe you?
Kind -  Righteous - A Good Listener

2.  When did you first start your volunteering journey, and why ? 
I started volunteering regularly in early 2018 when I decided to leave the commercial field and move into the NGO world. I did that because I always wanted to make a difference by helping people in need.

3.  You have volunteered in all 4 training / thought leadership programs offered by ACS - the signature ASCEND and IGNITE programs, as well as the two newer ENGAGE and SPRINT programs. What has been your most memorable volunteer experience?
Once, during an ASCEND program, the NGO I was consulting with faced a very serious financial crisis. Part of the homework for the volunteer consultants was to call that NGO's funders for support. One funder that I called was surprised to learn of the financial challenges as they had not been aware of it. They were able to provide additional funding very quickly to resolve the financial challenge of that NGO, and allowed the NGO to continue functioning. My takeaway from that situation is to not be afraid to ask for help, as you never know where help will come from

4.  What advice would you share with someone considering volunteering for the first time ?
Put yourself into the shoes of the NGOs. Listen more.

5.  If you could have one wish granted for the social sector space in Hong Kong, what would it be ?
I wish for more synergy across different NGOs in Hong Kong, for more efficient use of limited resources.
Community Outreach
Every few weeks, ACS ventures out into the city to meet with a local NGO and learn more about what they do. Here are a few of the amazing organizations we've met recently!

Have we met you yet? If your organization would like to be included in our community outreach, please drop Jen Wannenmacher a message at
Teach For Hong Kong (TFHK) is fostering a growing group of young leaders to end educational inequity. TFHK looks for high-calibre individuals whose impact will go beyond a one-year program and the four walls of the classroom; their enduring role is to become leaders of influence for systemic change in diverse sectors including education, busin­­ess and government.

For TFHK, their central mission is also their biggest challenge : because TFHK fellows are contractually obligated to only stay for one year, enormous amounts of resources and manpower are needed for annual recruitment exercises, which include training, onboarding, and meaningful exit strategies.  In response, relevant discussion topics would include: what are the right incentives to attract fellows to stay for a second year? Are there alternative, creative in-kind benefits that could be part of the compensation package? 
ACS looks forward to working with TFHK on exploring the answers at our upcoming ASCEND workshop scheduled for Oct-Nov 2019.
The topic of HK’s aging population is gaining increasing focus.  According to “Hong Kong Population Projections 2015-2064” report, over 35% of our citizens will be >65 years of age by 2064.  Even though 2064 may seem far in the distance, we met with an NGO who is addressing the urgent needs of the elderly now. Remembrance of Grace Centre (RGC) 基督教銘恩中心大埔 used to serve all-ages within the Tai Po community, but Shirley Tsang, Executive Officer of RGC, noticed the increasing isolation and loneliness of the 公公婆婆 in her neighborhood.  In a recent and radical shift of mission, RGC now focuses on serving the elderly by providing meaningful activities and recruiting volunteers to engage in worthwhile relationships with the aging community in Tai Po.  If you wish to spread care to HK’s elderly, please sign up with RGC at
The mission of Aide et Action Hong Kong (AEA) is to increase access to education for vulnerable populations in Asia.  Recently, ACS had the opportunity to meet Shirley Yau, its Head of Office and Partnerships & Communications Manager, and Kitty Ng, its Fundraising Manager.

Shirley's journey as an AEA volunteer brought her to Cambodia where she witnessed the economic limitations preventing children from going to school. Given the acute poverty levels in Cambodia, school-aged children are often forced to skip school in order to scrounge at landfills to sell and supplement their family income.

It was during one of these trips that Shirley decided to leave her digital marketing job to pursue her passion for educational equity. Today, Shirley helps to fundraise and direct resources to support AEA’s work on the ground in Southeast Asia, empowering local social workers to pursue education projects in their communities.
“It's obscene to let people go blind when they don't have to.” - Fred Hollows

ACS had an eye-opening experience with Fanny Lee, Regional Communications Coordinator, and Godi Lee, Regional Individual Giving Manager, as we learned more about the Fred Hollows Foundation. Both Fanny and Godi work tirelessly to further the mission of founder Fred Hollows who believed in eliminating avoidable blindness and dispensing quality, consistent eye care services, globally.

Today the Foundation works in more than 25 countries and has restored sight to more than 2.5m people. In order to sustain this continued success, the Foundation works closely with local communities by equipping doctors and nurses with knowledge and skills; rebuilding medical facilities; and educating patients on post-operative care.
Resources and Opportunities
Hands On Hong Kong is opening a beautiful 'Design Thinking Space' in Lai Chi Kok this October.  The intention is create a place for NGOs to run team off-sites, brainstorm new ideas and develop new strategies in an inspiring, uplifting environment. This option is available for a fee of HKD300 for a full day (for NGOs only). The venue address is 9B Easy Tower, 609-611 Tai Nan West Street, Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon, and it can accommodate up to 25 people.  For more information, contact

Lenovo Foundation has opened applications for a mini-grant cycle celebrating Lenovo’s 35th birthday.  If you have a program that can empower diverse and minority populations with access to technology and STEM education and contribute to “provide smarter technology for all”, see further application details at  There will be one USD35,000 grant winner from Asia Pacific.  We hope it can be from Hong Kong !  The application deadline is October 18, 2019.

The TUYF Charitable Trust is offering generous scholarships and grants to HK permanent residents who wish to pursue overseas courses on NGO Governance.  For more details see, and please note there will be two batches of applications considered.  The 1st batch deadline is October 18, 2019, and the 2nd batch deadline is February 14, 2020.
What We Are Reading
Nonprofits’ Many Roads to Revenue Generation  |  SSRI Fall 2019
As the boundaries between business and charity become increasingly blurred, many nonprofits are considering how to pursue their mission through revenue-generating activities rather than relying on philanthropic contributions alone.
The complete guide to nonprofit social media: Strategy and design tips for success | Canva
No matter the industry you're a part of, social media plays a significant role in growing the awareness of your business. And when it comes to nonprofits, social media is an integral part of engaging the community in your initiative.
Eight ways in which social sector organisations can improve | The Guardian
Over the past six months I've been leading a government review into social sector skills and how charities and social enterprises can attract, train and retain the high level of talent needed for the sector to perform at the highest possible level. 
Don’t leave burden of social housing to Hong Kong’s NGOs, government urged amid notorious wait for public flats | SCMP
. . . social welfare organisations have an important part to play, but the process would be more efficient and cost-effective if the government, as the biggest landowner, allocated land resources for social housing.
Volunteer Quiz | Reward Volunteers
Take our fun, interactive quiz to determine what type of volunteer you are. 
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