Dear Friends of ACS,

We kick off this Lunar New Year newsletter by wishing you and your family good health and peace! 

With all of you, we are closely monitoring the developing situation, seeking to best adapt and remembering those who are suffering in our thoughts and prayers. 

We are thankful for Hong Kong’s medical personnel in these times. We also want to highlight that there are many brave front-line NGO staff and volunteers, who are continuing to serve the needy and marginalized, putting others’ interests above their own. This list is by no means comprehensive, but here are some ways to contribute: "Charities you can donate to during novel Coronavirus outbreak", The Loop HK and "Emergency support for Hong Kong charities during Coronavirus outbreak", HandsOn Hong Kong. For Chinese readers, here is a platform set up by ACS volunteer Albert Au to help with matching and logistic coordination of masks, disinfectant, and related resources: AntivirusResourceAllocationPlatform (抗疫資源分配平台)

Following the government guidance based on WHO recommendations, the ACS staff have been mainly working from home. We are finding that technology is great – even critical, nowadays – for staying connected. At the same time, nothing can fully substitute for being physically together.  

The ASCEND Workshop’s Situational Assessment work is proceeding by phone interviews. We are also exploring how to extend online alternatives to this community, for example, by piloting more effective educational videos of ENGAGE training and an interactive webinar option for IGNITE.  

Meanwhile, we are remembering the wonderful times we had together as recently as this January, and hoping that we will be able to gather again soon. Until then, please take care and keep in touch.

Thank you for being part of the ACS Community! As you give to many great causes and organizations, if you would like to make a donation to ACS, here is the link to financially support our work. Thank you for your generosity.

- Karen Chau, Executive Director  
What We've Been Up To

Jockey Club ENGAGE Digital Exploration

Kick-starting 2020 with JC ENGAGE Digital Exploration
This January, JC ENGAGE completed another round of its Crowdfunding Series to equip local NGOs with better insights and tools for a successful campaign. We were so blessed by veterans in this domain coming from StartSomeGood, Fringebacker, Sparkraise, and Umadx, who dedicated their time and expertise to share with the NGO sector. Congratulations to all the participating teams as well as our passionate volunteers who poured out their hearts to brainstorm and perform in the presentation pitch. We look forward to seeing the charity crowdfunding campaigns flourish in Hong Kong in 2020. Join us to elevate your Corporate Communications strategy in our next series.

Follow @JCEngage on Instagram and Facebook for more exciting content!

Jockey Club ENGAGE Digital Exploration

“Co-creation" is the way to successful video production
We are glad to have worked with so many talented visual storytellers from different production houses through this program over the past 2 years. We started 2020 with a video production debriefing session, where we convened producers and directors to discuss how best to manage a video production project with improved communications with NGOs. The goal: a smoother implementation experience for NGOs. The meeting was very fruitful, and we learned so much from the stories behind the shooting and production planning. This is an example of the kind of collaboration we truly believe in. The ENGAGE team wishes the recent award recipients (Karen Leung FoundationOneSky Foundation Limited, and Pathways Foundation) a successful production journey ahead.


IGNITE Next Generation Seminars

We are excited to have successfully delivered the first-ever ACS webinar on Feb 11 !
At the planning stage, we felt that Collaboration was an important topic to examine and discuss, in the context of the social unrest that has unsettled Hong Kong since June last year. It was an appropriate topic to kick off the IGNITE seminar series for 2020. 

Then, with the fallout from the current health-related concerns, not just in Hong Kong but globally, making it almost impossible for us to meet together, we decided to test an online offering of the seminar instead of just cancelling or postponing it. Thankfully, the speakers and panelists we had lined up were all supportive and agreeable to the experiment, and the rest is history!

Dr. Ruth Shapiro delivered the keynote address on Doing Good in Asia, Ms. Penny Van Niel led us through a workshop on Collaborating with Clarity and Confidence, and panelists Mr. Alan Chow, Ms. Martina Mok, and Mr. Tony Read shared top tips and experiences on collaborating. Thanks also to the 85 participants who joined us online for the webinar, and for making the experience interactive with your questions and comments!

SPRINT - A Hackathon for Social Good

An interview with Marie Kretz Di Meglio, Founder & CEO of Uplifters
Uplifters ( is the winner of the last SPRINT “Power Up Your Social Media” on Nov 30, 2019 and its mission is to empower underprivileged communities with online education.
1. How do you see online engagement like social media in your organization? What kind of content are you creating?
Online engagement is crucial. You could even say that social media is part of our DNA as our students enroll in Uplifters' courses through Facebook by sending us a message on our page. We also use Messenger as a platform for our student support groups as it’s an effective way to accompany them on their learning journey. We tend to post a lot of testimonials from our alumni to celebrate their achievements. We also make and post videos about the benefits of our courses and share/create content which is useful to our students.

2. What is your greatest takeaway from this SPRINT?
SPRINT reminded us of the importance of being very focused and aligned,
e.g. 1 POST = 1 OBJECTIVE = 1 Call To Action.

3. Have you applied what you learned from this SPRINT to your organization’s social media? Any example?
We have totally reviewed our communication strategy regarding the announcement of our online courses sessions. This has proven successful: in February, we will have 4 times more students than we had in November before the ACS workshop! 

4. What is the next thing you would like to do to engage your audience better using social media?
We plan on carrying on testing post formats and messages to keep on continuously learning and adjusting our communication strategy.

5. How do you plan to use the prize money?
We run online money management sessions on a monthly basis, and, in the weeks leading up to a new session, we communicated a lot about it on Facebook in order to drum up interest and encourage student enrollment. Our plan is to use the prize money to boost our posts’ reach, as up till now we’ve only relied on organic reach. We are also looking at creating short videos about the benefits of financial literacy and some of the money might go towards helping us do so. 
Coming Up at ACS
Check out our full event calendar for 2020 here and save the dates!
We love stories but they can be hard to tell. Come learn how to tap into your stakeholders’ emotions and execute successful digital media storytelling in our next ENGAGE – Corporate Communications series in March. 

For enquiries, please email to
Learn More / Sign Up

NGO Community Outreach - Who are We?

The ACS Community Outreach team members are at the front lines, acting as the eyes and ears of ACS. We meet with NGOs to learn from them, which informs our greater appreciation of the sector they are in, and allows us to assess any emerging trends. With the information we gather from NGOs, we are able to refine the content and curriculum of ACS service offerings, as well as distribute our findings to a wider community. Be on the lookout for our NGO insights via social media!
We are excited to have an expanded ACS CO team, comprising returning and experienced members, as well as 5 new members: 
1. Caroline Spivey 
2. Cindy Tsai 
3. Farida Lau 
4. Jane Overton 
5. Jen Wannenmacher 
6. Stephen Shum 
7. Suzanne Chu 
1. Andrea Li 
2. Carmen Au
3. Claire Ikeda-Thew
4. Ilene Levy
5. Lina Kim 
Join us if you have a passion for the betterment of Hong Kong's non-profit sector and would like to learn more about different NGOs. We are looking for Cantonese speakers!  
Email us at to find out more. 
I am a Face of ACS: Jennifer Wannenmacher
Jennifer Wannenmacher started volunteering at ACS in early 2019 and is part of the ACS Community Outreach team, which regularly meets with NGOs to learn more about their organizations and the ways in which ACS (and ACS volunteers) can support and journey with the different NGOs.
1.  What was your very first volunteering experience and when was that? 
My first volunteering experience, and still ongoing, is with Mother's Choice, a local charity which serves children without families and pregnant teenagers. When I was a Secondary School student in Hong Kong, I would stroll down Bowen Road after school to the Baby Care Home and take care of the babies.  When I returned to Hong Kong after university, I continued to stay involved with Mother's Choice mainly through fundraising assistance. My whole family now serves in some capacity with Mother's Choice: my husband is on the Board and my children are out on the streets selling flags on Flag Days and raffle tickets at events. I've had a long term relationship with Mother's Choice, and it has given our family opportunities to serve together. 

2. You have deep and varied volunteering experience - what, in your view, keeps volunteers coming back for more?
Many volunteers would agree that, alongside giving of time, resources and finances, comes an abundance of receiving back while volunteering. Volunteering often exposes me to uncomfortable and helpless situations, but the feelings derived from providing assistance and meeting inspiring individuals - both at the NGO and fellow volunteers - keeps me connected. In my current role, I find the access to NGOs to be an invaluable and interesting prospect; and to somehow be of assistance to the NGO staff is a privilege. I am often inspired learning about diverse NGOs and their mission, and this has increased my appreciation for those individuals who endeavor to make our city a better one.

3. What top tips do you have for NGOs to engage better with their volunteers?
Volunteers want to know that they are making an impact and feel emotionally connected with the NGO. I suggest that NGOs can better engage with their volunteers by showing them the impact of their volunteering, via statistics. For example, the number of beneficiaries served or the incremental value of improvement from increased funds. Another way is to give volunteers the opportunity to visit the beneficiaries. And finally, in order to stay connected with volunteers, I encourage NGOs to show consistent, heartfelt, and thoughtful appreciation via notes, videos and their Annual Report.
Community Outreach
Have we met you yet? If your organization would like to be included in our community outreach visits, please send a message to Jen now.
Resources and Opportunities
Mental Health Tips: Taking care of your mental health and checking in on others is something that we can all do, and there are many ways in which we can protect our own and others’ mental health. To encourage this, Mind HK has developed a booklet with tips on managing your mental health and staying well during this time. Please find the downloadable booklet (available in English and Traditional Chinese) here.

NGO Marketplace: Pro Bono Legal Services: International law firm Mayer Brown is organizing their second pro bono NGO Marketplace, a 2-3 hour event in May/June 2020, where NGOs can meet Mayer Brown lawyers to see if Mayer Brown would be able to assist with the NGOs’ pro bono needs. Interested NGOs should contact Jennifer Yi Man Cheung, Pro Bono and CSR Manager at

Photography services for charities and NGOs: Founded in 2018, Photo4Good Hong Kong provides nonprofits with quality images at a low cost. This is a student-led initiative working to build a network of proactive student photographers willing to use their skills for charitable causes in the local community.

Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management: Every year, there are a number of scholarships available for HK non-profit leaders to attend the “Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management” at Harvard Business School. General information about the HK NGO scholarships can be found here and a short clip about the program can be viewed here
What We Are Reading
The Wuhan Virus: How to Stay Safe |
As China’s epidemic continues to spread, things may seem scary. Here are 10 simple precautions that can protect you from contracting the coronavirus...
How to make the world's largest work-from-home experiment work | Simon Loong, Founder & Group CEO at WeLab
I know this is a difficult time for all of us working from home with the current coronavirus situation in Asia. Many of us prefer to be back at the office having meetings with our favourite colleagues, instead of being locked up at home...
The Real Story: Does philanthropy work? | BBC Podcast
With limited budgets and small teams, nonprofit organizations already fight an uphill battle to raise awareness, engage with their supporters and generate donations. And when you consider the changing algorithms and oversaturation of social platforms, those goals can seem even further out of reach...
Powerful Philanthropy: 5 Ways To Give Back To Your Community In 2020 |
Have you made your New Year's Resolutions yet? You may have the usual items on your list: get fitter, eat better, and make more money. But how about incorporating philanthropic goals into this year’s resolutions? It's never too late to give it a go, and when it comes to being charitable, now is always a good time to start…
Episode 215 : HandsOn Hong Kong | Hong Kong Confidential
This decade sees philanthropy at a pivotal point. The evolving geopolitical landscape, the rapid creation of new wealth and a greater awareness of how philanthropy can create social change have already led to exciting innovation and new thinking...
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