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Summer is here, with its heat, humidity, typhoons, and...travel restrictions.
 
While summer usually involves some travel for many of us, this summer with a difference offers us all the opportunity to explore our home city, to give back and pay forward, for the benefit of fellow Hongkongers who are in desperate need.
 
Numerous surveys conducted in the past 4 months alone have shown that the need and demand for the important and essential services provided by NGOs to vulnerable groups in Hong Kong have increased significantly, particularly with beneficiaries experiencing mental health issues, loss of income and/or the lack of basic needs like food and medical care. The unemployment rate at the end of May was the highest it has been since SARS, when the city was last engulfed in a pandemic. Up to 2 million people in Hong Kong may now be relying on NGOs to meet their needs. 
 
At the same time, NGOs have suffered dramatic reductions in funding which have impacted their critical service offering. With the gloomy global economic outlook for the next 12-18 months, the prospect is not bright for NGOs or the beneficiaries they serve.
 
To raise the visibility of our peer NGOs, and to highlight their needs, ACS launched our online Community Support Platform on June 1. Our Champions site facilitates connections between NGOs and any potential resource partner - whether for funding, in-kind donations, or volunteering needs. We are incredibly grateful to our peers for their endorsement of this platform, and we are greatly encouraged that some real connections have already been made, just over the past 2 weeks: between NGOs and prospective supporters, and, also, between NGO to NGO.
 
With these needs in mind, we want to promote a Summer of Service for you to consider: 
  • invest your time with NGOs who need hands and feet to do their work - whether on the ground or remotely 
  • invest some or all of your HKD10,000 cash entitlement from the Government into the social sector, to support one or more NGOs of your choice, and, indirectly, the beneficiaries whom they serve
  • spread the word to your friends and networks, and enlist their support
In these challenging times, ACS and the NGO Taskforce continue to work in partnership with our peer NGOs and funders on different initiatives to support the most needy of our fellow Hongkongers. A society is only as strong as its weakest members. 
 
When you look back in a year's time, will you remember what you did in the summer of 2020?  
 
We invite you to join our work, starting with a #SummerofService, to #Worktogether to support fellow Hongkongers and rebuild Hong Kong.
 
Team ACS
Championing a Summer of Service
Our new Community Support Platform highlights the top needs of more than 60 NGO Champions across 9 sectors in Hong Kong, ranging from urgent funding needs for programs and operations, to many different volunteering opportunities. Some of these volunteering opportunities require specialist skills like IT and website support, strategic and digital marketing expertise, counselling, fundraising support, and accounting guidance, while others are more general volunteering needs.

We invite you to have a closer look at our Platform to see how you can invest your time, resources and skills this summer building and cementing relationships with NGO partners, to allow them to continue providing critical services to their beneficiaries.  
What We've Been Up To
Coming Up at ACS
Check out our full event calendar for 2020 here and save the dates!
Jockey Club Engage Digital Exploration is the pathway for NGOs to learn and leverage digital tools and techniques to effectively communicate with their stakeholders. Register your details now and you will be the first to hear about our next JC ENGAGE Series - Storytelling for Beneficiaries - to be held in Aug, 2020.
Register
I am a Face of ACS: Amar Patel
This month we feature Amar Patel, a long-serving Volunteer and Project Advisor at numerous ACS workshops. He also made good use of his consulting background as a full-time ACS project staff in the first half of 2018 to lead the successful development and launch of a new NGO capacity building program.
Amar tells his interesting story here:
1. What 3 words would your friends use to describe you?
Having conducted a quick poll : "thoughtful, knowledgeable, and motivated" came up a few times. 😊

2. We know that your wife introduced you to ACS. When did you first start your engagement with ACS and what motivated you to help so many NGOs serving very different sectors?
Yes, for ACS only, you get a 2 for 1 deal with Hoi Lai and I.  It seems like an eternity ago but, back in 2014, Hoi Lai had signed up as a Volunteer and had just finished her first NGO Fundraising Strategy workshop. She found the whole approach really unique, meaningful, and enjoyable. She encouraged me to also sign-up, which I did. I was subsequently blessed to be part of the team that helped the HKRFU through a Strategic Planning workshop. Since then, I also thoroughly enjoyed my time serving SOW Asia, Youth Diabetes Action, The Hummingfish Foundation, The Vine Church, Splash, Chatteris, Variety, Aquameridian, and the AWA. Throughout all these engagements, the NGO clients’ unique needs, as well as the superstar trio of Marilyn, Isobel, and Caitlyn, kept me motivated to give my best.

3. Since you've participated in numerous ACS events over the years, what are one or two memorable or unusual experiences you've had?
While all my NGO client engagements are memorable, an unforgettable “ACS family” experience was celebrating (fellow volunteer couple) Rando and Ming’s pre-wedding party by playing bubble soccer for the first time. Never have I had so much fun, barely being able to stand and wobbling around (without a drink in hand). A great event that further built and strengthened great friendships with likeminded souls.

4. As a core member of the ACS team which developed the ENGAGE digital exploration program, what do you think are the key success factors in designing impactful capacity building programs for NGOs? In your opinion, how should ACS and the non-profit community adapt to the post-COVID-19 new normal?
Heart, passion, and the support of a great team are a must for any program to be developed and launched. As such, a big shout out to Wai Yee, John, Venus and Isobel for getting the Engage ball in motion and to Edna & Amos for their IT support. As for adapting to the new normal, I think it’s best to just do what ACS does best - Serve Those Who Serve to make HK a better place. 😊

Thank you, Amar!
Community Outreach
Have we met you yet? If your organization would like to be included in our community outreach, please send a message to our Outreach Team.
ACS meeting with BC Lo, the Founder of Brothers and Sisters in Christ Foundation
(second from the right in the photo above).  
Message us
Resources & Opportunities
HKEX Charity Partnership Programme | Applications are now open to members of The Community Chest for grants of up to HKD3m under The HKEX Foundation HKEX Charity Partnership Programme to support programs focusing on  Financial Literacy among students, young (working) adults or retirees; Social Diversity and Inclusion, Poverty Relief for the vulnerable and impoverished elderly aged 65 or above to be self-sustainable; and Environmental Sustainability.  

Socialbakers' Free Trial for NGOs  | From now until September 2020, NGOs can apply for a free 6-month trial access to the Socialbakers AI tool, in order to better engage their audience, and expand their reach. Apply by emailing support_NGO@socialbakers.com

Video for Change Impact Toolkit | This toolkit will show you how to design and strategize for impact in your progressive social change initiatives. It is designed for documentary or journalist video-makers, established Video for Change organizations, and nonprofit organizations that are using or thinking about using video to engage their communities.

Financial Sustainability Projection Template | We hope that this financial sustainability projection template and worked example will be helpful for NGOs in their financial management planning.

Pilot Scheme for Characteristic Local Tourism Events | The Hong Kong Tourism Board is now inviting applications from nonprofits for the fourth round of the Pilot Scheme for Characteristic Local Tourism Events (“Pilot Scheme”) to support tourism activities that showcase Hong Kong’s local characteristics and have the potential to generate good branding for Hong Kong.

HKGoodJob | Trying to find like-minded candidates for your social good initiatives? HKGoodPost is a shared initiative to promote social good, with a free job posting platform.
 
What We Are Reading 
Hey businesses: Act more like nonprofits if you want to succeed! | Vu Le | Nonprofit AF
Businesses are all truly inspiring and contribute so much to our community. However, many businesses are failing to reach their full potential. During this pandemic, demands for business products and services have decreased significantly while demands for nonprofit services have skyrocketed! Is this just a coincidence? ...
10 Most Important Things You Can Know About Fundraising | GRASSROOTS FUNDRAISING JOURNAL
Many times at the end of a training or a speech about fundraising techniques and principles, I am asked, “What are the most important things to remember?” ....
Crowdfunding in a crisis: Lessons learned | Catherine Dannaoui | HandsOn Hong Kong 
Full transparency: pre-COVID-19, HandsOn Hong Kong had pretty modest success with online donation appeals. In hindsight, we probably never embraced the collective spirit and conveyed the sense of urgency needed for successful Crowdfunding. Our appeals were usually quite vague and lacking a plan of action...
Managing our Mental Health & Staying Well during a Virus Outbreak | Sally Ho | Mind HK
There is no doubt there is a lot of uncertainty around the current COVID-19 outbreak, particularly given that the situation is constantly developing and the information about the virus remains incomplete.It is important to not only consider our physical health during such challenging times, but also to pay attention to our mental health...

Doing Good Index (DGI2020) | The Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society
The Doing Good Index 2020 lays bare the vital role of the social sector and how the right policies and practices can unleash an enormous US$587 billion per year towards it. In the wake of Covid-19, the public, private, and social sectors must come together to work towards a stronger and more equitable Asia as we build our way out of this crisis...
 
Support Our Work!
We hope you enjoyed reading our newsletter and found the links to resources helpful. We invite you to share our newsletter with your friends, colleagues and industry peers, and to get in touch with us to find out about volunteering opportunities. If you would like to support the work of ACS, your donation will be gratefully received and applied towards expanding the impact of our work.  Thank you in advance for your generosity.
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