Comparative Research on Disaster Philanthropy Fundraising

Universal Values Research and Practice

We fund research into and practice universal values in today’s public sphere, conserving the values of liberty, equity, fairness, justice and love, which we believe are the bedrock of society.


Ying Ye link_icon


Fundraising Innovation Development Center link_icon


The Report of this practical research has been published in China in 2021 and the English version of a brief report has been released in January, 2022.

comparative research on disaster philanthropy fundraising pdf

About the Researcher


Ying Ye, the founder and board member of Shanghai Fundraising Innovation Development Center (FIDC) , has 11 years of experience working on nonprofit marketing and fundraising with leading NGOs and CSR departments in China.

Graduated from Chinese Classical Literature of Fudan University, Ying worked as editor in Chinese edition of Reader’s Digest. After joining Shanghai United Foundation (SUF) as one of founding team members, she was responsible for public communication and fundraising, from the ground up to build the brand of the SUF and the famous peer-to-peer fundraising campaign “Shanghai Charity Egg Walkathon”.

She has rich fundraising consulting experience and provides strategic consulting and research support to foundations and CSR department of companies such as Tencent, Bosch China and Alibaba.

In 2015, She founded China Association of Fundraising Professionals (CAFP) Program. CAFP is the first and the only Fundraising Industry cultivation program dedicated to promoting the professionalization of the fundraising industry in China. In 2017, CAFP was registered as a charity organization – Fundraising Innovation Development Center (FIDC).

From 2017 to 2019, Ye Ying served as the CEO of FIDC and built it into an influential industry infrastructure in the field of professional fundraising in China. She is one of the major translators of the Chinese version of professional fundraising textbook “Fundraising Principles and Practice”. Since 2020, Ying Ye no longer holds a full-time position and serves as a board member of FIDC.

In the spring of 2020, Ying Ye joined in the ELC Intensive English Program at Georgetown University which is funded by Daofeng and Angela Foundation. When the program ended, she got stuck in the US because of the flight ban during the Covid-19 pandemic. To get herself out of trouble, she applied for the master degree program of Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, the best choice to advanced the knowledge of Philanthropy including granting and fundraising. At the same time, she joined the volunteer team as project manager of the Life Reservation Initiative to distribute PPEs to hospitals and communities in the tough time. In the fall of 2020, she successfully got the admission and scholarship, and enrolled in the master degree program of Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Ying Ye played a role as the lead researcher and made a major contribution to the report during her internship in DaoFeng and Angela Foundation in the summer, 2021.

Ying Ye (right two) got the certification from ELC at Georgetown University in 2020

About the Research Project


The full name of the project is “Comparative Research on Disaster Philanthropy Fundraising –International Experiences and Strategy Recommendations for NGOs in China.”  The China NGO Center for Disaster Risk Reduction (CNCDRR) and the Fundraising Innovation Development Center (FIDC) kicked out the preparation for this collaborative project in January, 2021 and searched for more resource including funding and intelligent resource to support the budget-limited project.

Dao Feng and Angela Foundation (formerly known as Daofeng & Angela Foundation) joined in this collaborative project in May, 2021.

The reason why Dao Feng and Angela Foundation would like to support this research project is that donating for disaster philanthropy in China is the most common scenario for general public and companies to reach NGOs. In other words, disaster giving is a valuable topic to cultivate a rational giving culture. Therefore, it is an important strategy to promote the development of China’s civil society by analyzing and making recommendations on China’s disaster philanthropic fundraising issues in comparison with international counterparts.

DAF supported Ying Ye as a lead researcher of this project as part of her internship in the foundation while the CNCDRR provided grants and network resources to support FIDC in mainland China. The research was completed in July, 2021 and the final designed report (Chinese version) was published in Oct, 2021. The English version of a brief report was completed and released in January, 2022.

The Targeted Issue

This research was conducted in the context of two natural disasters of the COVID-19 pandemic and the southern floods that happened in China that caused fundraising challenges for disaster philanthropic organizations. The final report presents the results of this research project that examines a set of challenges facing China’s disaster philanthropy industry in a comparative perspective.

The Objective

The research aims to identify the current fundraising challenges and provide feasible recommendations for Chinese disaster-related organizations based on the international experience.

The Methodology

The methodology adopted in this research includes:

  1. Literature review: collect organization and case information through official websites, social media, think tanks, industry research reports, media reports, academic journals, and other channels for sorting and analysis;
  2. Quantitative analysis: the fundraising data of 20 Internet fundraising platforms for China’s COVID-19 and the southern floods in 2020 were tracked and collected for quantitative analysis;
  3. Qualitative study (Online interviews): online interviews with disaster philanthropy organizations in mainland China and abroad were conducted to collect and supplement supporting information.
  4. Comparative analysis: conducted research on disaster fundraising both in China and in the United States, from various dimensions of the fundraising market, fundraising methods, fundraising challenges, and experience.

The Research Team

The report is the result of collaboration among the entire team:

  • Ying YE, Researcher of Dao Feng and Angela Foundation & Board member of FIDC, Lead Researcher;
  • Xiaoyun HUANG, Director of FIDC, Quantitative Researcher & Project Manager;
  • Yun KANG, Senior Consultant of FIDC, Qualitative Researcher.


Collaborative Partner Introduction



China NGO Center for Disaster Risk Reduction (CNCDRR) is committed to enhance the collaboration, communication, cooperation, and networking on emergency management and disaster response among foundations, foundations and government agencies, NGOs, and all sectors of the society.

CNCDRR was jointly established by China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, China Youth Development Foundation, One Foundation, Narada Foundation, and Tencent Foundation in Ya’an, Sichuan Province on April 29th, 2013. On July 19th, 2014, it registered a non-governmental and non-profit organization, “Chengdu Hezhong Public Welfare Developing Center” in Chengdu Civil Affairs Bureau as a sustainable and steady entity to promote China’s foundations’ effective engagement in disaster and emergency responses.


About FIDC

The Fundraising Innovation Development Center (FIDC) is committed to promoting the professional development of China’s charitable fundraising, advocating and cultivating a healthy giving culture by providing high-quality knowledge content, lowering the threshold of knowledge acquisition, and innovating capacity-building models. Our clients vary from fundraising platforms, public-fundraising foundations, corporate foundations, overseas foundations, private organizations, and industry platforms. The FIDC has released several insight reports introducing international fundraising textbooks and the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) in recent years. FIDC attaches importance to responding to social issues, carrying out fundraising ethics, and giving culture advocacy work. The China Fundraising Professionals Forum enjoys a good reputation due to its professional content and practical value.

[1] In China, foundations primarily account for operational foundations and mix foundations with self-operational and grantmaking features. Only foundations with public-fundraising certificates can conduct public-oriented fundraising activities.

Key Findings

Pain Points

Disaster philanthropy in China is highly dependent on public opinion, and the nature of disaster philanthropy fundraising has caused three major funding gaps:

  • Insufficient funding support for post-disaster stages.
  • The lack of social donations for small and medium-sized disasters.
  • The funding gap for the central and western regions.

In addition, fundraising expansion is bounded by the lack of industry-standard references, and the fear of charging management fees has further solidified the public’s cognitive bias.



1.Causes of the current fundraising challenges for disaster-related organizations in China

  • Lack of basic awareness towards disaster-related issues among the donation market.
  • Furthermore, the public and government lack awareness of the professional value of disaster philanthropy organizations.
  • Restrictions by a project-based fundraising logic upon disaster-related organizations.

In summary, the lack of public awareness of disasters and the work has led to a vicious circle: public opinion pressure forces organizations to launch projects that cater to donors, even at the cost of reducing or waiving management fees; In terms of fundraising content, only raising material supplies for the emergency response stage strengthens the stereotype towards disaster philanthropy work. Therefore, organizations must shift from catering to the intuitive impulse of donors to emphasizing the cultivation and guidance of rational cognition, and reshape the fundraising logic in the field of disaster philanthropy.

2.Comparative analysis: strategies and practices in disaster philanthropy fundraising in the United States

The Disaster Philanthropic Fundraising Shares Similar Challenges in US and in China – The donation funds are largely spent in the emergency response and relief phase, while financial support in the disaster preparedness and mitigation phases is relatively low.  To solve the imbalance problem of funding, philanthropic organizations in the United States  adopt several fundraising strategies as follows.

  • Establish crisis response partnerships with public media to raise awareness.
  • Set up a response fund for non-major disasters with low public concern.
  • Establish a non-restricted funding pool for disaster preparedness.
  • Attach importance to the cultivation of the donation market and promote rational giving.


This research proposes strategies and recommendations for the development of industrial infrastructure of China’s disaster philanthropy field and disaster-related fundraising.

1.External: strengthen advocacy and fundraising reasoning

The lack of a cognitive foundation in the donation market is the root cause of the current fundraising problems in the disaster field. The government, organizations, and the public media need to set up a promotion matrix and popularize the disaster topic.


The best strategy to clarify these concerns and deliver core value messages is to choose a ‘third-party testimony’, which is through government-approved, influential media and opinion leaders, or project stakeholders such as beneficiaries, funders, volunteers, and donors.


The field of disaster philanthropy should align with the Chinese government’s strategic planning and strive for more official recognition to attract more public and corporate support for donations beyond the emergency response stage. At the same time, the infrastructure organizations of disaster philanthropy field should work across departments of Chinese governments to conduct policy advocacy, and to carry out public opinion advocacy work.

2.Internal: donor cultivation with a shift of fundraising logic

(1) Change the existing fundraising logic

It is necessary to break through the limitations of the existing fundraising logic that often leads to project fragmentation. Organizations excessively rely on the support of data traffic of large online fundraising platforms, which gradually formed a project-based fundraising mechanism. Such bottom logic urges to be reversed, especially in the disaster philanthropy field.


Organizations can adapt the branding logic by building a trustworthy philanthropic brand in the disaster field, rather than carrying out project-based fundraising activities. The key difference is that it is the professional organization’s effort in solving complex social problems that stand out the most for the audience, rather than one particular project.


  • Create a strong brand positioning in the disaster philanthropy field by emphasizing the organization’s professional value
  • Launch different fundraising products based on the organization’s positioning

(2) Cultivate a mature donation market

The non-profit sector needs to carry out market cultivation to receive sustainable donations for the disaster relief work, especially for the non-emergency response stage.


Organizations need to strengthen advocacy towards public opinion to improve the industry’s overall fundraising basis and to support fundraising in the emergency response stage. Meanwhile, funding for the non-emergency response stage requires professional organizations to cultivate major donors, large-scale funding foundations, and enterprises in response to their needs.


  • The field of disaster philanthropy needs to jointly launch a large-scale advocacy campaign in a 3-5 year cycle.
  • Organizations in the field of disaster philanthropy need to strengthen their industrial advocacy towards their partners, including companies, foundations, and online platforms.

For more information about the research, pls see the attached research report.



Explore Projects by Theme

Comparative Research on Faith

Learn More

Research and Practice of Universal Values

Learn More

Conservation of Heritage & Tradition

Learn More