The Role of Philanthropy in Chinese CSR

CSR Philanthropy - Collective Responsibility

On March 30th, we invited Dr. Ko Liu Ying from Shanghai United Family Hospital, and Adam Rosenberg from GeiLi Giving to share their insights on the topic of Philanthropy in CSR at the School of Economics at Shanghai University. Dr. Ko has been engaged in dental care for 20 years and is currently working at Shanghai United Family Hospital as the director of the Corporate Social Responsibility department. Adam Rosenberg is a Problem Solver Extraordinaire at GeiLi Giving, which curates project guaranteeing transparency and creates CSR campaigns for corporations.

Dr. Ko’s talk focused on CSR in the health care system, calling for a greater emphasis on preventative care and student engagement in charitable causes. Adam’s also touched on topics of CSR and project guarantee, as well as GeiLi Giving’s WeChat app that connects charities to Chinese netizens through engaging challenges to encourage giving. Adam focused on the topic of donating to charity in China, and the associated challenges charities have faced here.

There lies great market potential in donating to charities and CSR development, but the market can sometimes prove difficult to stimulate or stir initiative. As one of the largest economies, there is immense potential for donating to rise in the future with more education, transparency, and initiative. Here are our three key takeaways from the talk:


Unlike in western countries, volunteering and charitable giving aren’t taught at a young age in China. This means that adults have to learn later on, which makes it hard to provide education, resources and even reasons why they should help others. Dr. Ko spoke about the need for better education and preventative care in the healthcare system, as well as cross-sector collaboration. If hospitals work with governments, and NGOs work with corporations, these collaborations could be key to improving the health care system.

On the side of charitable donations, money is an important aspect, but there are other ways in which individuals can be encouraged to donate. Dr. Ko noted that it’s important for students to understand that money isn’t the most important thing they can donate – volunteering time and skills is equally as important. Adam mentioned that a lack of education largely contributes to fewer donations to charitable causes; many people simply don’t know to whom or how they can donate. An increase in education about why it’s important to support charitable causes and a platform which easily facilitates donations and transparency is crucial.

CSR Philanthropy - Collective Responsibility


Transparency was a key theme of both talks and is an important aspect of the growth and integrity of any system. Transparency will greatly help in cross-sector collaboration in the health care system, and help all parties to improve. It will also greatly increase the willingness to donate time or money to charitable causes. One student asked an excellent question: “I want to donate money to charities, but how will I know how it is used?” Should they choose to donate in monetary value, donors need to be sure that their money is being put to good use. Adam explained that that’s a service his company provides through their app – not only does the donor have many different charities to choose from, but there is total transparency in where their donation goes.


Another equally important theme from the talks was of individual initiative. Adam noted that while Chinese do want to donate, they often lack initiative because they need three things to take action: a trigger, transparency, and trust. A trigger is needed as a catalyst bringing an NGO and worthy cause to attention. They need transparency, to know where and how their money is being spent, and they need trust; they need to be able to trust a proven brand, organization, or proven brand with name recognition. With better education, perhaps in the future, we might see a rise in education about charitable giving, as well as preventative care in the healthcare system.

In the Q&A session other students asked questions about how they would know which charity to donate to, and if the charities GeiLi Giving worked with were Chinese or foreign. This student engagement was an encouraging result, and perhaps using education, transparency, and initiative in CSR, donations, and the healthcare system will lead to more efficient systems of caring in the future.

The talk is part of Collective Responsibility’s Beyond Business As Usual Speech Series.

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