Facilitators advocates for the empowerment and active social participation of migrant workers and their families. Its aim is to support grassroots civil society organizing in order to address discrimination against marginalized groups. Rather than engaging in direct public policy advocacy; however, Facilitators educates the public through stories about the problems migrants are facing and how public participation can improve their lives on a practical level. Initially dependent on foreign funding, Facilitators changed its legal status in order to diversify its revenue base. It had been founded in 2003 as a company, but re-registered as a social organization in 2010 to qualify for Chinese government funding. By 2017, it was receiving 80% of its revenue in government contracts to support community services to migrant families and establish a Social Organization Development Center to provide training and consulting to CSOs, creating a new sustainability challenge. From 2017 Facilitators started crowdfunding and in the next two years were able to raise money for various projects.
Theory of Change
Promoting and empowering the active participation of migrant workers and their families in society, including through aiding the development of grassroots CSOs pursuing those aims, is critical to addressing discrimination against marginalized groups.
The organization’s cores services are: 1) providing services and assistance to migrant workers and their families; 2) research and advocacy to promote a dialogue between government, business and CSOs: 3) training, guidance and consultation for government, business and social sector leaders; 4) public education to promote understanding between migrant and mainstream communities; 5) incubating grassroots CSOs to build a platform between the government, CSO and business sectors. With the Shanghai United Foundation, they crowdfunded USD 44,500 to support the production of a documentary. They used the Alipay platform to raise USD 28,000 to support school fees for migrant children. Cooperating with the Tencent platform in 2019, they successfully raised a target of USD 300,000 to support community services. Crowdfunding strengthens Facilitators’ social legitimacy because they now have to communicate to their donors about their work on a regular basis.
By 2018, Facilitators had reduced its reliance on government funding from 80% to 50–60%, with 30–40% coming from local and international foundations and 10% from crowdfunding. Facilitators also earns a negligible amount of revenue from fees charged by its community center based on the family’s ability to pay; it keeps fees very low, however, to avoid favoring higher-income families. Facilitators believes crowdfunding helps to educate the public and encourage their participation. It also strengthens the organization’s social legitimacy because crowdfunding facilitates regular communication with individual donors.