The LGBTQ Association (pseudonym) facilitates community dialogues that promote tolerance and understanding for LGBTQ lifestyles and provides support services for LGBTQ youth in the face of social or cultural discrimination. The issue of LGBTQ rights in China remains controversial and many groups have experienced restrictions by authorities. Despite this, through transparent and positive ties with local governments and police offices, the organization has avoided censure or large-scale restriction of its activities. When this group first began, it relied on personal contributions from its founders, who were parents of LGBTQ youth. Having grown into a large network, the Association relies heavily on a diversified online fundraising strategy, using platforms like Tencent’s 9/9 Charity Day, Alibaba Charity, and New Rice Charity. New Rice rewards users for “healthy activities” with “rice” funds that can then be donated to a charitable cause of their choice. The unique aspect of this latter platform is that it enables youth who lack their own funds to support causes they care about; it is financially supported by companies and the government. Contributions from Chinese foundations account for nearly 40 percent of the Association’s funds. A little under 10 percent is generated from the online store where it sells LGBTQ-themed items and engages in small fee-for-service projects.
Theory of Change
Advocating for LGBTQ rights through constructive community dialogue and extensive contacts with supportive individuals helps resolve conflict and strive for an equal and dignified social environment.
The Association promotes the use of online and offline dialogues, trainings, national and regional conferences as well as other types of forums organized by volunteers to spread awareness of the issues that LGBTQ youth face in modern China. It also provides professional emergency “hotline” counseling for LGBTQ youth, and in cooperation with nonprofit, for-profit, and government institutions, it aims to provide mental health services for LGBTQ youth in the face of social or cultural discrimination.
The Association has active volunteer teams in cities throughout China with a large network of LGBTQ individuals and family members, and their supporters. Each chapter consists of a “core volunteer” that coordinates activities and links members with online materials and opportunities. A strong relationship with government and extensive membership network among the families of LGBTQ youth gives this organization a strong advantage for continued volunteer recruitment and donation solicitation. The Association instituted a highly participatory governance model that includes not only a Board of Trustees, but also a Supervisory Board made up of mental health and legal experts, nonprofit professionals, volunteer leaders, and government officials. This dual governing structure allows for input from a diverse set of stakeholders that can advocate for new fundraising ideas and ensure their target population is being effectively served.