Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs for NGOs

Asian Charity Services defines Capacity Building as actions taken to create a positive impact on the organizational capacity and members of the nonprofits, thereby improving the overall effectiveness of how the nonprofit delivers its services and how it impacts the community.

ACS provides pro-bono, project-based training specifically for the leadership team of nonprofits. Current core programs offered include Strategic Planning, Board Governance and  Fundraising. All projects are based on a pre-designed curriculum. We currently do not provide individually-customized consulting services.

See our Programs 

ACS programs are not designed for newly set-up nonprofits that have been in operation less than one year. Our programs are developed to empower nonprofit leaders to work through common strategic and organizational challenges. High impact nonprofits prepared to evaluate and tackle such internal as well as external challenges may have need of ACS services.

ACS works specifically with the leadership team of NGOs. As such, executive directors, board members, as well as key senior staff are invited to participate in the workshops.

We aim to work with small to medium sized nonprofits that are making real and recognizable impact in the local communities through the programs they offer. Our ACS training programs are NOT designed for start-up organizations, but rather, they are for organizations that are going through an inflection point in their growth: for example, organizations may be looking to breakthrough long-standing challenges or to renew their strategic focus. Nonprofits are also selected based on factors such as their overall track record, their readiness to change and the leadership team’s overall engagement level.

Here is an estimation of the time you need to commit to our training series.

Engage: 6-20 hours over 9-week depending on whether on not your NGO moves ahead with the program.

Sprint: 1 hour orientation + 9 hours on Hackathon day.

Ignite: 2 hours topical orientation + 4 hours seminar execution.

Ascend: 12-18 hours over 5-8 weeks.

The ACS curriculum is strategic in its tone, and does require participants to familiarize themselves with basic strategy and business concepts throughout the training process. Generally speaking, we require both the executive director and the board members to approve, and be fully committed to, the training process. In addition to sending four participants from the leadership team to the three 3-hour workshops, nonprofits are advised to schedule internal meetings in between the workshops to discuss and synthesize the workshop outcomes, as well as to resolve strategic development issues. The process is recognizably intensive, yet highly rewarding.
ACS’ priority is to bring about a renewed way of thinking and perceiving to the leadership team of a nonprofit on how to build it up. The training and consultancy are designed to be a catalyst to trigger transformation, ACS does not provide support to nonprofits to implement their plans, however, ACS volunteer consultants may, at their option, choose to continue to support strategy implementation.
Asian Charity Services will schedule for our volunteer consultants to visit with nonprofits six months after the completion of the workshops to assess how well the nonprofits are implementing their plans.
The ACS curriculum is developed as a train-by-doing model to enable nonprofits’ leaders to tackle organizational challenges in a structured and systematic process. This discipline of planning and problem solving is a learned skill which ACS aims to impart to the leadership of nonprofits through the use of the internally developed ACS curricula as well as through the invaluable input of ACS volunteer consultants with business know-how and professional expertise.
Participation in ACS workshops often builds up significant momentum within the leadership team of nonprofits and board members generally become much more engaged in supporting the organization’s development as a result. Some have observed a greater degree of alignment in their mission and strategic direction, which impacts how the team would more effectively implement programs and plans. The insights and reflections generated through the joint discussion with volunteer consultants from the corporate sector lead the nonprofits’ leadership teams to rethink their positioning and to re-focus their strategy to maximize impact.

FAQs for volunteers

Each ACS project comprises  a) a mini-consulting project and b) a series of training workshops.

For the mini-consulting project, two to three interviews will need to be completed by each volunteer consultant, and a final report prepared. A time commitment of no more than 9 hours over a 3- week period is required for the mini-consulting project. 

For the training workshops, ACS volunteer consultants are expected to attend all three 3-hour sessions. Including the time required to prepare for the workshops and to complete research assignments, total number of hours to be contributed would amount to approximately 18 hours over a 4- to 6- week period. 

As Asian Charity Services aims to uphold the professionalism and standards of our services provided to the leadership teams of nonprofits, we ask that the volunteer consultants view the projects they sign up for with a high degree of commitment in terms of their attendance and consulting support work.

Asian Charity Service provides a detailed workshop package for our volunteer consultants. Project brief, charity background information, sample curriculum templates, as well as reference readings are always duly provided.

The ACS workshops are conducted using a specially designed curriculum which provides a clear roadmap for volunteer consultants to walk through the strategic discussions.

To help the volunteer consultants become familiarized with the ACS process and the curriculum, we run general briefings for our volunteer consultants, as well as basic one-on-one facilitator coaching.

Volunteer consultants are grouped into a team of four to serve one charity client. We bring together business professionals from various industries / organizations, many of whom are mid- to senior level business executives. We then go through a vigorous process to select and assign a team of volunteer consultants to a single charity client, based on the needs and situation of the charity client.
As our training workshops are designed for volunteer consultants and charity clients to co-develop a basic business plan through the three workshops, it is very important that the volunteer consultants commit to attending all three workshops so that they can fully contribute to the development process. For this reason, when we select and assign volunteer consultants, we tend to give priority to those who can commit to attending all three workshops.
We require our volunteer consultants to have a minimum of five years of work experience. However, we do not require volunteers to have had previous experience working with nonprofits or previous consulting experience in order to be qualified. The key is to have a deep interest in serving the local community, and to be skilled in critically thinking through issues and developing solutions for key organizational challenges.

Asian Charity Services regularly recruits volunteers from the corporate sector, and we give careful consideration to many factors throughout the selection process. In addition to accepting only applicants with at least five years’ work experience, we tend to involve applicants who are available for all three workshops.

We also carefully analyze the needs of the charity clients and assess the types of volunteer consultants that would be the best match. Relevant functional skills, years of work experience, industry and education background, and language proficiency are a few of the key selection criteria.

For each of the nonprofits that ACS confirms as charity clients, ACS works vigorously to match them with a volunteer team with the most appropriate mix of relevant skill sets, background and experience. With this systematic matching process, volunteer consultants will not be able to choose which nonprofits they work with.

A volunteer consultant’s commitment is in completing the specific ACS project, which ends with the completion of the workshops. However, volunteer consultants do have the option to continue supporting the charity clients on their own as they deem agreeable.

This volunteer activity will no longer be part of an ACS project and the amount of volunteering time is subject to the individual’s arrangement with the nonprofit. There had been incidences when past ACS volunteer consultants went on to continue volunteering and even to become board members of the charity clients whom they had served.

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