LIN on Tuoi Tre news

NGO rewards volunteer story with up to $750

THI-BAY Miradoli, Phuong Thuy
Updated : Tue, December 14, 2010,5:43 PM (GMT+0700)

Dana Doan, Advisory Board Member of the Ho Chi Minh City-based LIN Center for Community Development
Photo: Phuong Thuy

Ho Chi Minh City-based LIN Center for Community Development recently awarded prizes of up to VND15 million for winners of the Volunteer Stories Competition 2010.

Tuoi Tre talked to Pham Truong Son, Community Liaison and Dana Doan, Advisory Board Member about the organization’s vision and goals, the contest and their plans to turn the volunteer stories into a book.

Can you tell us about the Volunteer Stories Competition 2010 launched this year’s summer?

We asked volunteers and volunteer host organizations for their volunteering stories, videos and pictures to recognize their efforts and promote volunteerism in Vietnam. We offered category prizes, including different age groups and types of volunteers, such as most creative and highest impact. Although we expected about 40 to 50 stories, we received 100 submissions and over 200 photos mainly from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. One of the winners came from Tien Giang Province in the Mekong Delta.

The grand prize to a volunteer was VND5 million (US$250) in cash to the volunteer and VND5 million in cash to a not-for-profit organization of his/her choice. If the volunteer decided to donate the VND5 million, we would double it so that the organization would get VND15 million in total, so the prize could range from VND10 to 15 million. The grand prize entry by a volunteer host organization received VND10 million.

The stories were evaluated by a panel of volunteer judges, from Hanoi and HCMC. Some were donors, others volunteers including a representative from the United Nations Volunteer Program (UNV).

Tell us about LIN Center for Community Development

We are registered as a non-governmental organization (NGO) and we added not-for-profit to our charter. We partner with locally established not-for-profit organizations (NPOs) and individual and corporate philanthropists.

LIN’s staff consists or two full-time, paid Vietnamese employees, a part-time consultant and a lot of part-time volunteers. Our executive director, chief accountant and HR manager are all working pro-bono, on a part-time basis.

A lot of our work targets staff capacity building. We organize regular half-day trainings for NPOs on topics of shared interest. We also refer them to more in-depth training programs offered in the community and/or try to match them with skilled volunteers who can provide them with targeted support whether a donation, pro-bono services and/or logistical support, according to their needs. We also do philanthropic advisory work for individual and corporate donors.


Left to Right: Ta Thuy Chau, Ha Xuan Trung, Le Thi Bang Tam, Doan Manh Kham, Nguyen Tran Hoang Anh, Nguyen Thi Thu Ha, Tran Ngoc Tran, Sara Jewett Nieuwoudt, Do Thi Nhu Tam, Ngo Quynh Nhu, Dana R.H. Doan, Lam Bao Quang

What have your biggest challenges been so far?

Skilled Volunteerism is a new concept in Vietnam where the word volunteer typically conjures up thoughts of students doing charitable work. We have found it a bit challenging to get individuals and companies excited about sharing their skills with NPO staff. The issues we face are both the busy schedules of most professionals and also a lack of familiarity with the model.

For example, Intel does a lot to promote volunteerism such as giving credits to staff for every hour they serve as a volunteer or allowing them to volunteer during work hours. Other companies are starting to introduce corporate volunteer programs as well.

In which way do you think LIN is unique?

There are several organizations that train not-for-profit staff but LIN trainings are different. In terms of donor advisory services, there may be overseas organizations providing this service to overseas donors but there is no one addressing the needs of the Vietnamese market.

Can you tell us about your plans to turn the volunteer stories into a book?

After receiving so many inspiring submissions, we decided to compile them together into a bilingual Vietnamese-English booklet to get more people excited about volunteering. Fortunately, we have found some amazingly talented Volunteers to help us with the book – from translation to graphic design. We hope to complete the book by end of November, beginning of December, in honor of International Volunteer day, which falls on December 5.

What are some of your other initiatives?

On October 21 we brought together corporate, government and NGO grant-makers for a full day of dialogue at HCMC’s first Grant-maker Forum. Intel, Unilever, Cargill, the HCMC Youth Association, Irish Aid and AusAid were just some of the fifty representatives who participated in the forum.

Other upcoming activities include a network for volunteer organizations in HCMC, a workshop on strategic planning, and our third grant round of the year (proposals are due by November 19th), where NPOs can apply for grants of up to VND27 million.
Son started his NGO career by volunteering for HIV/AIDS harm reduction project at the HCMC Culture House while also managing an HIV/AIDS youth peer education group.

After over 10 years working in HIV/AIDS related issues, he is now contributing his wide range of community knowledge and skills to community development/social work as LIN Center for Community Development’s Community Liaison. He believes LIN’s initiatives are filling important needs within the local NGO/NPO community.

As a Consultant and Advisory Board Member, Dana advises the team on LIN’s strategic planning activities and fundraising efforts. Prior to joining LIN, Dana worked with the US-Vietnam Trade Council and Education Forum ( as an International Trade Policy Analyst. In that role, she organized and facilitated technical assistance programs and bilateral meetings and events for officials representing the US and Vietnamese governments, US companies, and the international trade and aid community. From 2004 to 2009, Dana also served as a Member of the AmCham – United Way Vietnam Allocation Committee (in a pro-bono capacity), annually evaluating grant applications by charitable organizations seeking program funds (

More information about the LIN Center for Community Development can be found at

Posted in LIN Stories

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