To help clients prioritize battle fields with understandings of ground-level needs, organizational capacity, external expectation and founding value, set near-/long-term target, being both forward-looking and feasible; lay out key work modules and roadmap such as needed resources, team, and branding.
Development of customized and localized CSR strategy as well as roadmap; fund allocation and major program design based on existing CSR strategy; execution management, including partner selection, CSR program implementation, monitoring and evaluation; PMO (Project Management Office) support.
Qiang Emroidery - Social Enterprise Scale-up
The Qiang Embroidery Aid Center aims to rebuild Qiang women's livelihoods and preserve the ancient heritage after the 5.12 earthquake in Sichuan. The enterprise faces various difficulties in its first year of operation, including low sales, high operation cost, and limited distribution network. VA did the strategic consulting for the Qiang Embroidery in 2009 focusing on developing the social enterprise's lasting self-sufficiency and capability.
- Interviewed local embroiderers, government officials, key accounts and business managers to understand needs and challenges
- Analyzed market opportunities and benchmarked with best practices to identify target market segment and key accounts
- Analyzed the realistic targets for sales and to-be-supported households
- Determined the "core" products, marketing mode, and inventory controlling methods
- Set up the mechanism after 2009 to sustain the operations
“Lightening up Liangshan” Project Phase I
Jet Li’s One Foundation purchased solar lanterns from D.light Design, a social venture, to bring brightness to the poor region. A pilot in 150 households were conducted by a local NGO to examine the feasibility and measure impact. VA was invited to manage and monitor the project progress, evaluate results and align future objectives.
- Assessed the social impact and future commercial feasibility of scaling up solar lights distribution to other communities on a long-term basis
- Coordinated multiple stakeholders – the foundation, the social venture, the NGO and the media – to ensure interests and objectives were always aligned and action plans were executed on a timely manner
- Provided guidance and feedback for the execution partner on project implementation, budgeting, research methodology and report write-up
- Conducted regular visit to the local villages to interview farmers and government officials with objective to understand the satisfaction level, suggestions for future improvement
- Reached out to media and corporate partners with designed plan for the project scale-up
Strategic Plan for West China College Student Loan Project
There are approximately 1.4 million college students coming from poor families in western China. Despite of increasing coverage of national student loan, poor students still cannot afford increasing cost of education and living. Invited by Fuping School, VA conducted a market study for its West China College Student Loan Project (CSLP) and composed a business plan to tackle the huge untapped philanthropy needs.
- Surveyed 400 potential lenders from tier-1 Chinese cities to understand their willingness to provide low-interest personal loans and particularly interviewed key providers of student loans
- Talked to management team of 5 western colleges to seek their support on future CSLP projects
- Talked to government to understand the future development of state loan project in China
- Designed 4 sets of low-interest student loan products, to address students' needs for tuition, living, training and emergency during college study
- Formulated social business objectives, strategies, business plan and action plan
Project-Based CSR Partnership with A Leading Global Alcoholic Beverages Group
A leading alcoholic beverages group was launching “Project W” globally to empower under-privileged women. VA was invited to facilitate project design and implementation in China.
- Developed a few project options, leveraging VA’s knowledge and resources in China’s social sector
- Completed project design after agreeing on target non-profit organization
- Prepared proposal and other materials to get approval from the company’s AP headquarter
- Provided advisory to the non-profit organization to solve operational issues
- Conducted project monitoring and prepared quarterly progress repot
- Expected to carry out a final evaluation upon project completion focusing on social impact and operational efficiency
CSR Strategy Development - Participation Model
A leading luxury car maker planned to set up a charitable fund in China dedicated to CSR activities. VA was invited to help identify an optimal CSR participation model and develop a road map.
- Researched CSR activities of selected MNCs and identified general trends
- Identified 3 available models of implementing CSR programs in China, with pros and cons analysis for each model
- Determined the most suitable CSR participation model
- Provided high-level recommendation for foundation set-up preparation
Strategic Planning for Lao Niu Foundation
The year of 2014 is the 10th anniversary of Lao Niu Foundation (LNF). From June to August, VA partnered with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors to provide strategic planning to help LNF become more focused and impactful.
- Analyzed achievement and challenges of LNF
- Researched market demand and donation distribution in different areas such as education, environment, healthcare, etc.
- Benchmarked leading families foundations globally via interview and desktop research, and summarized trends and best practices
- Provided strategic recommendations and roadmap
East Asia Social Investment Scoping Study
VA was engaged in a scoping study of social investment in nine East Asian countries and regions including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia, etc. The study is to provide evidence for the client to launch a regional social investment platform.
- Understand and analyze the development status of social investment eco-system in East Asia and key challenges faced by social investors, through interviews and literature review
- Study how a regional social investment platform could potentially address the issues discovered and its value
- Provide recommendations on platform design, its business model and road map
Technical Proposal - Intermediary Services for Hong Kong SIE Fund
VA was engaged in the development of a technical proposal to provide intermediary services for the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund (SIE Fund) set up by the Hong Kong government. The proposed intermediary services include capacity building and innovative programs.
- Analyze major social issues and challenges in Hong Kong, and understand the objectives and focus areas of the SIE Fund
- Benchmark government social innovation funds in other developed markets such as UK, US and Australia through literature review, to understand their service scopes, approaches, and key success factors
- Develop proposal on intermediary services including training, incubation, bridge funding and market access platform for the HK SIE Fund
Asian Development Bank - Inclusive Business Project
Provide strategy consulting and project implementation services to Asian Development Bank to find, incubate and invest in inclusive small and medium enterprises in China that can create additional good-paying jobs for the low-income population
- Worked with the Shanxi Poverty Alleviation Office to screen and incubate small and medium agribusinesses that can alleviate poverty for the local farmers. After incubation, 19 companies have successfully received investment from Asian Development Bank
- Initiated the first research study of inclusive businesses in China in partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Presented results to over 250 domestic and international experts at the China Poverty Reduction International Forum. Published findings on Stanford Social Innovation Review
- Designed an incubation program in partnership with ADB for 100 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to pivot from declining coal-reliant economies to focus on sustainable sectors, which is forecasted to create 5,000 new jobs in the next five years