Since the announcement of the “Suggestions for the Third-Party Evaluation of Social Organizations (关于探索建立社会组织第三方评估机制的指导意见)” in May 2015, organizations and companies have been set up for carrying out third-party evaluations for NGOs. According to the Report of Charitable Projects Evaluation published by the Philanthropy and NGO Support Center in late 2017, the growth rate of the number of these organizations is 22% from 2014-2017. This means that the third-party evaluation work has been transferred from the Ministry of Civil Affairs to these “professional” evaluators.
The Philanthropy and NGO Support Center has been supporting the development of third-party evaluation of NGO projects since 2013. Researchers at the center found that the evaluation institutes did not have standards across the sector and the evaluation reports were often too descriptive rather than analytical. Zheng Guosheng, an expert at the center, pointed out that the sector is still lacking talents. The institutes which know about NGOs lack the expertise in doing evaluation work; the organizations which professionalize in evaluations know very little about NGOs. In his analysis last year (中国社会组织评估：十年的进展与挑战), Zheng revealed the phenomenon that the evaluators are often too young and inexperienced to do the job. When talking to experienced NGO leaders for making evaluations, they feel incompetent and tend to give high marks to these NGOs. As a result, there are 90% social organizations marked as 4A or above, and 40-50% ranked as 5A. Therefore, the NGOs do not usually get useful guidance from the evaluation work. Instead, obviously wrong advice is received at times.
In order to improve the sector, the Evaluation Support Platform for Philanthropy was launched in April 2018 by the Philanthropy and NGO Support Center, China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation and more. Companies such as SGS, PWC, and Deloitte are also founding organizations. It is hoped that these companies can help upgrade the sector of NGO projects evaluation in China.