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[The Charities]: Where And What To Donate This Holiday

Some ideas for where best to put your charitability.
Last updated: 2019-12-17

It's not too late to end 2019 with a little moolah in the karmic bank. We spoke to several of the charities around town about what they need most from you –– time, money, clothing –– and how you can give it to them.

What to Donate: Money and Goods

The Chi Heng Foundation

This NGO, whose name means "wisdom in action," funds and operates projects in education and care for children and adults impacted by AIDS who might otherwise be excluded or discriminated against for their illness. Roughly 85% of the organization's expenses go towards orphans, vulnerable children, and youth programs.

What To Donate: Money, time, and necessities. CHF accepts money in a number of ways including PayPal, check, direct deposit, and wire transfer. For an idea of what your donation will support:

Funds needed per year to support a student:
A primary student: 400rmb
A junior high school student: 600rmb
A vocational school student: 4,200rmb
A senior high school student: 4,400rmb
A university student: 5,540rmb

See this page for more details.

You can volunteer for fundraising, event planning, and office support. Complete and submit the form on this page.

CHF also accepts donations in-kind such as milk powder, daily necessities, and school supplies. Send an email to for more information and to discuss the specifics of donating goods.

The Giving Tree

The Community Center Shanghai runs Giving Tree which helps children in rural China. Gift bags sponsored by companies, community groups, and schools are hand-delivered to left-behind children in remote village schools.

What to Donate: Money. Support Giving Tree by purchasing a set of Giving Tree Greeting Cards. Each set of four cards was illustrated and designed by a Giving Tree recipient. The cards are 50rmb per set with all proceeds going towards the Giving Tree program. They can be bought directly from the CCS Pudong and Minhang offices or by emailing

What to Donate: Time

The Community Center Shanghai (CCS)

A not-for-profit organization that was established over 20 years ago, CCS connects, enables, and supports expats in Shanghai. In addition to providing classes, tours, counseling services, and social events, CCS also offers charity programs.

For example, CharityLINK events educate, promote, and connect NGO/charity organizations with prospective volunteers looking to give back.

What to Donate: Time. Email if you're interested in volunteering, becoming a CharityLINK Member Organization, guest speaker or venue sponsor.

The CCS Pudong Center accepts book donations for its Used Book Library.

Essential Learning Group

A social enterprise that's been operating in China since 2006, ELG's primary mission is to support families, schools, community groups, and other professionals who help children with special needs. Their Full-Time Programs are located in Putuo and Pudong, but specialists regularly travel across Shanghai and to neighboring cities such as Suzhou, Hangzhou, and Nanjing. ELG's therapeutic services are individualized and multidisciplinary, offering support plans for families covering all relevant areas of a child's life.

What To Donate: Time. Get in touch with ELG here to learn about making a referral, scheduling training, or getting consulting support. You can also reach out to their Clients Services Team at

HandsOn Shanghai

A non-profit organization founded in 2004 that promotes volunteering. A bit broad, but more concretely, they currently have more than 500 volunteers each month working on more than 120 local service projects, and more than 50 community partners. They run programs for education, elderly care, children's health, and the environment.

What To Donate: Time. Visit this page for more information on how to get started.


Lifeline is a free and anonymous hotline for individuals in times of emotional distress or crisis. We've written about it. Whatever the reason, you can get help from a trained volunteer offering non-judgmental support. Their 10am-10pm helpline is geared towards suicide prevention, help with anxiety, improving self esteem, and basically anything else you are having trouble with.

What To Donate: Time. Lifeline is always in need of volunteers who make their work possible. If you're interested in taking part, visit this page to have a look at the Volunteer Information Kit and to fill out and submit an application form.

What to Donate: They'll Take It All

Xiersen Children Service Center

ELG's sister affiliate NGO, was officially registered and established in China in 2014, to "improve the condition of special education in China for Chinese people." They work on many meaningful projects and were featured on SmartShanghai.

What To Donate: Time and money. Xiersen is always looking for more help from volunteers at events, with translation or even graphic design. They also accept cash and in-kind donations such as venue support, financial support, marketing, and media support. Cash donations go towards their three main pillar projects: AGAME, Careers in Care (CIC), and Special Educators Abroad. Contact them at

Heart to Heart

A special fund of Rende Foundation, Heart to Heart is a non-profit organization composed of volunteers that provide care and support to Chinese children undergoing heart surgery, whose parents cannot afford to pay. They also help with hospital playroom sessions, collection and distribution of clothing and other miscellaneous items, knitting, sewing and participation in fund-raising projects and events. Donated funds are only used on the projects specified by the donors; no funds are used for reimbursement, salaries or any other ancillary expenses.

What To Donate: Money, time, clothing and necessities. For example, H2H contributes 30,000rmb towards each such surgery. This amount usually either pays for the entire surgery or provides enough funds to enable the child's family to be able to finance the remainder. For their school library project, they have found that 20,000rmb is enough to sponsor a new library for a rural school. 5,000rmb will fund a sports equipment program. 3,000rmb will provide meals for 17 families while their children are in the hospital.

Otherwise, you can get involved by volunteering, sponsoring an operation, knitting or sewing clothing for the heart bears they sell, as well as donating clothes and other necessities. Visit this page for more details on how to donate money and or supplies. They especially need: full-sized children's toothpaste, baby toys, towels & washcloths, full-sized adult toothpaste, winter clothing for ages 1-8, men's winter clothing and girls' backpacks.

Visit this page for volunteering.

Home Sweet Home

A group that meets every Wednesday morning and Saturday afternoon near Shanghai Railway Station, Home Sweet Home invites homeless people in Shanghai to a safe place where they can eat, shower, collect clothes and just generally feel welcome and appreciated. Home Sweet Home also provides vocational and life skill training for people with special needs to help them eventually live independently and find jobs.

What To Donate: Money, time and goods. Volunteers can lend a hand or help with projects like English teaching and design. Cash donations go towards the outreach program on Wednesdays and Saturdays, specifically food, cleaning supplies, underwear, socks and toiletry items.

Send an email to if you are interested in volunteering or donating goods. Home Sweet Home accepts household items and office furniture (new or used). Visit the donations page for more details.

Second Chance Animal Aid (SCAA)

Second Chance Animal Aid is a non-profit aimed at improving the health and welfare of pets through methods that prevent them from ending up in a traditional shelter. They aim to do this through education, advocacy, medical care, and foster care for animals without a home.

What To Donate: Money, time, your forever home. You can foster a pet temporarily, adopt one for life, or donate time, money, or goods. Money donated goes towards veterinary care costs for foster pets, which average 13,000rmb, transportation, and other administrative costs. Please visit this page for more details.

SCAA is always in need of veterinary products which help reduce care costs. You can visit the donations page for a list of items that are in demand. You can visit their website for more info.

Shanghai Young Bakers

This is a charity program that provides underprivileged and marginalized young Chinese people between the ages of 17 and 23 with bakery classes, practical internships, and English classes to improve career development options. We interviewed Cecile Cavoizy, Shanghai Young Bakers' former Executive Director, not too long ago.

What To Donate: Money, time, and sponsorships. SYB is always looking for more volunteers to help with translating, fundraising, organizing events, designing, and even event photography. Each month they organize a volunteer's meeting, where everyone is welcome. Send an email to or visit their site.

They also accept in-kind donations to reduce operational costs and improve students' living conditions. Donate items to help students settle in, general baking supplies, ingredients, and more. Visit this page or send them an email at

Individuals or organizations can make financial contributions, with sponsorships or by providing pro-bono services. Visit this page for more details.

Stepping Stones

Stepping Stones trains and supports hundreds of volunteers to teach English, digital literacy and other subjects to thousands of disadvantaged students each week at dozens of project sites in Shanghai and rural China through volunteer visits and online lessons. They also provide training to their teachers and run other charitable projects, including the provision of eye care.

What To Donate: Time, money and supplies. Stepping Stones is always in need of volunteers to teach English and digital literacy to migrant, left-behind and other disadvantaged students. Visit this page to sign up. Aside from teaching, you can also apply to be an intern with Stepping Stones.

They accept cash too. 200rmb can provide free English lessons for one child for one year. Contact them at for cash donations.

If you are interested in donating supplies, Stepping Stones need teaching materials. Send an email to for details.

Shanghai Sunrise

A local charity registered under the Shanghai Charity Foundation and established in 1996, Shanghai Sunrise's mission is to create access to education through scholarships for underprivileged Shanghai youth. This volunteer-led organization has raised over 30 million rmb for high school and university students since its inception, helping nearly 3,000 students and their families. Shanghai Sunrise believes in education beyond the classroom as well.

What To Donate: Money and time. You can sponsor a student through high school for one year (3,000rmb) or three years (9,000rmb), or a student in university for one (6,000rmb) or four years (24,000rmb). 100% of scholarship donations go directly to the students.

Year-round volunteer support is essential to the running of Shanghai Sunrise. Volunteers can offer their time daily, weekly, or on an ad hoc basis. Their volunteering opportunities range from fundraising and event management to sponsor relations and marketing communications. If you have time to give and are committed to helping underprivileged young people in Shanghai, get in touch by emailing or visit this page.


Check out our list of Shanghai Charities if you want more places to donate to a good cause.