We provide programs and services that strengthen the organizational infrastructure of nonprofits, which is vital to the continuation and development of their activities. Many of the JNPOC’s programs–from NPO database service and technology donation programs to communication skills seminars and capacity-building training-support the infrastructure development of nonprofits.
We use a metaphor of “vessel” for nonprofit’s organizational infrastructure/capacity, whereas an individual project as a “cargo”. Even if “cargo” appears to be fancy, which might draw public attention and even appeals to fund-raising, an organization needs a constant watch to the “vessel” itself because without proper maintenance and mending, the “vessel” will eventually sink.
With the aim of promoting access to and disclosure of information about nonprofits, JNPOC runs and administers a searchable online nonprofit organization database called NPO-Hiroba that contains data for all “Specified Nonprofit Corporations” (approx. 51,000 incorporated nonprofit organizations) in Japan. The basic information of new incorporated organizations is added periodically, and with a unique ID & password, each nonprofit can add and update its organizational information, which promotes the visibility and accountability of NPOs.
NPO Hiroba (Japanese)
Partnering with the US-based non-profit TechSoup, JNPOC runs a software donation program and validation service called TechSoup Japan. The program provides software products and services to qualified nonprofits for a small fee so that these organizations can maximize their full potential with the use of necessary technology. Since its launch in June 2009, and as of March 2019, 11,745 licenses to 3,732 organizations have been mediated, which amounts to a total market value of about ¥5.26 billion (approx. US$52.6 million).
TechSoup Japan also launched the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program to provide new solutions and implementation support for NPOs to move their data to the cloud, offering Microsoft cloud licenses at nonprofit pricing. Along with the Office 365 Deployment Support Program, which had already launched in 2018, TechSoup Japan supports the digital transformation of nonprofit organizations.
The 20th anniversary of the NPO Law has propelled us to further discuss the role of NPOs/NGOs, civil society, and social issues in Japan and abroad from various angles. We launched an opinion site called NPO CROSS where people involved in NPOs discuss these matters from NPOs’ unique perspectives.
NPO CROSS (Japanese)
With Dentsu, Japan’s largest advertising agency, JNPOC holds seminars called the “Tsutaeru Kotsu,” or keys to communicating, that are specifically created for nonprofits in which organization staff can learn communication skills. Using a custom-made textbook/workbook, participants learn from communication professionals about the basics of internal/external communication and practical knowledge that are essential for the nonprofit organizations to increase the number of supporters and collaborators and to engage in fulfilling activities. As of March 2020, 155 seminars tailored to the needs of nonprofits in different regions have been held throughout Japan with a total attendance of 5,600 people.
In order to make this opportunity available to more people, the content of the seminars is currently available as videos on YouTube.
Tsutaeru Kotsu (Japanese)
Collaborating with Panasonic Corporation, JNPOC holds workshops for nonprofits to strengthen their institutional capacity. This program’s unique feature is that the leaders and staff of nonprofits undergo an “organizational diagnosis” that identifies the problems of the organization and the specific areas of capacity building in need of further improvement. After the assessment, organizations formulate and implement their organizational strategy by incorporating the advice received from professional and objective third parties.
Local NPO support centers in communities across Japan provide services and seminars to local grassroots nonprofit associations and organizations. JNPOC believes that in order for these NPO support centers to play an active role locally, more organizational capacity-building opportunities should be provided. JNPOC holds staff training programs for newly appointed and middle-management NPO support center staff.
We offer similar learning opportunities for government and business sectors. With the aim of understanding nonprofits and civil society better and exploring cross-sector collaborative opportunities, JNPOC holds seminars targeted at newly-appointed local government staff in charge of the NPO division, as well as companies’ newly-appointed CSR staff.
Since 2010, JNPOC has been collaborating with the US-based nonprofit Give2Asia, which encourages and facilitates charitable giving to Asia by providing personalized services to donors and recipients. This collaboration opened up a new opportunity for Japanese nonprofits to obtain funds outside Japan. As the local advisor in Japan, JNPOC is responsible for grants administration, facilitating the donation process for Japanese nonprofits, and conducting research services when requested by Give2Asia. As of 2020, Give2Asia and JNPOC together have mediated 275 grants (totaling US$19.9 million), funded by 32 large corporate and institutional donors, supporting 105 charitable organizations. These large corporations include: State Street, Johnson and Johnson, Bank of America, Caterpillar, American Express, Prudential, Qualcomm, etc. This includes Give2Asia funds, funded by over 5,000 individual donors, that benefit specific Japan-based organizations and campaigns.
JNPOC believes that nonprofit organizations or civil society organizations (CSOs) need to be held accountable to their own stakeholders about their accountability practices including financial oversight, transparency and information disclosure, public support and effective management. In 2016 JNPOC launched a bilingual portal site that introduces what practices exist in Asia-Pacific as well as within Japan’s nonprofit sector to ensure organizational accountability, which has not been well-known in the CSO community in Asia-Pacific.