Are you stuck in the same strategy trying to raise funds for your nonprofit organization?
This article has a think about some of the issues surrounding funding and fundraising. We will also give you some tips on how to raise funds for your charitable organization and volunteer programs in a strategic and planned manner.
Table of Contents
Consider the facts
It’s an unavoidable fact that all NGOs need funding. A few are lucky and have wealthy philanthropic backers who cover all costs. Most, however, are not so lucky, and are often competing for the same funding sources from grants, donors and other sources.
Identify the project needs
The starting point to have a better fund raising strategy is to identify the project needs.
Breaking the project into smaller parts will help you to have a better sense of what the project needs are. Getting fundraising for each part of your project might be easier as funders can better identify where you are going to invest those resources.
Set up a strategy
When looking for funding, there are also some issues that must be considered. Soliciting donations from the public using photos and personal stories can be effective, but NGOs must be careful not to present their intended beneficiaries as powerless victims, as this can reinforce stereotypes about dependency and helplessness amongst individuals with limited resources.
A fairly common way for NGOs that work with volunteers to make money and cover their costs is to charge a program or volunteer fee. This can be an effective way to cover administration costs without taking away from funding for the project beneficiaries. Nearly all NGOs have running costs. New ink for the printer and staff salaries don’t grow on trees, sadly.
However, there are some issues that must be taken into consideration if deciding to charge a fee.
Many volunteers feel that as they are already dedicating their time and effort, not to mention paying for living costs, they shouldn’t be charged for the privilege of working at a project.
This is particularly relevant with larger organizations that charge volunteers several thousand dollars. On the other hand, for smaller grassroots organizations, a volunteer fee can represent a guaranteed income and ensure that the NGOs can continue to exist and make a contribution to the communities where they work.
Many volunteer programs receive donations from ex-volunteers and their friends and families. For example those who have had a personal connection with the community and the projects with which the organization works. Sometimes this comes as cash; other times as goods or gifts. If the donation comes in the form of goods then this removes the issue of having to think where to spend the money.
Here you can find more tips on how to build a fundraising strategy.
Manage your funds responsibly
Donors like to know exactly where their money will go.
Being transparent and responsible when spending the money of your funds will also help you to build sustainable donor relationships.
A short and honest description on how you invest the money from your funds is useful to increase loyalty within the donors and volunteers and to avoid unrealistic expectations of the donations.
According to my experience, ongoing needs are also very important when spending funds. For example, at Volunteers Peru, we recently collected some money from a fundraiser. We asked the staff at the Casa Hogar Torre Fuerte what they needed, and they decided that glasses for some of the girls were very necessary. This was not something that any of us would have necessarily thought of ourselves, but without a doubt the girls’ quality of life is improved by their ability to see clearly at school and at home.
In short, as with everything in NGO and development work, there are lots of complicated issues to bear in mind. But if we think carefully and critically about the choices that we make when looking for funding, and choosing how to spend it, then we will reach the best outcome for the communities with which we work.
Ella was born in England and is the project manager of Volunteers Peru and Social Worker in Arequipa since January 2014. Volunteers Peru is a NGO that works with two projects, a home for abandoned girls in Arequipa and a school in the rural area Tomepampa. Each week she is giving an update about the volunteer experience she gained in South America.
You are interested and you want to apply for an Volunteers Peru Volunteer program? Click here for a teaching placement. Or click here to support the staff in a girls home. Apply now. Volunteers Peru is waiting for your application!