The development of a successful strategy to make contact with potential donors is vital in the process of securing funding for your NGO. First of all, you will have to compile lists of funding bodies that are most likely to become interested in your NGO’s activities; its aims, goals, and strategies. In order to do so, you will have to browse the Internet. Start from researching websites of the main agencies such as the UN and look up the various networks they sponsor or maintain to find potential interested parties. Another strategy to find potential donors is to constantly monitor calls for proposals or concept papers. In fact, even if you are not intending to apply for a specific call, it is important that you file relevant information from the donors in case you want to contact them in the future and when needed.
It is helpful to prepare a filing system in which you will index and archive all this information about relevant funding bodies. This filing system will be shared among those working in the NGO and it will represent the first document to be consulted throughout the year or whenever needed. This archive of donors should be consistently updated, so it will be useful to assign the task to one person. This person will constantly monitor call for proposals and the activities of agencies working in your field and in your region to enlarge the archive as well as to inform the group at large of any relevant change in the donors’ strategies.
The filing system will be arranged in two main sections: institutional donors and private donors. In the first section you will list governmental agencies supporting civil society and also the main development agencies such as those part of the UN family or directly funded by the EU or the United States. The second section will collect information in regards to private foundations, research institutes, and other private ventures interested in financially supporting grassroots initiatives.
For each potential donor you will list the following information: name, mailing address, e-mail address, telephone and fax numbers, main fields of action (for instance, whether they fund projects to train young people, agrarian development, post-conflict reconstruction or projects targeting gender equality). It is also important to add information in regards of the most recent projects funded by this organisation and summarise the goals, methodology, and outputs of said projects. Add a list of the NGOs they have already worked with. This last part will come in handy if you decide to approach them. In fact, by assessing the capacity and performance of the organisations they have funded, you will be able to understand whether your organisation is likely to interest them or not.
In order to find all the relevant details you will need to browse donors’ websites or to research the material made available on the Internet by organisations such as the UN or the governmental agencies of your country, which might have already gathered such information to support civil society actors working regionally.