Upasana Joshi

About Upasana Joshi

Upasana Joshi is a development professional with over six years of experience in project management, community mobilization, donor engagement and fundraising. She has worked with International Agencies like International Union for Conservation of Nature and World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Currently she is working in the capacity of an independent consultant and supporting grass root agencies in project development, project implementation and resource mobilization.

Using Social Media to Enhance Your NGO Visibility

We have been living in the age of internet for quite some time now. Internet has enabled producers reach out to millions of consumers and vice-versa. It has helped connect writers to millions of its readers. In recent years the world of internet has come up with another new communication and social channel. Social media is a catch-all term for sites that may provide radically different social actions.

Over the last few years, social media has emerged as an important medium of communication globally for reaching out to a vast audience. Currently there is a plethora of social media sites and applications that are being used by diverse organisations. The main purpose of using social media is to connect to a large audience spreading across the globe, within fraction of a second and spread your message.

connect-social-media-blue

Different social sites offer consumers a wide range of options for generating awareness. For instance, Twitter is a social site designed to let people share short messages or “updates” with others. Facebook, in contrast is a complete social networking site that allows for sharing updates, photos, joining events and a variety of other activities. These social media sites are also being used to market and promote various products and works.

Just like any business house or academic institute, NGOs can also take advantage of social media to create awareness amongst relevant stakeholders about their activities.

However before venturing into social media there are few key questions which you should be asking to effectively utilise social media for promoting your work.

  1. Why use social media to promote your work?
  • It will help you reach out to potential donors, social workers and other users – First and foremost social media sites are a platform for social interaction. Every post you make on a social media platform is an opportunity for customers to convert. When you build a following, you’ll simultaneously have access to new customers, recent customers, and old customers, and you’ll be able to interact with all of them. Every blog post, image, video, or comment you share is a chance for someone to react, and every reaction could lead to a site visit, and eventually a conversion.  That is posting about your product or work on these sites help you reach out to a ton of users. These users can be users who are already aware of your work or they could also be potentially your new users. These new users can be reached out and made aware of your work/product by posting on these sites.

Most social media sites have a discovering feature. By discovery feature, when a user searches, comments or likes a particular type of content, then the site looks up similar posts or content and suggest it to the user for better user experience. This basically provides you a platform where even if a user who does not know about your company or organisation, but is interested in your content can be reached potentially by using the right content.

  • Prompt action to user feedback – If the user has any feedback regarding your product, service or content social media is an excellent place for users to get in touch with you. Also your prompt action and active response to these feedbacks are viewable to other users you might or might not share the same kind of feedback. Hence they also are made aware of your response to feedback. Study after study has shown that consumers /users appreciate organisations that respond to feedbacks (and users don’t hesitate to rant online to anyone who will listen when organisation don’t take the time to make things right).
  • Its free – If you handle your own social media management, running a social networking campaign is as cheap as it gets. If you hire a social media management or online PR agency, it’ll be an investment that you’ll be likely to see a return on. If you’re intimidated by interacting with people online or your writing skills leave something to be desired, hiring an online PR agency is definitely the way to go. Posting poorly written content or conveying the wrong kind of messages on social networking sites can seriously affect your digital presence.
  • Increases Website TrafficSocial media is also a major plausible cause of traffic generator for your actual site. When you share blog posts, videos and other content from your website, you give your audience a reason to click through and visit your site. Once there, you have the opportunity to inspire those visitors to take action by inviting them to sign up for your mailing list, or call to schedule a free consultation. Install traffic monitoring service, such as Google Analytics, and if you are committed to your social media efforts, you will clearly see that social media brings traffic. Also, make sure that your visitors receive a clear call to action when they visit your site so that you can convert that extra traffic into regular users / customers.
  1. How to use social media for promoting your work?
  • Decide your goal and plan your content accordingly: There are various marketing or promotion goals from which you can create the mix that you want. From creating your presence on internet, to connect with old or current users , to finding new users or simply keeping up with competition. Before you get started with social media, you should prepare a list of goals you want to achieve from this exercise. Break these goals into smaller, achievable and trackable items and plan your content accordingly.
  • Start slow: If you are venturing into the social media for the first time for promoting your work, then you can start it slow. So that you do not get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of social media sites. Pick just one or two social media site. Each has a learning curve, but none is so complex you won’t be able to grasp the basics and begin. List of few social media sites :
  1. Facebook: Millions of people use Facebook everyday to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet.
  2. Twitter: is a real-time short messaging service (SMS) that works over multiple networks and devices. In countries all around the world, people follow the sources most relevant to them and access information via Twitter as it happens — from breaking world news to updates from friends.
  3. Instagram: is a application that allows you to share pictures with your followers who can “like” and comment on your posts. Instagram also allows you to share those posts on Facebook and Twitter.
  4. Google+ (Google Plus): is a social media site that lets you connect with others who have similar interests and enables you to post and share content with others.
  5. LinkedIn: is an interconnected network of more than 36 million experienced professionals from around the world. The site can help you make better use of your professional network and help the people you trust in return.
  6. Reddit: is a source for what’s new and popular on the Web — personalized for you. Your votes train a filter, so let Reddit know what you liked and disliked, because you’ll begin to see recommended links filtered to your tastes. All of the content on reddit is submitted and voted on by users like you.
  • Learn the apps / sites features:  You would need to learnhow the app/site of choice operates. Each channel has much in common, but they differ in significant ways. Invest a little time learning the ropes. You need not read books or enroll in a course. Instead, acquaint yourself with the social media site you’ll use by asking for help from a friend, downloading an ebook or guide and searching for blogs that offer guidance from experts. Another good idea could be keeping your account private for some time while you learn the ropes and then unveiling it to the public.
  • Use Data and Facts: along with mentioning your NGOs story and best practices, make sure you use some facts and figures related to your mission. This will make the users understand the severity of the social cause that you address.
  • Integrate a donate button: You should take advantage of the virtual platform to support your fundraising efforts. With a donate button on your social profile, people who are passionate for the cause can contribute towards the cause, thereby increasing your online fundraising success.
  • Be Consistent: You need to budget time to do social media. How much time is up to you, but understand you’ll be taken far more seriously if you’re active on a daily or bi-daily basis. Yes, you can shut it down for a day, weekend or take a break without threatening your good standing. The caution to take is if you merely check in with a post now and then, you probably won’t be taken seriously.
  • Keep a steady stream of visual content: Study has shown that viewers respond quicker to visual content that written. So accompany your written content with visual content, that is add photos to blog post or updating photos on social media with small caption with a link to the site with elaborate content.  Try using images and videos of your projects to have a deep impact amongst the users. Visual images and video stories always create better understanding of your project thereby influencing more people to connect to your organisation.
  • Share or comment on other’s content: Like in the real world, in the virtual world building a network helps in various ways. You can start building a network by sharing and appreciating other’s content. Social media is very much reciprocal. People notice and appreciate it when you take the time to share their blog posts, images, videos, etc., and will likely return the favour. Not only sharing but commenting on other’s content can help you build a reputation in social media.

You should always keep in mind that content on internet is internal, therefore plan and access your content before posting.Social media is a great and a powerful medium to reach out to people, therefore it should be used with discretion and control to create a positive image for your work.

How to Frame Goals and Objectives in a Project Proposal

Goals and objectives form the most important part of a project proposal and one should pay great attention while framing them. Setting the goal is often the first step towards developing a proposal as it lays the foundation for the project. Next in process is defining objectives that would help in achieving the goal. Program managers should not overlook both these steps as, well drafted goals and objectives facilitate in developing an articulate proposal that has high chances of getting funded.

A well written proposal always has clearly defined goal and SMART objectives to attain the desired goal.

To begin with, let us understand what a Goal and an Objective means and the difference between them.

  1. Goal: It is a broad statement that defines what you plan to do in a project. It gives an idea to the reader of what problem your organization intends to address.
  2. Objective: These are detailed statements describing the ways through which you intend to achieve the goal.

Goals and Objectives in a Project Proposal

Now that the difference between a goal and an objective is clear, we will look at ways to write quality goals and objectives.

Framing a quality Goal

  1. Do not write a vague goal: Even though Goal is a broad statement, it does not mean that the project goal should be vague. Your goal should be clearly written so that the reader understands your purpose towards proposing a project.
  2. Goal should be in line with the problem statement: Goal of the proposal shows the reader your intention towards solving a particular problem and therefore the goal should be in line with the problem statement. For instance if your problem statement relates to aspects of poverty and issues related to poor and marginalized families in a particular region then your goal should state that you seek to alleviate poverty in the area through the proposed project.
  3. Goal should be consistent with your organizations mission and vision statement: As your organization addresses certain social and developmental issues, keep these in mind while you draft proposals and write goals. For example if your organization works for street children then the goal of the proposal should be relevant to your primary stakeholders.
  4. Use simple language to write a goal: Avoid use of jargons and technical words to write a goal. Use language that is easy to understand by people, not something for which people have to use a dictionary.
  5. Keep only one goal for a proposal: Try to keep one goal for the proposal as having multiple goals in a particular project only creates confusion. As the goal is a broad statement it will surely encompass multiple things which would be addressed through the various objectives.

Framing quality Objectives

Once you have a logical and well reasoned goal, you have to frame three/four objectives that would help you in achieving the particular goal.

  1. Objectives should address the 5 Ws: While framing the objectives ensure that they provide answers to the 5Ws:
  • Why: are you proposing a particular thing?
  • What: approach will you adopt to reach the desired goal?
  • When: will you conduct the particular project?
  • Where: will you implement the project?
  • Who: will be the primary stakeholders/beneficiaries or who will be doing a particular thing in a project?

This is an easy way to frame objectives that provide detailed strategy for accomplishing the desired impact.

  1. Objectives should support the goal: it is very important that each of your objectives contributes and supports in achieving the goal. For instance if the goal of the project, is to improve maternal health in XYZ area, then each of the objective should contribute and suggest measures for improving maternal health.
  2. Objectives should follow a logical order: while framing the objectives, one should always remember that objectives should be logically placed, which simply means that while implementing a project a step by step procedure should be in place. This will also help you in planning all the activities accordingly.
  3. Frame SMART objectives: most of the program mangers might have heard about this acronym for framing quality objectives. SMART mean objectives that are
  • Specific: This means that the objectives should be clear and unambiguous, giving details of how and what you intend to achieve.
  • Measurable: This means that the objectives should be quantifiable so that one can see if they are being achieved or not. This can be done by assigning a numeric value to your objective by answering questions like: How many? How much? By when?
  • Achievable: This means that the objective should be feasible, viable and within the control/capacity of the organization. While drafting the objective, the organization should keep in mind its own capacity, constraints and abilities to achieve the objective.
  • Realistic: When you draft the objective ensure that they are realistic and can be attained within the available resources and time frame.
  • Time – bound: It is important to give a time-frame for completing a particular objective. This helps in timely delivery of the outputs and outcomes without unnecessary delays.
  1. Use action verbs while drafting objectives: whenever you frame objectives use active verbs like create, identify, promote, enhance, increase, and develop etc.. These verbs help in describing the course of action and give clarity to your object.
  2. Keep 3-4 objectives: Most experts recommend keeping three to four objectives in a proposal. Each objective will further have several activities and tasks to be undertaken and therefore having many objectives will just complicate project implementation.

Let us take a few examples to explain what we actually mean by quality goal and objectives.

Example 1.

Goal: Improve livelihood of tribal population of 5 villages in XYZ District using local resource based approach.

Objective 1. To promote local community based institutions by formation of 5 Primary Collectors Group to empower the tribal communities, in XYZ District by the end of first quarter.

Objective 2. To build capacities of 500 tribal families through 10 training sessions on collection, grading and primary processing of identified products in the first year.

Objective 3. To enhance income of the trained population by 30% through establishment of sustainable market linkages for the sale of the NTFP collected, by the end of second year.

Example 2.

Goal: Ensuring quality education to the deprived urban children living slums of ABC city through a participatory and responsive community action.

3.2 Project Objectives:

Objective 1. To enhance awareness of parents in target locations on importance of education, through 5 sensitization camps to be organized in the first month.

Objective 2. To develop child friendly education system for imparting quality education to 200 children aged between 6- 14 yrs, and motivating them towards formal education system through our evening classes.

Objective 3. Fifty percent of program participants are registered in government schools by the end of their first year of participation in the program, through networking and liaising with school authorities.

The examples above have broad statements as their goals, but both of these clearly indicate to the reader what the project intends to do. They are not vague as they mention about the geographical location, target beneficiaries and the approach for achieving the respective goals. The three objectives supporting the goal also clearly define ways of how they would contribute in improving the livelihoods and ensuring quality education of the primary project beneficiaries respectively. They follow the SMART principle, answering all the details of why, what, where, when and who of the project.

Remember that framing goals and objectives is the most important section of the proposal and it takes time to create meaningful proposal. Setting logical and articulated objectives will help you to develop a proposal that will have higher chances to get funded and thereby help you in creating a positive impact in the society. The simple steps suggested in the guide will help you in taking the first step of developing a successful proposal.

Understanding NGO Registration in India and other Important Financial Information

The word NGO in India refers to an entity that remains once Government and Business are removed from the framework. These entities work towards the general betterment of the society and function as small units which fill the gaps at places where Government can’t reach effectively and business cannot be done with meaningful returns.

The term Non Government Organization or NGO is used as an umbrella to cover all legal entities that seek charitable and philanthropic funds towards betterment of society without the motive to derive profit from it. However there is no such legal entity as a NGO. It can either be a Trust, a Society or a Section 25 Company. It is important that we understand the legal framework of an NGO and the important tax benefits available to an NGO.

To start with let us understand the key features of Non Profit Organizations in India.

  • They are independent of the state.
  • These are self governed by a board of trustees, governing council or group of individuals
  • Main objective is towards betterment of the society and wellbeing of the community at large.
  • Profit generation is not their principal goal.
  • They impact education, arts, poverty, medicine, environment and other areas that are not sustainable through a for-profit business model.
  • Exist as a trust, society or a section 8 company.

The guide has two sections, the first section deals with registration procedures while the second section talks about important tax related regulations.

Registration of a NGO

There are three ways through which a NGO can register itself as a legal entity in India;

  1. Trust
  2. Society
  3. Section 8 Company (same as section 25 Company under Indian Companies act 1956)

TRUST: Trust is defined in section 3 of the Trust Act, 1882 as ” an obligation annexed to the ownership of property and arising out of a confidence reposed in and accepted by the owner, or declared and accepted by him, for the benefit of another or of another and the owner. To put it in simpler words a trust is the safe keeper of a property for the transfer of a property by the owner to another for the benefit of a third person along with or without himself or a declaration by the owner, to hold the property not for him but for the other.

Trusts are created when the settler of the property transfers property or provides benefits for the welfare of beneficiaries or for the usage of public purposes. A trust formed with the aim to utilize the assets of the Trust to attain well being of public at large and promote a charitable cause is called a Public Charitable trust. Such trust do not have a fixed beneficiary, but the public in large, generally demarcated with common trait. E.g. for a Public trust located in a city the beneficiary may be the illiterate kids in the slums of the city.

Different states in India have different Trusts Acts in force, which govern the trusts in that particular state. In case a state does not have a Trusts Act, the general principles of the Indian Trusts Act 1882 are applied. The other relevant acts are Religious Endowment Act, 1863, Charitable & Religious Trust Act, 1920 and The Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950. A Trust deed needs to be made by the Author for the creation of a Trust. It can be then registered under any of the Trust Act being practiced in the State. Commonly registration under Indian Trust Act of 1988 is recommended and practiced.

The following are the Major elements of the trust;

  • Author or Settler: One who forms the trust and transfers under irrevocable arrangement the property and its future benefits to the trust.
  • Trustee: A body of Individuals who undertake the management and safekeeping of Trust and its property.
  • Beneficiary: People who will benefit from the trust.
  • Asset or property
  • Objective of the Trust
  • Trust Deed, defining all relationships, responsibilities, rights, terms and conditions.

Society: In India a Society is registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860. A society is a group of individuals who have come together to pursue a common cause. As per the Act “Societies formed by memorandum of association and registration.—Any seven or more persons associated for any literary, scientific, or charitable purpose, or for any such purpose as is described in section 20 of this Act, may, by subscribing their names to a memorandum of association, and filing the same with the Registrar of Joint-stock Companies form themselves into a society under this Act”.

A society has a Memorandum of Association and Rules and Regulation. Unlike a Trust which is executed on a stamp paper, these can be taken out on a simple A4 pages. However a Society needs to be registered with the Registrar of Society, duly appointed by the State Government. The society can be formed by a minimum of seven People. These members form the governing body by electing few of them to posts such as President, Secretary, Treasurer etc. The governing body undertakes the day to day management of the trust. Election of governing body is usually an annual process. A Society can easily alter its MOA and increase or decrease its scope of work.

If one wishes to form a society that can work across India, it should have at least 8 members, 5 of which are from different states. This is not required for a Trust. Members can be added in a society as and when required. A list of members signed by governing body suffices as proof. Special attention needs to be given to the MoA while forming a society as it forms the most important document of a society. Make sure that the objectives are exhaustive to avoid complication in future. Changes in MOA need to be approved by the registrar of firm.

Main elements of a society:

  • A minimum of 7 members
  • A proper name
  • Memorandum of Association & Rules and Regulations/ By-laws in the specified manner
  • Initial members/ subscribers to be member of a Governing Body
  • Resolution passed for the registration of Society
  • Minutes of aforesaid meeting
  • Address proof of location of Society
  • Identity and Address proof of all members.

Section 8 Company (same as section 25 Company under Indian Companies act 1956): According to section 25(1)(a) and (b) of the Indian Companies Act, 1956, a section-25 company can be established ‘for promoting commerce, art, science, religion, charity or any other useful object’, provided the profits, if any, or other income is applied for promoting only the objects of the company an d no dividend is paid to its members.

The Indian Companies Act 2013 that came into force on April 1, 2014 and the old Section 25 has now become Section 8 with further additions. According to Section 8: “The Central Government may issue a License to:
A Limited or Private Limited Company having as its objects:

  • The promotion of commerce, art, science, sports, education, research, social welfare, religion, charity, protection of environment or any such other object and
  • Intends to apply its profits, if any, or other income in promoting its objects and
  • Intends to prohibit the payment of any dividend to its members.

Thus, a not-for-profit company may be registered with the Registrar of Companies. It cannot issue dividend to its shareholders. The Board of Director is the key decision making body in the Company. A minimum of 2 Directors and/or Shareholder are required to form the company.

MOA and AOA forms the legal document of a Section 25 Company. However, It needs to be registered with the Central Government through the Registrar of Companies after taking due approvals. The process is similar to that of formation of a Private Limited or Public Limited Co. The Motive Not for Profit is the differentiating factor. However it is a tedious task to form a company and requires much stricter statuary and Income Tax filling every year. The help of a Chartered Accountant may be required for registering the Company.

Main elements of a section 8 company

  • A minimum of two trustees (members)
  • MOA (in Form INC 13) and AOA of the company
  • Declaration in Form INC.14 by an Advocate, CA, CWA or CS in practice that MOA and AOA have been drafted as per provisions of Sec.8 and rules made there under.
  • Estimate of future income for next three years along with description of sources of income and objects of the expenditure.
  • Declaration by each of the persons in Form INC.15

Taxation and FCRA registration for a NGO

Many NGOs feel that they are immune to all form of taxation, as they exist as a not for profit entity, this however is only a myth. The following section talks about important sections that offer tax exemptions to a NGO and also tax deductions to donors.

Section 11 and 12 of the Income- Tax Act 1961: These are the most important sections of Income tax for Religious and Charitable trusts. The taxation of trusts formed with the objective of providing relief to the underprivileged, work for environment, general public benefit, religious purpose, etc fall under this section. The section defines what part of Income of such trust is taxable and what is exempt. The Income can be derived from capital gain from the assets of the Trust, its activities, or from donations.

Section 12AA of the new Income Tax act defines how a trust can register under these sections. An application is to be made using form 10A along with relevant documents to the Income Tax Commissioner. This is one time registration and to avail Tax exemption, NGO needs to register under section 12 A.

Section 80 G: Donations made to a NGO registered under section 80 G are permissible for 50% deduction from the taxable income of the donation made for such a person or an organization making the donation.

e.g. If a Person makes a donation of Rs. 100 to an organization with 80 G registration then the person can avail Rs. 50 as deduction from his/her taxable income (not to be confused with Income Tax).

80 G is a onetime registration and can be done using form 10 G. The application is made to the Income Tax commissioner who has jurisdiction over such an organization.

The following are the document lists required for registration under 12A and 80G;

  1. Dully filled in Form – 10A for registration u/s 12A registration and 10G for 80G registration.
  2. Registration Certificate and MOA /Trust Deed (two copies – self attested by NGO head)
  3. NOC from Landlord (from registered office)
  4. A Copy of PAN card of your NGO
  5. Photocopy of Electricity Bill / House tax Receipt /Water Bill
  6. Evidence of welfare activities carried out & Progress Report since inception or last 3 years
  7. Books of Accounts, Balance Sheet & ITR (if any), since inception or last 3years
  8. List of major donors along with their address and PAN
  9. List of governing body or board of trustees members with their contact details
  10. Original RC and MOA /Trust Deed for verification
  11. Any other document or affidavit / undertaking, if extra information is by the Income Tax department

Section 35 AC: To encourage businesses and corporate houses to donate for specific approved social welfare projects, a tax incentive has been produced under 35AC of the Income Tax Act. This section offers full deduction of the entire amount paid by business for financing particular schemes or projects. There is no limitation for the donor to donate under section 35 AC.

The application for getting 35 AC can be made to the Secretary, National Committee for Promotion of Social & Economic Welfare, Dept. of Revenue, Govt. of India, North Block, New Delhi – 110001.

Some of the projects for which the 35 AC is applicable are:

  • Construction and maintenance of drinking water projects in rural areas and urban slums
  • Construction of dwelling units for economically weaker sections
  • Construction of schools for children belonging to weaker sections
  • Relief and rehabilitation of handicapped children
  • Establishment and running hospitals in rural areas exclusively for women and children.

Documents for registration under section 35AC

The application is to be made in 2 Sets, written either in Hindi or English containing the following documents:

  1. Complete contact details
  2. Audit Reports for the latest year and two preceding years.
  3. Registration certificate
  4. Copy of trust deed, rules & regulation, memorandum of association etc.
  5. Contact details of current board members along with details of people holding important positions who left the organization during 3 years.
  6. Copy of 80 G certificate
  7. Activity report of last three years.
  8. Additional information regarding the project/scheme to be submitted.
    • Title of project or scheme;
    • Date of commencement;
    • Duration and the likely date of completion;
    • Estimated cost of the project ;
    • Category or class of persons who are likely to be benefited from the project or scheme;
    • Affirmation that no benefit from the project or scheme other than remuneration or honorarium, will accrue to persons managing the affairs of the NGO ;
  9. Such other particulars as the applicant may place before the National Committee.

FCRA Registration: The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act is the most important registration for a NGO that wish to receive contribution from foreign donors. Without FCRA registration an NGO cannot seek foreign donation in India. The Act is meant to regulate all donation foreign in nature received in India as donation for religious, charitable, social or environmental cause, whether such donation are received from Foreign Individual, Company, Society, Government or organization.

The approval for the registration is given by Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. The registration is preferable provided to organizations registered under either of the Societies Registration Act 1860, Indian Trust Act 1882, Charitable and Religious Trust Act 1920 or as a Section 25 Company. It is provided as Prior Permission under section 6(1A) (or one time incident specific permission) or Permanent Permission under section 6(1)(a), (permanent registration). The registration process takes anywhere from 4 months to 1 year or more and is provided only after thorough documentation and investigation by the MHA. Yearly compliance needs to be followed by the NGO once registered under FCRA. An organization can only open only one FCRA account in any Scheduled Commercial Bank of India. The Bank is ordered by MHA post approval for FCRA to monitor foreign donation transaction and report annually the receipts. FCRA account is to be maintained separately and not mixed with Local receipts. FC-3 form is used for application of FCRA. Any 3 year old NGO can apply for FCRA.

The documents required are;

  1. Audited Balance Sheet, Profit& Loss Account or Income& Expenditure Account for the last 3 years.
  2. Certified copy of formation documents like trust deed, rules & regulation, memorandum of association etc. and registration certificate, if any.
  3. Details of activities of the organization during the last three years.
  4. Registration details under section 11 and 12 and 80 G.
  5. Commitment letter from foreign donor specifying the amount of foreign contribution

How to write a Case for Support for your NGO

As an NGO you might have developed several case studies to document your project results or while conducting research on a particular topic. Along with show casing your organizations work, case studies can also be used to solicit funds from donors. When case studies are used as a fund raising tool they are referred as Case for Support.

 When approaching a donor for soliciting funds, your case statement forms the most important document. Developing a case for your NGO facilitates in engaging donors effectively to aid your organizations mission. It is therefore essential that you write a strong case statement, which would compel the donor to support your cause.

Most NGOs are familiar with writing proposals and concept notes, however when it comes to drafting a case for support/ case statement they often get confused. This guide will help you to write an effective case for support for your organization.

  1. What is a Case for Support?

In simplest terms a case for support is a narrative of your organization that tells the prospective donors about your funding requirements and the problems you would address on receiving the funds. In other terms it is a document that provides donors with information about your organization, future goals and aspirations, accomplishments, and why should a donor invest in your program.

This document is one of the most important tool that would attract donors to support your organization.

Key features of a case for support:

  • Should be attractive
  • Should be donor centric
  • Should clearly illustrate your funding requirements
  • Should showcase your accomplishments
  • Should convince the donors to engage with your organization
  1. Steps for writing a case for support

Now that you understand what case for support is, let us proceed to the steps involved in writing a case statement.

  • Identify a core group (2-3 writers) for writing: It is important that your organization identifies 2-3 people who have excellent writing skills and are well versed with your organization’s background. In case you are short of staff, you can also select one person to compile the case statement.
  • Identify the audience: While developing your case statement you should have an idea of who are your potential donors and partners. This step is important so that you develop the case keeping in mind the aspirations and requirements of your potential donors.
  • Gather Information: Start collecting as much information as you can about your organizations history, present projects, annual reports, current donor details, financial statements etc.. While collecting the information also talk to the board members and trustees to capture their ideas about the organization. This step will help you in getting information about the institutional, financial and governance mechanisms of your organization.
  • Make a Case: Once you have collected information about your organization and donors, develop a case. You should select one particular project/area of work which needs immediate attention. Collect all data and facts related to the particular project which would include: demographic details, geographical location, activities, and financial requirement etc.
  • Compile all the information: Now that the writer has all the details available, the first draft of the case for support can be compiled. This first draft will need several revisions and editions, so don’t waste too much time in formatting. Just make sure that the case has all the relevant information.
  • Share the draft with your team: Once the first draft is ready, share it with the senior team members and board members. It is often seen that senior team members and trustees have a different vision about the organizations future, it is thus important that you take their suggestions while compiling the case for support. Try to incorporate suggestions given by the team members as this will add value to your case statement.
  • Packaging the case statement: After your draft has received approval from your team members it’s time to package the case for support. Packaging the case for support is an important step, as this will help you in raising funds for your organization. Make sure that it is appealing and attractive to donors.
  • Share with donors: The final case statement can be uploaded on your webpage or can be shared with donors. You can have both hard and soft copies of the case statement.
  1. How to write a strong case statement?

While writing the case statement you should keep the following points in mind:

  • Use of Emotional Language: One should remember that the case for support should have a human touch to it. Use simple language and be expressive while describing the social problems you will be addressing. You should be careful while writing the case statement as you shouldn’t make it appear like a movie story.
  • Use of Accurate Data and Facts: Donors appreciate use of accurate data and facts in your case. Therefore along with making an emotional appeal to the donors it is equally important for you to quote facts and figures to reinforce your case. A fine balance is to be made between quoting factual data and the emotional pitch.
  • Align your objectives with that of the donor: Your case should give the donor sufficient reasons to invest in your program. This can be done by aligning some of your objectives and by being consistent with the donor’s portfolio.
  • Use Images and Graphical Representations: Visual formats not only make the case statement more appealing but also help in conveying the message more convincingly. Use strong images to explain the social problems you are addressing to attract donors. When quoting data, you can use graphs and pie-charts to explain the context more effectively.
  1. What all should be included in the case for support?

There are various formats for writing a case for support, but no matter which format you choose, try to include the following points in your case for support.

  • Organization background: Your case for support should have a paragraph on the history of your organization. Clearly state reasons that led you to establish the organization and how it has been working towards creating a positive change since inception. This particular section will help in letting your donor know the past activities of your organization, thereby adding credibility and assurance that you have been doing excellent work for social welfare.
  • Vision and mission statement: Define your vision and mission statement which would indicate to the donor the purpose and mandate of your organization. The vision statement your organizations future aspirations.
  • Major Programs and Activities: This section should brief the readers about the different programs that your organization implements. Do not give a detailed description about all the activities that you undertake, this is just to update the donors about the array of services that you executes.
  • Accomplishments: Describe how over the years your organization has made changes in the community, how many people have been supported, awards you have received etc.. This section again adds credibility to your organization works and strengthens your case statement.
  • The Social Cause you need assistance for: You should explain the urgency of the situation and the need for addressing it. For example is you want to raise funds for a flood relief campaign, clearly state the following:
    • Number of people affected by flood
    • Present condition of the people
    • Organizations currently providing relief to the victims
    • Gaps in the current relief program
    • How does your organization plans to fill in the existing gaps
    • Funding requirement
  • Funding Requirement: Mention about the finances that you need to undertake a particular project or for running your organization. Describe the various proposed activities that you would undertake if you get the funding.
  • Benefits from Partnership: Donors are keen to know how will partnering with you help the donor, this can be done by writing a paragraph on the benefits the donors would derive by supporting your cause.
  • Meaningful Impact: Make sure that your case for support has a well written section on outcomes and impact. Donors are keen to know how their money will be utilized, and your case statement should give a comprehensive narrative of the same.
  • Ways for support: Readers will be interested to know the various ways in which they can support your organization. Make sure you clearly mention about ways a donor can support you, this can be financial support, volunteer support, in-kind support, sponsorship etc.
  1. Ideal length of a case statement

Depending on your write up, your case statement should be between 4 to 8 pages, this being said, do not worry if you have a case statement that is longer than 8 pages. You should however ensure that the case statement is not less than 4 pages, as a shorter case statement will not be able to give a detailed account of your organization to the donor.

By now you might have understood that having a case for support is essential to raise money to continue your efforts. The case for support can be used as a guiding document by your organization while you engage with donors. Depending on your donor interactions and their application procedures, you can extract relevant information from the case for support and share it with diverse donors.