How board members can play a role in resource mobilization

Board members are the core drivers of an organization. They set the direction of the organization for years to come. They constitute the board, a collective body that governs the non-profit, guide the organization to work towards its mission and vision. Despite their importance in functioning of the organization, most of the board members do not actively play role in resource mobilization. Though it is not mandated as their ‘role and responsibility’ in the non-profit, the board can definitely take a step ahead to catalyze the growth of the organization without ‘asking for money’.

Group of Business People Meeting

Active involvement of the board can definitely fuel the growth, more importantly so in the case of smaller NGOs. Here are a few ideas how they may play crucial role in resource mobilization, to bring in resources to fuel the functioning of the organization, bringing a sense of responsibility towards it, and utilizing their skills, expertise, experience and goodwill to benefit the organization in the long run:

  • Advocacy

Ask them to advocate with government for your organization or cause. For example, if you are an organization working for children, you may have someone on your board who is an educationist, academician, bureaucrat, or government official. You can request him/ her to advocate for your cause with the government. He/ she may even help you in getting government schemes and projects.

  • Involving donors

The board members are very passionate towards the cause of the organization. They devote their time to actively participate in the planning, and activities too. This alone can set a very good example to motivate the donors. Thus, you may ask your board to motivate donors, or you may display their stories on your website.

  • Negotiations

The board members may contribute indirectly towards the financials, by negotiating with suppliers or vendors to supply goods or services for lower prices. Their good will and connections can help your organization in this way.

  • Diverse expertise

Your board might have highly knowledgeable people from diverse fields and backgrounds. You may ask them for support related to their domain. For example, an organization who has a lawyer in the board, can ask for legal advice from him/ her. This will help the organization gain from the learned and experienced law professional, while also saving cost if help was to be sought from elsewhere.

In this way, your board can kick start some of your resource mobilization efforts, and also can help with diverse and useful knowledge and domain expertise. 

  • Employing a donor appreciation program

For organizations which embed donor acquisition and retention strategies into their overall goals and strategy, donor recognition and appreciation are one of the very important ways to achieve long term results. And with internet, crowd-funding platforms, social media and online platforms, these strategies and programs are very easy to implement. So, involve your social media/ communications team along with your core team to employ your donor appreciation program.

  • Why a donor appreciation program

We know how important donors are for non-profits, and it is the responsibility of non-profits to thank them for their contribution, and let them know they are valuable. A simple acknowledgment will help them getting tax benefits, feeling good about their contribution, and in developing willingness to stay association in the long run, meaning donor retention. So it is a win-win for you and your donors. Though there is no limit to creativity and innovative ideas for developing and implementing a donor appreciation program, here are a few suggestions.

  • Choose a time, platform and frequency

Select a time of the year when you want to employ donor appreciation/ recognition program. It can be an ongoing activity too, on your website/ social media accounts. For example, you may contribute a section to ‘donor of the day/ week/ month’ on your website. Update it very often. Try to recognize and acknowledge every donor’s contribution. If some donors would prefer anonymity, you may provide a dashboard/ infographics on your website to show donors’ activities and contributions on weekly or monthly basis, without names or personal information.

  • Interest of donors

Know your donors. Understand their preferences. Many donors may like to hear ‘thanks’ and how important their contribution is, on social media or public platforms, while many others would like anonymity despite their ‘good deed’. It is important to respect their choices and so take consent before publishing anything with donor information.

  • Selecting a theme

A theme can provide your campaign or program with relevance and context, alongwith a sense of belongingness to the donors who relate to the cause. Theme may be women and children, water and nature conservation, etc. Give a brief background about the theme, donors who have contributed towards the cause, and appeal to those who wish to be associated.

  • Motivate them to ‘give’ more

Research has shown that appreciated and happy donors are very likely to donate again for the cause. So, demonstrating gratitude towards donors is good for them as well as for your non-profit, as they are likely to be associated with you for longer periods. Inspire them and motivate them by sharing other donors’ stories, sharing stories of people who were benefitted by their contribution, and of those who need their help and support.

  • Never forget to acknowledge

Apart from public recognitions and media posts, never forget to acknowledge the contribution of donors in form of thank you letters and receipts, which will make them avail tax exemptions as per your country’s laws, while also making them feel good.

  • Make them know you better

Keep them updated about your latest plans and actions taken on the ground. Share pictures and stories of work done, people benefitted, and of the work to be done too. Share the cause and problems that you wish to address in the future, and what kind of support you will need to accomplish your mission. Deepen their understanding of your cause, mission and vision.

9 interesting ways to maintain relationships with your donors

Every donor, be it an individual, a donor agency, a foundation, or a CSR (corporate social responsibility) arm, looks for feedback from the non-profit or charity. Feedback in terms of knowing how important they are for you, how appreciated they are, and what it gives them to stay connected. A sense of appreciation, feeling of contributing towards a social cause, and regular and meaningful communication would result in maintenance of lasting relationships with your donors.

9 interesting ways to maintain relationships with your donors

Here are 10 interesting ways to help you maintain mutually beneficial relationships with your donors:

  1. Show appreciation

Whenever a donor contributes for your cause, make sure that you respond with appreciation. That said, appreciation can mean personalized emails, a thanks note on your website and/ or social media pages, or a personalized letter. You may tweet a thanks note with the donor’s name, or post a thanks note on your facebook page, tagging the donor. This appreciation would mean a lot to the donor, while it also has the potential to get more donors, for his/ her friends will see the good deed and would be motivated to do so too.

  1. Respond to their queries promptly and value follow-up

Donors are not mere suppliers of funds; instead they are a valuable asset to your organization. It is important to value your donors as partners, and to make them feel valued. So, make sure you respond to their queries promptly and follow-up with them on regular basis. This will also help in converting one-time or regular donors into recurrent ones. You may set up a hangout or chat session for this, or create a simple system for feedback through your website or social media accounts. The key is in ‘being prompt’.

  1. Report results- tell them how their donations make a difference

Tell your donors what impact you have been leaving on the communities you work for. Be careful that it sounds donor-centric rather than, ‘We do this, we do that, we are amazing, follow us, donate donate donate..’ A donor-centric approach will really help, ‘We have been attempting to reduce the inequalities and injustice towards underprivileged communities and your support brings us closer and closer to the goal. Thanks a lot for your selfless support. Here is how your contribution has been changing lives:……..(stories and impact figures to follow)…’.

  1. Create days of appreciation- be it Valentine’s day or Children’s day

Find opportunities to thank your donors in creative ways. With the social media and internet everywhere, it is not very difficult to look for such ways or plan and execute simple campaigns. For example, on Valentine’s Day, you may create a simple online event with good graphics, thanking each donor, posting messages or personalized emails, with messages like ‘No love is above the love for humanity. Thanks for being a great Valentine for this cause.’ Or ‘Let us spread love for these innocent children, support them with —— this Valentine..’ These are some of the examples, but you can be as creative as you wish to be.

  1. Share success stories and pictures

Share stories of success and inspiration on your website, social media pages, annual reports, newsletters, and in thank you letters, everywhere. Include pictures from the field, pictures of people whose lives have been touched by your work (of course with their consent). ‘A picture speaks a thousand words’ indeed holds true, and makes an emotional connect with your donors.

  1. Keep them posted with activity or event alerts

Let your donors know about what is happening in your organization and on field. Keep them posted about your events, send personalized invites to them for these. Does not matter whether they will come or not, what matters is that you keep you donors in mind for any important event. This makes them feel valued and stay connected to you.

  1. Invite them to write for you

Happy donors invite more donors towards your cause. Make them happier by connecting them to you cause in an integral manner. Invite them to write about their experiences of being associated with you. They may write pages, testimonials or blogs for you. If a corporate donor write a positive testimonial, be assured that this is definitely going to attract more donors and hence more support.

  1. Timelines, the ‘before and afters’

Share the project timelines, and the before and after stories. It will be best if clubbed with pictures. Share these on your websites, social media pages, in e-mailers, personalized letters, or anywhere you wish to. Frame a story, with this flow: situation earlier, what has been done to change it and why; and finally the ‘after’ situation. Sharing pictures along with these create a lasting impact. For example, pictures before toilets in schools, and after toilet construction, including how the hygienic conditions have improved, children play in safe and hygienic environment.

  1. Personalized thank you letters from the community

Imagine an 8-year old kid sending a thank you note to you for helping him continue education as follow his dreams! Wouldn’t it be the most gratifying feeling ever? Understand the value of feeling in donor-receiver relationship. Allow the donor hear directly from the recipient how he/ she has gained from the support. For example, if you are an organization working for education or children, you may get hand-written note or letter from the child and send it to his donor with a picture. Be assured that this donor feels so much valued and happy to contribute towards transforming lives, that he will be a recurrent donor. This is also because he knows his money is being used for the intended purpose.

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.

Infographic: US Government Grants for Refugees

In these critical times, when refugees are the most affected groups around the world, we list out top grants from US Government providing aid to them.

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.

How to write engaging case studies to demonstrate impact

A case study is a very important qualitative method of capturing impact. It is an approach to qualitative research with focus on specific in-depth analysis of a particular case, incident, story, or event. For NGOs, case studies reflect successes of a particular program(s) in terms of changing people’s lives, with ‘voice’ of the people impacted. Well-researched and well-documented case studies win hearts, and may even win donors!

So here are a few tips on how to write engaging case studies to demonstrate impact of your work:

  1. Start right:

Set the pace of the case study right from the beginning. Start off at a very interesting note; create a mental image for the reader about the situation. Or, start with emotionally engaging note, surprise element or shock element. For example, “Nikita was very scared to go to school because she was bullied by her classmates and teased about her mother’s profession, sex work.’’ Make the opening lines attention grabbing, so that the reader is intrigued and bound to read further.

How to write engaging case studies

  1. The ‘before’ and ‘after’:

Case studies are all about the ‘change’ brought about by your work or program. Include the situation prior to the program, to demonstrate the differential impact. The situation prior to the program, the specific help or work, or intervention for changing the situation, and the changed picture are the three main elements of a case study. Make sure that the overall flow of the case study includes all three.

  1. Include specific information:

Specific information does not mean including confidential beneficiary information. Names of persons, places, etc. can be changed to protect the confidentiality of the information of beneficiaries. Yet, changed names and other information can be included to give a spin to the story, speak about the impact in ‘people’s voices’, and to make the story engaging for the reader.

These 3 simple basics of writing a case study can make demonstrating the impact of your work easier, more engaging for the reader. Case stories reflect the inspirational people, incidents and events, and the reader starts trusting your work as well. These readers may trust you to enough to donate and contribute towards your cause in future, you never know!

Steps to write a crowd funding pitch

Crowdfunding for non-profits, social enterprises, start-ups and other causes and organizations has been really successful method of raising funds recently. Many organizations have gained a lot from successful crowdfunding campaigns, and their ventures have taken off with the help of these resources. A crowdfunding pitch is the first level of contact with the donors/ funders and the general public. It is very important to create a pitch that clearly spreads the word about your work, while conveying what change a donor or aid can bring about.

Here are 5 simple steps to create a clear and succinct, short and effective pitch for crowdfunding. We will use examples to understand each step:

  1. Introduction:

First, introduce the situation briefly to set the context. Give a brief about the broader scenario, the extent of the problem at hand. You may also use numbers or other data here.

Example: “India has the third-highest number of people living with HIV in the world with 2.4 million Indians accounting for about four out of 10 people infected with the deadly virus in the Asia—Pacific region’’, says a UN report. Among the states in India, Maharashtra has a very high HIV prevalence of 0.40%, which is even higher than the national average of 0.35%.”

Now the reader knows the extent of the problem at hand, and the seriousness of the situation. 

  1. Now explain what problem you will address:

“For HIV-AIDS patients in Maharashtra, it is a very difficult situation. A penniless, Maharashtra State Aids Control Society (MSACS), which distributes free drugs to HIV patients, has medicines and condoms supply left for just a few weeks! With no funds, the MSACS issued a circular to NGOs to cut down on 25% of their work force which distributes syringes, medicines and kits to AIDS patients, till March 2016.

This will have drastic consequences in the fight against the disease, especially since Maharashtra has as many as 3 lakh HIV and AIDS patients who might be left without treatment as the free medicine distribution programme is set to run out of medicines very soon. The supply of testing kits and anti-retroviral drugs (medicines to treat AIDS), has been erratic since December 2013. As the HIV drugs are very expensive, more than a third of HIV and AIDS patients seek free anti-retroviral drugs from government centres.”

It is clear now that your crowdfunding pitch is focused on solving this problem.

  1. Involve the reader: use attention grabbing headlines:

Use shocking scenarios to make the reader understand the gravity of the situation in simple terms. Example in the current context: “Just imagine, a disruption in the treatment of an HIV infected pregnant woman will result in the child getting infected with HIV in the womb.” 

  1. How do you aim to solve the problem:

Now come to the solution, and what you do, what you aim to do and how you will do to address the problem. “Organization XXX is an NGO/ YY established in 1975 by Mr/ Mrs/ Dr…….. is committed to the betterment of lives of people living with HIV AIDS, their families and communities and is able to achieve this by support from some national and international agencies, and with the help of passionate individuals like you. With your help, we can help these individuals in getting access to the treatment and medicines for HIV AIDS, so that they and their families live with dignity and safety.”

  1. How the reader can help??

This is the most important part of the funding proposal and pitch. The reader now looks for ways to support your work or organization. He/ she needs to have simple, precise yet adequate information about how he/ she may contribute. Make sure you ask for what you need very clearly. Ways and methods of payment, communication and feedback must be also made very clear here.

Example in this scenario: “How you can help save lives – by financial contribution in the following ways:- 1. Mention amounts- with flexible options for the donor. 2. Modes of contribution: Online payment (Netbanking/ Payment Gateway)/ Cheque/ DD. 3. Please find attached the details of our work against HIV AIDS. You may visit our website ________ for details. 4. Do write back to us or contact the undersigned on the address/ telephone number given below in case you need any clarifications. 5. Conclude and thank: We look forward to join hands with you against this deadly disease, and thank you again for your intent to contribute towards this noble cause.”

How to Apply for a Tailor-Made Training Course: A Programme within Netherlands Fellowship Programmes

The Tailor-Made Training course (TMT) is a specific type of study programme funded within the Netherlands Fellowship Programmes (NFP) in order to meet the specific needs of a requesting organization.

Any organization will be eligible for an NFP Tailor-Made Training programme only if it is located in one of the NFP countries.

The programme is open to a broad range of s in 51 NFP countries, from education institutions, research institutes and ministries to NGOs and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

The participants of the training course are meant to be employees of the requesting organization. For example: Members of an association, or employees of member s of a federation, do not qualify.

NFP Countries

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, Djibouti, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, Palestine, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Yemen, Albania, Armenia, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cuba, DR Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Georgia, Guatemala, Jordan, Macedonia, Mongolia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Surinam, Thailand, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

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Infographic: How to summarize a Full Proposal into a Short Concept Note

Not every donor will be interested to outrightly read your full proposal. Ideally, a successful fundraiser would first approach the donor with a concept note that outlines the full project idea in a concise manner. In this infographic, you will come across useful tips to summarize your proposal into a short concept note.

How NGOs can use Facebook for ensuring an Effective Presence

Facebook for Your NGO

Facebook is an important platform for non government organizations (NGOs), especially those in the developing world. As the developing world comes online, they do so through their mobile devices, and for them, the Internet is Facebook.

For NGOs in the developing world, an effective presence on Facebook is becoming vital. It is a way to stay in touch with your supporters, to build a base of people committed to your mission, to spread the message about your organization, and even reach your beneficiaries with program interventions.

Given that most people’s only introduction to the Internet is Facebook, you should prioritize this channel as much as your website, if not more so. A Facebook strategy should be a core part of your communication efforts, and needs to complement other communication tools.

If you do not yet have a Facebook page, you can take a look at our guide on creating a Facebook page to help you get started.

Your investment in Facebook will really pay off in the long term, giving you a large network of supporters who you can mobilize when needed to rally around campaigns, raise funds, and engage with, and on behalf of your NGO.

Strategize

It is important to engage in Facebook with a long term view. That means thinking about what kind of people you want to attract to your page, what kinds of conversation you want to ignite, and how you can open up new opportunities for your NGO through your engagement here.

Do not think of it as just a broadcast channel. Think of it as an interactive platform that will allow you to engage with people in new ways. It is an opportunity to hear what others have to say about your work, and give them a meaningful way to participate. Do not waste this opportunity, or your followers’ time.

For success on Facebook, as on other communication channels, the key is to understand your audience. This should be a part of your strategic communication exercise. Once you have a good understanding of who you want to reach, your tone, message, and other details will easily flow from there.

You can also decide to use Facebook to reach a particular segment of your overall audience. For example, if you are an NGO working in higher education, you have donors, experts, and college students, all as your target audiences. You can decide that you will use your Facebook page primarily to reach college students, as they are already on the channel. You can then decide that you will engage with experts primarily via another channel (e.g. Twitter or blogs), and reach out to donors mostly via email.

Although you will get a mix of audiences in all your channels, you will see more success if you use Facebook thoughtfully, by taking advantage of its particular strengths, which include a young audience, a casual tone, an emphasis on two-way communication, and high responsiveness.

If you have a clear strategy and/or guidelines, it will be easier to say no to others within the organization, who might want to use the channel to promote their own work which might not be of interest to your Facebook audience.

Assign Responsibility

Now that you have a strategy, you need to put in place systems, processes, and personnel for Facebook. Engaging with a long term view requires you to make responsibility for Facebook appear in the work plan of at least one person at the organization. If nobody is explicitly responsible for Facebook, it won’t receive the attention it deserves. Communication results achieved on this channel should get rewarded, just like results achieved offline: say in street canvassing, or event management.

Although this is less frequent nowadays, organizations have, in the past, made the intern or the only young person in the organization responsible for Facebook, and then decided they had taken care of it. However, this is not enough. For your work on Facebook to be successful, the person in charge needs to be able to play a coordinating role within your NGO, and feature the best stuff across the board.

It is important for those at the highest level of the organization to show interest in success on Facebook. This will make sure everyone in the organization is contributing. If you are an NGO that has a standing morning meeting, you can ask people for ideas there, and make the best ideas a part of your content schedule.

Engage in Professional Branding

There are numerous Facebook pages out there that do not invest in something as basic as a good, non-pixelated image for the cover page and profile picture. Make no mistake. Your Facebook page is the first impression many people will get about your NGO. It is important to have clear messages, with crisp images on your page. In addition, with mobile traffic increasing, it is important to be sensitive to mobile users. Visit this Facebook page to understand the image sizes Facebook requires. Image sizes could vary, depending on whether a new layout has been implemented in your location.

Another easy way to brand your page and promote it is to create a unique url for your page. Make it simple. If it is available, use the simplest url; i.e. https://facebook.com/yourorganizationname. Once you have it, use it everywhere. Make sure to include your Facebook url in your brochures, publications, visiting cards of all employees in the organization, and other offline content.

You should also integrate Facebook with your other channels. Provide widgets for your Facebook page (the little Facebook icon that links to your Facebook page) on your website, and provide your website address on your Facebook page.

Your tone on the social media platform is also a representation of your organization. Keep a conversational, yet professional tone. You want to make the viewer feel welcome, while still looking like a competent outfit.

Create a Content Strategy and Calendar

Content strategy refers to the planning, development, and management of content. Managing your Facebook page will become much simpler once you have a content strategy in place. Facebook is a hungry channel. Even if you post once a day, the content you have lying around will soon be exhausted.

The content strategy and plan should be created with…

FACEBOOK FOR NGOS

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Resource mobilization for community-based organizations

Community-based organizations (CBO) or Community organizations (CO) have been an integral part of the development projects and initiatives since decades. They are indeed the ‘face’ of community empowerment, by virtue of the fundamental principles of democratic processes, building on the social capital, and reliance on community participation.

Many development projects have CBO formation as a ‘model’ inherent in the project principles, systems and processes. Most commonly, CBOs form, grow and stabilize over the years, during the project period. But once the funding support ceases, which usually is a part of the project costs partially or fully, the CBOs face multiple challenges in sustaining their functions. As a result, many such organizations die out.

 Resource mobilization for community-based organizations

For continued existence, financial self-reliance, and sustainability of the community-based organizations, exploring new avenues for financial support is very important. These organizations must not depend only on the external funding support, as it might be inconsistent, temporary and based on the priorities of funding agencies/ donors rather than on the real need at the grassroots.

In order to devise an innovative strategy for fundraising, the community organization (CO) must first focus on its current activities, prioritize them and then must diversify accordingly. It must first understand its own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities in front of it and also threats to its resources or existence. In order to attain financial self-reliance, access to financial resources may be sought in more than one way.

There may be mainly three approaches to gain access to financial resources: 1. Accessing financial support from other organizations, like foundations, CSR arms, local resources and support, etc.; 2. Generating income by taking up income-generating activities 3. Making use of resources available to generate funds/ other kind of support, like asking volunteers to raise funds, building and utilizing network and goodwill to raise funds.

All three ways can be used innovatively to raise funds or resources for a CO.

  1. Accessing financial support from foundations/ CSR/ local resources or bodies is the conventional and most common way of raising funds. Yet, newer and innovative methods and approaches towards fundraising can make a difference. The CO must make its own cause clear to the donor, explaining what activities it undertakes and what impact it is making on the grassroots level. A well- documented impact report, testimonials; third-party evaluations (if possible) can establish the credibility and effectiveness of the organization.
  2. Taking up income-generating activities is what many organizations have started doing in order to support them to some extent. Such activities may involve selling items at goodwill prices, partnership with other organizations, training programs, and other similar activities. One newer avenue in this regard is eco-tourism, exposure visits, transect walks, and similar tours. Such events enable one to explore and experience the ground realities which are not a part of the daily lives of a normal urban dweller. One very important thing to note here is that such activities must not interfere with the mission, vision and the main functions of a CO. Thus, these must be completely isolated from the main activities of the CO.
  3. Making use of resources available to generate funds/ other kind of support: like asking volunteers to raise funds, building and utilizing network and goodwill to raise funds. Social media can play a very important role here. A very large network of volunteers and goodwill supporters can be built through the use of internet and social media. A well-made and comprehensive website can also play crucial role here. Free web platforms are available these days where websites can be made very easily. Some amount of training and skill-building for CO will be needed to access this very effective medium of today’s age. Volunteers may also be engaged in direct fundraising support apart from other activities of a CO.

Certain events may also be organized for networking and fundraising support with the help of volunteers. Local resources may also be tapped with their help. Some of the local bodies like Panchayats, Zilla Parishads, and Municipalities in India from which support may be sought for fundraising.