To build a strong network for your NGO is essential. Think about the world as the territory in which you move and, accordingly, find a strategy to get connected to this territory. Take advantage of the possibilities to become visible globally by using the Internet. It is essential that your NGO has a website that describes your aims and goals, says who you are, and disseminates the results of your project visually and in writing.
Create a Facebook page, a twitter account, and an online blog named after your NGO. Make sure that all these virtual profiles are inter-connected in order to increase your visibility online and keep them continually updated. On the one hand, it will be easier for the potential donor to get to know you, review what you have been doing, and assess your achievements if you apply for financial support. On the other hand, you will be able to directly connect and interact with potential donors in quick and simple ways.
Make a list of target donors and funding bodies, look up their pages on Facebook and Twitter and link your pages to theirs. Be proactive – follow their updates and post appropriate comments. Make yourself visible by engaging with their online activities and demonstrate your knowledge and experience. For instance, write comments on their existing projects in your blog, re-tweet their statements or news when of interest of your NGO, post comments on their Facebook page. Make sure they know about your online engagement with their work by linking their own pages to yours.
Explore your donors’ existing networks. Have a look at what they are following online, what they tweet and re-tweet, and what they post comments about. Make sure to investigate the profile of other NGOs they support or are connected with. In particular, learn from the strategies implemented by NGOs that secured funding from your target donor and replicate them. Get in contact with organisations that are already in working relationship with your target donor and show interest in their projects, ask for further information or advice on how to develop your own NGO further. Think about these virtual networks as your chance to meet people, who are geographically unreachable, and to learn form the past experience of similar minded organisations.
Importantly, remember that your potential donors will advertise calls for proposal online. Check their posts on a daily basis to find out about new funding opportunities, which will increase your chances of securing a budget for your projects. Do not waste time. If a new call is published, read carefully through the aims, goals, and objectives set by the donor. Evaluate whether your ongoing activities fit into the proposed scheme and update your online pages with an announcement of your participation in the bid. There is the possibility that the donor will start to familiarise with your work by researching your online profiles, making it easier for you and your proposal to be remembered when the assessment phase begins.
Additionally, if you are awarded funding, use your online profiles to thank the donor. On the one hand, you will be acknowledging the contribution of your funding body, praising their work and efforts to support your endeavours. On the other hand, you will gain the attention of other potential donors, who will surely view your success as a proof of your professionalism and abilities.