The United Nations (UN) does fund NGOs – you can easily find out more about this by browsing the profiles of those who got financial support from one of the agencies part of the UN-family. Search for the agencies with branches in your own country and get connected to them (via Facebook, twitter, checking their websites, and subscribing to their mailing lists). It is likely that, if the UN has offices in your country, then the first selections of applications will be done locally.
Familiarise with their activities in your territory and get to know them personally in public meetings, attend training sessions or short courses they often organise to improve Ngo workers skills and strengthen your own network with them. Do not hesitate to contact your local branch while writing up your proposal; they will be happy to support you and provide additional information if needed. Also, the UN created several networks supportive of exchanges between NGO workers worldwide. Take your time to research these networks online, join their platforms, and read existing discussions on their online pages. Conduct in-depth research about previously sponsored NGOs whose aims and goals are most similar to your own. Read through their project descriptions to help you understand how to structure and phrase your own proposal, develop a strong methodology, and set out a plan to assess your results.
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The first step to succeed is to understand what is at stake. Each of the UN bodies has a specific agenda and set of goals. Answer to the proposal calls that best fit the profile of your organisations and match the general intents of the potential donor agency. For instance, if your NGO works with young people and you have built your credibility and profile as an organisation working with youth groups, focus on writing proposals that directly address youth problems.
In fact, funding will be more likely to be given to organisations that are well established in their field of expertise, which means that you need a verifiable track record of successfully developed projects and administrative competences.
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If your NGO is still building a portfolio and you cannot count on a strong track record, get in touch with more experienced actors and propose partnerships with them. Remember that the ability to create working relationships with local and international NGOs is always regarded as an asset. Make a list of potential partners, contact them with a draft of your ideas and explain the ways in which this collaboration could be developed effectively.
Ask them to become the leading organisation of the project to increase the chances of the application’s success. Learn from those with senior experience how to manage the application process and become a proactive partner. On the one hand, this could be a great opportunity to learn more about proposal writing, on the other hand, you could further develop your existing networks and write more collaborative projects in the future.
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Lastly, remember that competition to get UN funding is tough. Do not give up if the first application is unsuccessful and keep trying; simply view this as part of the learning process.