Donors may have a number of reasons for supporting an NGO’s work. Most want to work with an organization that is making a difference in the world and with an organization that shares his/her vision for making that difference. Some donors are content with being recognized in an annual report for their support. Others prefer to remain anonymous all together. However, there are donor agencies that want to take an active role in the work your organization is doing.
Trust and openness are the basis of good NGO-donor partnerships. Such partnerships take time to build. The way in which a donor expects to work with your organization varies according to the donor agency itself. For example, a foundation that donates millions of dollars may require a significant amount of accountability in terms of reporting by your NGO regarding how you spent the donor’s funding. Other foundations are fine with a final report at the end of your project. Most fall somewhere in between.
Note that, depending upon where your NGO is located in the world may determine the extent to which a donor is allowed to participate in the work of your organization. Some countries do have legal restrictions that require a foundation and NGO to work at arms length – meaning that the staff of each organization cannot do work, even volunteer work, for the other organization. Make sure that you are familiar with any legal requirements before establishing a relationship with a donor organization.
NGO leadership conversing with the donor agency about how much the agency wants to be engaged in your project and specifically how they want to participate, before you accept the funding, will go a long way in solidifying the NGO-donor partnership for the long term.