Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Why it is high time to start fundraising?

There were two recent developments that left me even more convinced that each non-profit in the sub-continent needs to start its own fundraising.

The first one was a news article in Sunday Times of India (Nov. 9, 2008). It mentioned that The Global Fund (http://www.theglobalfund.org/EN/), a public-private partnership that finances programmes to prevent and treat diseases in developing countries, has not approved 100 millions euros worth of proposals by Indian government to fight TB, HIV/AIDS etc. Much of these funds would have found way into several implementing non-profit organisations. No longer, since these may never come in, although Indian government has a chance to represent the proposal next year.

So fellow non-profit fundraisers, why in first place should we be dependent on benevolence of funds like the above? Please do think about it.

The second was an advertisement by an NGO formed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare asking for donations from individuals. Called the Jansankhya Stirtha Kosh (National Population Stabilisation Fund http://www.jsk.gov.in/) Quiet a leap for a government promoted NGO. If they can do it, why can't we all?

Are you still not convinced? If you are start today.

Friday, October 31, 2008

How to Keep Donors Excited!!

Have you been through the pain of loosing donors who give to your cause? Or have you been through the exaltation when your donors go on to become your ambassadors?

The difference in above two situations could be in the way you cultivated your donors. Several fundraising guru's term it as Donor Stewardship. Are you thinking what do these two words mean?

According to a survey of around 150 fundraisers conducted by Gordon Mitchie of Relationship Marketing, UK,(available at http://www.relationshipmarketing.org.uk/Relationship%20Marketing%20Ste.pdf )

"Stewardship is really about understanding your donor and their wants and needs. A good steward will know that stewardship means ensuring people give at levels they can afford and feel comfortable with so they might not need to be brought on to a higher giving level.And to a very good fundraising steward, asking only when your donors want to be asked, is a non-issue because you would know when your donor wanted to be asked without them having to tell you. That’s part of taking personal responsibility – taking responsibility for knowing when and how to ask."

Very often we ask donors less or more than they can afford. At times we ask them for causes they do not feel strongly about. We also ask them at times which are not great for them. Simply stewarding is about knowing right answers to these what, when and how much questions about your donors. Lots of hard work, but that is worth donors are!

PS: Although, the survey findings further go on to say that there are three kind of stewardships and wanting one definition type is not really fair, but the above simple understanding should be a good starting point for us fundraisers in the Indian sub-continent.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How do we give some sense to our CSR?

Does this question bog you very often as a practicing CSR professional? It certainly did bother my long time friend, who I have also known professionally now for around a decade.

My friend works for a top-line FMCG company that is also quiet active in community development. Quiet an expert himself, somehow this time he seemed to grapple hard with the question (How do we give some sense to our CSR?).

I am about to describe a situation that may be familar to some of you. His company was involved in several community welfare activities and that too in a totally decentralised fashion. You may be wondering where was the problem in all this? After all decentralization is a good word!

Well the problem was there and profound, as my friend articulated:

1) Most of the activities did not add up and hence the impact caused by them was not clear and measurable.

2) With 50 odd offices in 50 different cities doing their own bit, there seemed to be no sense of direction

Well, when he narrated this to me I was quiet surprised. The community development programme that they were running was almost the size that a mid-size non-profit in India manages. Not many non-profits in India, leave alone corporations, have a 50 city programme.

Obviously the programme was spread quiet thin. Clearly, the desire of each office to have their own programme had led to this situation. "But how does one handle this?", asked my friend.

That set me thinking. If a corporation's community development programme is equivalent in size to the programme that a mid-sized non-profit organisation usually runs, then it has to be handled in a manner the non-profits handle it. Like a serious business!
There are some best practices that rest with the non-profits. And if we superimpose some of these with corporate situations then the cocktail, as served below may offer some solutions:

a) It could be a good thing to issue guidelines to your local offices for the type of community welfare activities that they can enter into e.g. stocking the school library, sponsoring the teachers/health workers for critically important training programme, providing teaching/learning aids and so on.

I think a dozen odd activities amplifying the corporate vision should help.A best practice would be to evolve these dozen odd activity types by the way of an inter-office consultation.

b) I would reckon around 75% of the programming could take the above route and 25% could be still totally left to local office judgement;allowing for local level flexibilities.

c)The programme impact surely needs to be measurable. Some non-profits categorise their various projects on a two by two matrix. On one axis is the 'critically of the programme to overall vision' and on the other is 'resources involved'. So the programmes that rank high on both the parameters deserve and get special attention. These are provided special inputs in terms of agreeing on mission, goals, objectives and plan of action. Besides, these are frequently checked on the direction they are taking.

The corporations like the ones for which my friend works could also do the same. Focus on key projects, plan and monitor them well. The rest of the projects could be left to the judgment of people at local level. Mind you, this is not because people at local level know less. This is because,at the local level mostly the people stationed are sales/operations/production staff who are all the time busy chasing their own targets and do not have enough time for all this additional serious work.

d) The high ranking programmes could be even monitored by an outside agency. Often corporations do not have enough people for the purpose and hence an outside agency with expertise in this should be a great help.A mid-term followed by an year end evaluation should be good enough to start with.

The non-profits even go to a greater extent to plan and monitor their programmes. But at most of the corporations it is still a different story. CSR and hence community development is not an integral part of business for many. Nothing to fret about, we know it is still evolving!

These basics if applied could make the Community Development programme of a corporation (often called CSR to great dismay of many) more strategic and give it an increased sense of direction. There is much more, but as I said these are just few basics.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Honey traps for INGOs in India

While attending the International Fundraising Conference at Amsterdam, I chanced upon my good Italian friend and former colleague Francesco. After doing several years with International non-profits in Europe and Latin America, he is now a new but a devout convert to consulting.

On the bar stools, I have yet to come across a more inciting/inspiring fundraiser as him. And hence my friend encouraged me to write about the "Honey traps that INGOs land in while entering new emerging markets".

"Well, I told him, " I know more about India and at best South Asia, but I will do it for you".

So here is this to you Francesco, my two (sorry five) pence:

1) First and foremost the assumption by INGOs, that donor is a "she". Unfortunately (for all our efforts at women empowerment), donors in emerging markets like India are a "he". In other words donor is predominantly a male unlike the western and north American world.

2) Then ' real donors are 55 years and above'. Surprise, surprise. The donors in India are 30 years and above. In fact post 55 they tend to stop contributing. The state sponsored social security in such emerging markets virtually does not exist and hence the obvious donor behaviour.

3)Renting lists for Direct mail is cheaper than buying them. Not in India. If you are renting a list then it is most likely a well guarded proprietary or at least a decent compiled list. But if you are buying them, these could be dirt cheap, although of low reliability.

4) Some INGOs believe that corporations will fuel their growth in the country. It is not the case for India. The corporations in India have their own philanthropic foundations and don't need INGOs mostly. On the contrary they need small and medium implementing non-profit organisations, who can bring to reality their vision.

5) Acquiring new donors is always done at a break even cost or even a loss. In India all the leading Indian non-profits make money on acquisition, largely due to low cost mail packages. So, decide whether to keep your western ways or take to the Indian. Both I am sure have their merits.

I am hoping that these five pence should make Francesco a happy man. Although, I am sure having worked in Latin America he knows it all and was being his usual inciting self on the bar stool. Por eso mi amigo, espero que tu quieras este.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Telling Powerful Fundraising Stories

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend and speak at Resource Alliance's International Fundraising Conference, clearly the largest gathering of fundraisers from around the world, at Amsterdam.

There I picked up a book mark that provides real useful tips on writing effective fundraising stories. You could see them at http://www.docstoc.com/docs/2028842/Global-Fundraising-Story-book.

The book mark was jointly developed by Jon Duschinsky of BeTheChange Consulting (France) and Sonya Swiridjuk of Breast Cancer Foundation (Canada). Real concise and hits bull's eye.

I am having fun using the tips given in there, I hope you too would. Click on the link below now.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fundraisers of India Decide to Unite

Some good news in the world of Indian fundraising. A group of fundraisers in India have decided to unite. The idea is to help grow the sector as a whole.

The genesis of the forum was at the "India Direct Marketing Fundraising Round table" recently held in Delhi. The fundraising icon Mal Warwick was visiting India and volunteered to help crystallise this.Mal facilitated the round table that was organised by Resource Alliance India.

The prime objective of the Round table was to build capacities of Direct Marketing fundraising non-profits in India. The Round table saw fundraisers from leading non-profits like CRY, Can Kids, Deepalaya,GreenPeace, HelpAge India, Meenakshi Mission Hospital, UNICEF, WWF India and World Vision in attendance. Direxions a leading Direct Marketing Agency and Syrex the leaders in telephone based fundraising also represented fundraising consultants fraternity.

During the sessions common challenges of non-delivery of mailers, bad lists etc. came to the fore very often. The participants felt that it was the time when everyone needed to come together, to take these issues collectively with the parties concerned.

The first signs of activity can be seen on the blog of the forum http://www.fundraisersforum.blogspot.com/

I wish the Forum all the best and hope it goes on to take up sectoral issues effectively and efficiently or in other words with great response rate and ROI :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Writing Your Own Simple Fundraising Strategy

A fundraising document is a must. You can make it very sophisticated if you can. Otherwise a simple one can also do. The attached power-point is one way to do it. Especially for smaller non-profits.



Fundraising Strategy
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: fundraising strategy)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What does Indian Fundraising Really Need?

The largest annual gathering of charity fundraisers in India drew to an end after 4 days of discourses, debates, presentations and partying. The 19th South Asian Fund Raising Workshop (SAFRW) held at Agra saw the international experts, the Indian veterans and absolute beginners, all rubbing shoulders under one roof.

The show was great and the organizers deserve a pat for that. The knowledge sharing was tremendous, with both international and local examples flowing freely. The Indian (and also Pakistani, Afghani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and Nepalese) NGOs were enthusiastic and hungry for more.

But what struck one was the absolute uselessness of this exchange. It is an old known fact that much of this capacity building will come to a cropper, as majority of these non-profits will never be able to put this to practice. Quiet a shame for all the effort put.

No, not because these non-profits are unwilling and laid back. The scourge here is the lack of investment funds to kick-start fundraising. Yes, capacity building is important but what is paramount is the availability of seed funds.

It is not difficult. The government, financial institutions, philanthropists, development agencies and fundraisers all need to come forward to provide sustainability to the sector. It is not difficult at all. The following may be worth considering:

1) The government provides funds for social development to scores of non-profits. These funds are earmarked for welfare programmes. What is needed is to allocate a part of them for building donor base and hence sustainability of the organization.

2) The financial institutions are able to offer soft loans for fundraising and non-profits are allowed to access them. The RBI and the Charity Commissioners need to facilitate the procedural permissions.

3) The philanthropist and funding agencies give specific grants for building fundraising teams and operational budgets for up to 3 years. We already have a success story in CRY, which got a grant from Stromme Memorial Foundation to start their Direct Mail fundraising. Rest is history.

4) Finally all the Fundraising capacity building organizations of the country and all the fundraisers and their associations need to gather and pool a fund that gives grants to deserving projects and hand-holds them to success.

The sector badly needs angel investors. All the donors to the sector will do a greater service if they support development of fundraising and not only programmes. Every rupee donated will convert into 4 rupees over 2-3 years time and make the project going till it is needed.

But the converse may cause our favorite charitable project to collapse sooner or later. The choice totally rests with us.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

19th SAFRW Direct Marketing Presentation

Dear Friends,

Thank you for attending the "How to Start Your Own Direct Marketing Programme" session at 19th SAFRW at Agra.

I am thankful to you for your participation and feedback. Please feel free to download the presentation.

Hopefully, this will find way in your work.



19th SAFRW Presentation
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: dm tele-facing)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Are Indians Philanthropic?

Well the answer seems to be 'Yes'. According to a recent survey shown on CNN-IBN, broadcast on the eve of Indian Independence Day (August 15) and as a part of regular State of the Nation surveys, the findings point to a definite 'aye'.

Sample this:

1) Over 60 per cent of urban India feels that one should share one’s income with the less fortunate.

2) Sixty-one per cent of young rich urban Indians feel that a portion of one's income should be shared with the less fortunate

3) 77 per cent of old generation urban rich Indians feel the same.

The findings spell good news for the NGOs planning to send appeals to Indian individuals to raise monies for their causes.The results obtained by some of the top fundraising NGOs in India also indicate the same.

It is high time such a generous source is tapped and money put to good use.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Is OOH Media a good solution for NGO Fundraising?

Well first, what is OOH media? If you already know you can safely skip the next paragraph.

OOH media in the context of this article are the LCD and plasma screens that one sees in malls, restaurants, office cafeterias, lift lobbies, condominiums, hospitals and airports. OOH stands for 'Out of Home'. There is more to OOH but covering that is not the intention here.

Some of these places have a captive audience and hence show advertisements interspersed with some programming.

These could be ideal for fundraising. We all know that it is beyond budgets for non-profit sector to buy spots on TV for raising funds. The erstwhile 'free-spots' have become far and few.

In light of all this OOH may be a more economical solution. Another advantage is that you can show the content as per the suitability of the location. For example the one in an hospital can talk largely about health issues while the one in airports could talk about donating your air miles.

One of the companies in India who are active in OOH is called by the generic 'OOH Media’ name (www.oohindia.com/). The company, if their byline is to be believed, is the largest OOH media company in India. There are also few others also like Times OOH, Clear Channel, Selvel, Vantage, Pioneer, Portland and Lakshya.

OOH India as a part of their CSR is doing an awareness generation and call for action campaign for UNICEF. Let's see how this medium works out for non-profits.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Is NGO fundraising a career for you?

(This story has originally appeared at MSN India website)

As I mull over this question, I am reminded of an anecdote shared by a young fundraising expert from UK. This person has been a fundraiser with leading NGOs in UK for several years and now runs a very successful fundraising consulting business. According to him he is often still chided by his mother for not being able to secure a proper job and a career.

This is not to disappoint you. I start this article with this anecdote to break ice and I am sure that the young fundraising guru also does it for the same.

Believe you me; it is a career, although a bit off-beat. I can vouch for it for having survived well at if for more than a decade.

Are you wondering how do you become a fundraiser?

Well that is what I plan to delve on in rest of what you will read. Are you wondering if you need some relevant experience and qualification?

Yes and No. There are no formal long-term courses in India on fundraising. But there are few short-term ones offered by Resource Alliance India and SAFRG (you can do an MSN search on them and find more). These courses are not very expensive and provide you a great perspective.

Your experience in the commercial sector could hold you in good stead. Sample this, if you have experience in corporate business development you can be a corporate fundraiser. If you have been an Event Manager, you could continue doing the same for organising fundraising events. People in commercial direct mail can use their skills to use the medium for raising money.

Are you in the call center industry?

Why don't you join an NGO and raise money by telecalling. Fortunately, authorities have kept fundraising by telephone out of Do Not Disturb (DND) registery. Same goes for people in Direct Sales. Even NGOs use Face to Face as a strategy to raise funds.

Now onto salaries. Well they are not so bad.Usually freshers start around Rs. 10,000 per month. The experienced people in big NGOs can even get Rs. 100,000 per month and more.

So what are you waiting for? To repeat Indian Army's catch phrase,

" Do you have it in you?"

PS: The two websites that usually have most of the NGO jobs are devnetjobsindia.org and indianngos.com

Ethics in Fundraising?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

ISR is here, watch-out CSR!

As a fundraiser who makes extensive use of telephone, I am mostly very polite to fellow telecallers, although most of these are abjectly commercial calls, unlike mine. I am glad that this morning I kept my predicament intact, while taking one such call.

Early morning, not quiet, though early for a weekend, I was woken out of my reverie, by a phone call inviting me to attend a CSR-Corporate Social Responsibility Conference. I tried explaining to the lady on the other side that I was no longer the best person for such conferences. And that I had stopped being a Corporate fundraiser for a while and hence attended different kind of conferences now. The other side was persistent and wanted to know what I was doing currently. By this time the call was taking much of my weekend and also to make it easier, I rattled that I handled “Individual Social Responsibility”, instead.

Five minutes later was my Eureka moment. Was it Individual Social Responsibility I said? Yes it was Individual Social Responsibility still but by this time in my thoughts it had shrunk to being ISR.

As I write this, I realize ISR has been there around for long, but has not been branded, discussed and conceptualized like its corporate avatar. In fact if you thought it through, ISR has been at the roots of CSR. Because what is a corporate without the individuals in it.

I know this makes the already esoteric world of CSR even murkier. Everyday I hear a new perspective on CSR. Good for a school that is still evolving undoubtedly. But how would one define ISR?

Well, it is to be seen how the definition develops. Let me try a simplistic one. “Being responsible in our actions that have affect on communities outside our immediate circle”. The immediate circle being family and friends. One could argue to even include family and friends, but I would rather that they be part of Individual Personal Responsibility (another acronym to confuse promoters of Intellectual Property Rights).

There could be some simplistic manifestations of ISR. A very first could be your philanthropic behaviour or lack of it. Add to this the campaigner, volunteer and activist in you that picks-up and supports issues affecting the society. Top it with being ethical in your outward dealings.

I know much more conceptualization and debate is needed. Perhaps much on it already exists there, unknown to me, Wikipedia and Google. But think of the powerhouse this could be, if given the attention CSR gets. The society would change faster!

I hope very soon I will get a call inviting me to attend a conference on ISR. I will expectantly pick even the unknown calls on my mobile.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Direct Tele-mail and Tele-facing

Couple of fundraising practioners in India have shared their experience on fundraising techniques unique to India. The entire article can be found on

Having read this great piece I can't help calling one of the techniques "Direct Tele-mail". How about adding DTM to your century old DM led glossary. Don't confuse it for a gizmo that delivers a Direct Mail pack by telephone. It is much simpler, read the full article to discover.

The other technique of mixing telephone and face to face, many of us already call tele-facing. Enjoy reading.The link http://www.resource-alliance.org/resources/enewsletter/587.asp once again

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A comprehensive report on Indian Fundraising Market

Here is something I found on the net. Never expected it though. Fundraise India, has come out with an interesting pdf publication on Indian fundraising scenario. A good read. Being a fundraiser in India all my life, I am impressed by it definitely.

Great thing is that it is free. You just need to send an email to publications@fundraiseindia.net and they send it to you. So what are you waiting for! Not convinced see the contents on http://fundraiseindia.net/

Saturday, May 3, 2008

NGOs that do Private Sector Fundraising in India

The Indian NGOs as mentioned in my previous post do not have a long history of doing active and regular fundraising from Private Sector (Indian individuals and Corporations). There are exceptions that do get their due mention later. In fact, this post attempts to list some, who have been.

Of’ course there will be some that I don't know of. So if you are an NGO who have a regular fundraising programme and don't feature in this list, do write back. I plan to do an addendum in next 7 days, so your name could feature there.

Before keying in the list, let me share the criterion for making the distinction:

1) The NGO has at least one dedicated staff for fundraising
2) The NGO has some dedicated budget for investing in fundraising
3) There is a pre-agreed fundraising strategy besides the knack for taking advantage of opportunities
4) The NGO has a regular fundraising programme that comprises at least two of the following tools/strategies:

• Direct Mail
• Telephone fundraising
• Tele-facing
• Face to Face fundraising
• Web & New media (SMS, Widgets) based fundraising
• Events
• Corporate philanthropy
• Cause Related Marketing
• Payroll/Employee Group giving

Well now on to the list. I have grouped them in three categories viz. National, International and Regional. As I delve deep in them the categories get explained, themselves, so please be patient about it.

National NGOs is a very interesting segment. The grand daddy of Indian fundraising and still the largest player CRY-Child Rights and You, sits here. The only other NGO in this category with long standing is Concern India Foundation. It may surprise you that this category appears to be not very crowded. But this is a group you graduate to and it is in fact difficult to start here. Two new entrants to this list are Give India and Pratham India. Overall still very sparsely populated category.

My pick of organizations that do have the potential to join this category in future are Aadi, Akshay Patra, Blind Relief Association(s), Cancer Patient Society of India, Development Alternatives, Global Cancer Concern, Hemophilia Federation (India), Naandi Foundation, Public Health Foundation of India and Smile Foundation, but all of them have lots of catching up to do.

International NGOs is a category that is witnessing the action most. The list here is long and a new player gets added every passing month.

The leader in this category is HelpAge India, which for all practical purposes is Indian but has an International lineage that many are not even aware of. WWF India is another old but slow (could be steady though) player with high levels of brand recognition. SOS Children Villages of India enjoys good recognition and has shown some aggression in fundraising lately. World Vision and GreenPeace have been active in this category for at least 5-6 years and have some advantage over the other new beginners. CAF-Charities Aid Foundation India, part of the UK headquartered network, has been around for around a decade in India but sill suffers from low levels of brand awareness. A special mention here for Indian Red Cross, which has been around for always and leads in fundraising for emergencies.

The new entrants include Bal Raksha Bharat (Save the Children International’s Indian entity), Oxfam India, Plan India and UN agencies like UNICEF, WFP and others. Interestingly, although all these names are very big internationally they are currently small specks in the high potential Indian fundraising sector. Action Aid India started with a bang around five years back, but has started afresh lately with a new fundraising strategy. Habitat for Humanity is largely into corporate partnerships, although some of them very interesting. United Way has also been around for a while but their mainstay is Pay Roll Giving. Aide Et Action India (headquartered in Paris) is amongst the newest entrants in this category.

Some years back Christian Aid also wanted to start fundraising in India, I don’t know what became of that. CASA another Christian organization has also shown some interest in fundraising. The Agha Khan Foundation had also been scouting for resources to start their fundraising operations some years back.

If you are an Indian fundraiser, don’t be surprised if you get a friendly tap from a stranger at an International Fundraising Conference. This could be from any of the International biggies planning to start fundraising in India. In fact it will be interesting to see when and how few other big names in fundraising in North America and Europe namely, Amnesty International, Care and MSF (Doctors without Borders) bite the fundraising bullet. All of them have programmatic presence in India for ages.

Regional category is the most diverse and scary to list because there are so many (although still countable), but at the same time so local in operation that they may not make a blip on one’s radar.

New Delhi has two NGOs that now have been raising funds with some success. These are Deepalaya and Prayas. Next in the pecking order are NGOs like Udyan Care, Literacy India, Action for Autism,. Two celebrities led NGOs, Action India and Khushi are more active in the fundraising events sector.

From the Mumbai region the NGOs that hit my radar quiet often are Dignity Foundation, Magic Bus and Akanksha Foundation. Although, I don’t live in that city but do travel there often and get to read about them in the local media, regularly.

Down South Akshara Foundation (Bangalore), Meenakshi Mission Hospital (Madurai), India Foundation for Arts have been doing some steady fundraising for some years now.

Up East Child in Need Institute or CINI for short is quiet prominent both in terms of programming and now some private sector fundraising.

There are many others who are now interested but are kind of caught in the chicken and egg loop. They need money from private sector but don’t have investment funds for starting operations. Angel Investors please help if you are reading this! The NGOs in India now need investment to start fundraising on their own and that too quiet urgently. The above are only a handful there are millions more.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Tele-facing To Raise Funds

Are you an NGO that wants to raise funds desparately and soon? Are you stuck without any seed capital?

Then you may have an answers in Tele-facing. Tele-facing is a novel approach that mixes telemarketing and pizza delivery to produce effective fundraising.

The global on-line resource on fundraising, SOFII (The Showcase for Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration) describes Tele-facing as "an example of how telephone fundraising and face-to-face fundraising are evolving and being adapted in India to take account of the country’s large population and distinctive business culture – with quite impressive results. "

Tele-facing is “ ..innovative cutting-edge, direct marketing appeal”, according to Becky Slack, Editor, Professional Fundraising Magazine, UK. She describes Tele-facing very lucidly as 'fundraising by appointment' in December 2007 issue of the magazine.

Sean Triner, Co-founder of Pareto Fundraising, Australia, feels Tele-facing can be particularly suitable for smaller charities, with small constituencies that can be reached easily by the technique.

"UNICEF only started to fundraise from the Indian public and corporations in 2005. So far, it seems that the yields on investment from this form of pre-qualifying donors exceeds most other forms of direct marketing", says Scottland based international fundraising consultant and Asian markets expert Finlay Craig.

If you are really interested please click on the links below and download more information. The author will also like to thank the following resources that formed base of this post.





Monday, February 11, 2008

How can NGOs in India really start raising funds

India has around 1.2 million NGOs. The population having a giving potential is also around 400 million. These are really mind boggling figures. A possible donor community larger than the entire population of USA or a big chunk of European Union! At a glance, these indicators make Indian fundraising market appear as a highly mature entity. But the real picture is totally opposite. The Indian fundraising scenario is still in its nascence. One can argue that professional fundraising in India has been around for more than quarter of a century. But for good two decades, only a handful like CRY and HelpAge India were really practicing it. And only these clutch of NGOs managed the distinction of being funded by mass voluntary contributions. But how did a country with vibrant civil society and giving population manage such a lump? No, it is not even about the giving culture or lack of it. Infact the country has a very powerful giving strain in its DNA.

The main reason for this was that the voluntary sector in India never needed to score around for funds. With its teaming millions needing help, there were pots of money pouring. Every one including the bilateral, international organisations, overseas non profits and philanthropists had India on its priority. This kind of put the Indian NGOs in a reverse time wrap when it came to fundraising. So, while they developed various programmatic and operational functions in their organisations, fundraising was sadly never thought of.

Unfortunately, the dream run is about to end. India is loosing favour with the international donors. Suddenly, the Indian voluntary sector finds itself devoid of the very sources it always thought were permanently there. But all is not lost. The good thing is that Indian donor community is today largest in the world and waiting to be tapped. It is high time the voluntary sector ramps up its act. It is not an impossible path but only a little difficult. Every NGO can develop its own sources for sustainability. It just needs some application and investing in. In my future blogs I plan to write exactly about it. While, it will also be of use to large NGOs, I plan to make it more relevant for the smaller ones. Please keep visiting this space.