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.