Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Non-profits urge SAFRG to take central role in fundraising advocacy

At the just concluded 22nd South Asian Fund Raising Summit, the leading non-profits of South Asia urged SAFRG to take a central role in advocating for policy reforms related to fundraising.

The non-profit sector is raising funds under lots of disadvantages. The taxation laws in respect of accepting foreign currency donations are not very friendly. Besides, the laws that give greater incentives to donors and hence increase giving are a non-entity. Many other countries in the world have very supportive policies. Why does our government shy?

Recent TRAI- Telecom Regulatory Authority of India regulations on telecalling make it impossible for NGOs to raise money. Prior to Sept 2011 ruling, non-profits were exempt from embargo on calling. Now the commercial telecallers and NGO have been clubbed as one. This is very unfortunate. By one estimate NGOs raised close to INR 1000 million per year from telecalling. This is a big jolt to the sustainability of the sector. There is no one to listen to NGOs on this. Any effort to meet officials at TRAI fizzles out at the lower bureaucratic levels only.

Direct mailers used to be a successful source of raising money from general public. But right now the quality of postal services available in the region is very poor. Often, 40% of the mailers that NGOs send do not reach the addressees.

What NGO sector lacks is a representative body that advocates for the fundraising rights of the NGOs. The NGOs at the summit urged that SAFRG should play that role in bringing the sector together.

SAFRG has promised to soon call a meeting for all affected NGOs to chart the future course of action. More details on this space soon.

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