Is it time to look beyond foreign funding for NGOs?

Empowering Grassroots volunteers teach about locally funding projects

Over the past decade or so dependence on foreign funding for national NGOs has been erratic and is on a slow down. As per a recent report there has been a decline of 40 percent in foreign funds for NGOs over the past five years. This coupled with global economic slowdown and emergence of corporate social responsibility and individual giving, is making local organisation look for ways to raise resources and support for the cause they champion within the national markets. Is it time to look beyond foreign funding for NGOs?

But this is easier said than done as most organization that are working at state level and rooted in the community also called community-based organizations or (CBOs) lack resources, mentoring and skills to leverage this opportunity.

Various new ideas and tools that are being tried out to raise funds and Change the Game Academy (CtGA) is one such programme, funded by the Wild Geese Foundation to empower the smaller non-government organizations in methods to become self reliant and sustainable.

“Funds from foreign are shrinking due to valid reasons, corporate sectors are more systematic and in better control to invest, NGOs by and large lack with the skills and mainly the attitude to complement the policies of Government in place by either improving or setting them anew. As a result ‘Self-Sustainability’ is a big question for them,” said Mukesh George, a trainer working with Smile Foundation, who is part of the CtGA programme.

Workshops on locally funding projects

“Change the Game Academy (CtGA) addresses these issues through its Classroom Course approach by focusing on the aspect of Local Fundraising. The course brings forth the paradigm shift to the participants that Local Fundraising is more sustainable option in a longer run and they leave the room equipped with skill-set, ready with an event plan to fundraise,” he explained.

“We have seen that the Indian’s are giving, hence we are seeing a growing trend in donations by individual philanthropists. They have ensured that the role of private funding continues to grow despite slowing foreign fund inflows. Similarly, funding under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is maturing, which has seen a growth of 12 percent the recent times, but a lot more needs to be done,” said Gargi Kapoor, In-charge, CtGA, India.

“These workshops help the civil society to rethink their business models, think strategically about its financial models and adopt new and innovative approaches that will help the sector maintain its independence and still be sustainable. The idea exchanges that happen through the workshops empower these smaller units with long term and short-term fundraising goals,” she explained.

The legislative environment and the policies related, economic downturn in the top-tier funding countries and changing donor priorities have made dependence on foreign funding a very tricky option. The need for smaller NGO’s is about finding financial stability, by diversifying their resources to have a healthy mix of long and short term funding, Financial sustainability is about diversifying financial resources in order to have a healthy mix of long and short-term funding, CSR donations, foreign and local donors as well as  internally generated resources by events, fundraisers etc.

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