Smile Foundation, under its flagship programme, Change the Game India, recently organised a 7-day Virtual Classroom Course on Local Fundraising. The course was aimed at training social entrepreneurs in capacity-building, helping them realise the importance of mobilising local resources, and widening the sources of funding. All these will lead to a higher level self-sustainability and less reliance on donor funds.
This is among other such initiatives by Smile to empower community-based organisations. Smile Foundation partnered with Wilde Ganzen in 2016 to co-create Change the Game Academy (CtGA). This is an innovative blended-learning programme for social entrepreneurs and individuals working at the grassroots level.
The importance of local fundraising
For development professionals, local fundraising is a more sustainable option, especially in the long run. Knowing the skill of local fundraising can also increase community engagement and local ownership.
Moreover, workshops like these help the development sector become independent instead of relying on corporate donors only for their funds. They are encouraged to adapt new and innovative approaches to continue their on-ground work.
Our local fundraising workshop
Experts from the field trained community-based development professionals in the art of local fundraising through our most recent workshop. The training covered a wide range of relevant topics. Some of the bases covered in the workshop are donor mapping and profiling, communication techniques, good governance, and activities and events.
The primary goal of the training is not just to gather knowledge for oneself. Rather, participants were also encouraged to assess their own learning levels of the topics as well as share knowledge with peers.
Santanu Mishra, co-founder and trustee, Smile Foundation, said, “More often than not, we find social entrepreneurs, particularly in low resource settings, in distress due to lack of technical know-how in raising funds and ever-changing avenues for raising funds. This impacts development activities. Unpreparedness creates disruption in the flow of funds for on-ground initiatives. This takes them two steps back and thus, affects the dependent communities. Therefore, a systematic and structured process of raising funds and maintaining a regular flow of funds is critical for creating impact at the grassroots.”
A total of 16 individual participants from Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, Maharashtra, and Kerala completed the course.
The development professionals work across a range of causes. These vary across healthcare, rehabilitation, education, environment, human rights, nutrition, disaster relief, women’s empowerment, and so on.
Parvathy was a participant from Thrissur. “I have been fortunate to get the opportunity to participate in this workshop on local fundraising. Anyone working in this field knows what a challenge fundraising is. It requires a lot of time, professionalism, and a unique skill set. This workshop has given us skills in a hands-on manner that we can directly apply to our work. We also got ideas about potential local and in-country resources, along with a roadmap on how to access these resources.”
Kailas is another participant. He belongs to Telangana. He shares, “Smile Foundation has been supporting us with kinds of training. This LFR training is very useful for us. The practical and technical knowledge will be helpful for us. We are thankful to Smile Foundation and CtGA.”