How Non-profits Can Attract Funding
Posted: 28/Feb/2018

One critical requirement for organisations in the social sector is funding. The importance and need for funding run the gamut from implementation of projects, capacity building for organisations’ talents, administrative cost, endowment funds to salaries. Non-profits get their funding from a variety of sources including personal funding, donations from private organisations, funding from grant-making non-profits, and in some cases government funding (from the government).

Often, what an NGO can and cannot do is tied to its source of money, and this affects the effectiveness of NGOs. In other words, funding is the lifeblood of non-profits.

Oftentimes, non-profits perceive fundraising as one of the most difficult aspects of NGO management with organisations resorting to writing long pleas for grant letters, and constantly sourcing for funding opportunities while applying for grants.
The first key to attracting funds for non-profits is correcting the mindset that fundraising or grant-giving is all about receiving money from philanthropists and philanthropic (donor) organisations; there is a whole lot more to that. It entails creating connections and synergies that provide mutually beneficial partnerships to both funders and non-profits/grantees.

A variety of factors make non-profits attractive and appealing to both local and international donors. Top on the list is financial accountability; it is only natural for organisations to report back on funds given to them by donors to implement various projects. The NGOs must ensure that they are accountable for any amount of money entrusted to them in order to avoid standing the risk of being perceived as reckless.

Another essential tip in financial management is to ensure that an NGO must be mindful of the amount spent on other items such as administrative cost, and this should not outweigh the amount spent on actual implementation of impactful and innovative projects. NGOs must also ensure they have an audited account which is oftentimes a plus when requesting funds from donors.

Another area funders look at is impact of projects. Like the adage goes, anything worth doing is worth doing well; the same applies to non-profits and their projects. Funders are more open to genuine problems that require solutions, and in recent time innovative solutions.

Scalability and sustainability of a project are also key in receiving the attention of donors. No individual or organisation desires to fund a project which is short-lived, easily forgotten, and not replicable in another community. Donors desire to solve problems which outlive generations thus creating long-lasting solutions to problems. Donors are also more favourable to projects which can easily be replicated in other communities with similar challenges.

Strong governance structure is a prerequisite for donors while considering funding for non-profits. It is often believed that strong or good governance is like a recipe; you recognise it is bad when it goes sour, and good when it goes smoothly. In any case, imploring a strong governance model for your non-profit always works. Just like any great recipe, a strong governance model must contain the necessary ingredients for attracting funders. Good leadership always maintains pole position in most cases because funders want to be sure that they are dealing with the right individual. The fact remains that by assessing a leader, one can create a big mental picture about the non-profit they wish to fund. However, having a good leader is not all; non-profits must be able to define clearly their mode of operation, standard step-by-step process, and ingenious policies.

Policies implemented by non-profits could make or break them while sourcing for funds. Non-profits must consider a whole lot when it comes to this critical aspect. When it comes to funding, donors want to know that they are expending their resources on accountable non-profits. This gives funders a sense of fulfilment, and could go a long way in building solid trust. For a start, non-profits should create and implement policies that guide towards accountability, orientation and transparency.

Management is a major criterion sought after by donors or funders. It is widely perceived that non-profits spend more than half of their funds on administrative cost, thus reducing the amount left for impactful and innovative projects. The reverse should be the case if non-profits wish to attract funding.
Primarily, non-profits should be notable for the amount of resources expended on creating meaningful, impactful and sustainable projects. Non-profits must learn to manage whatever resources they possess, whilst delivering efficiently on their focus. Thus, non-profits should dedicate more time and resources to projects that are visible, impactful and long-term. Pertinently, non-profits should switch to more cost-effective media and tools for executing management duties.

Though the issue of funding may persist in our environment, it is important to note that there exist organisations which still receive funds from local and international donors due to implementation of best practices and non-profits must take a cue from these organisations to emulate positive working conditions and attract funding needed to make a change in our world.

Ms Osayi Alile is CEO, ACT Foundation, Lagos

Source: Punch News

Category: Articles

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