Accessing Funds: One Step At A Time

ma.chona lasaca
Posted March 2, 2015 from Philippines

For several decades, I have worked for people from grassroots organizations and local NGOs who are always in need of resources to jumpstart or expand their initiative. There are so many international funders or groups who are also calling out for proposals all year round . The sad thing about it is that these opportunities are usually seized by national and international NGOs, while the local NGOs and grassroot groups are left out. An important skill that women change leader must develop is the ability to access funds or support. Gaining insight from my experience of helping groups gain access to resources, here are my tips for those who are looking for support:

1. Make a compelling story. People always support an idea that excites them. If you have a project needing support, sit down and make a compelling story why your project should be supported. You may have to start with an visual mapping that shows what are the problems that you or your group is trying to address, what are the opportunities, what have you done so far and what is the idea of the project. Then proceed with what are the objectives of your proposed project, the expected outcome and how are you going to implement it.You may need to hire a professional writer to refine what you or your group has developed.

2. People give to people. Funding organizations have development agenda and priorities . But how come one project is supported while the other is not? It is because the people who decide what gets funded, have their own preference and network of friends in the NGO community.They give support to one NGO because they are more comfortable or they trust the people behind the organization. Thus, it is important to build friendships and connections. We must always be on the lookout for opportunity to network or touchbase with people who share our interest, passion or work. We should come up with a list of friends who are either working for an INGO or a funding group. Make appointment or send a letter of inquiry.

3. Matching your need with the funders’ priorities. Do your homework. Spend time to research online on groups that share similar perspective or priorities with you. You may search the internet using key thematic words like environment, girls and education. You need to study the organization especially their interests and priorities. Take note of the time of the year they make their call for proposals.Subscribe to them so that you could be immediately updated for any call for proposal. Aside from international groups, look up to the different government agencies in your country. Because they have a mandate, they have funds for technology or facility or for a livelihood training. You may start by visiting their office and asking for the requirements.

4.Be accountable. Nothing disappoints a funding partner when you cannot deliver the report as per agreed. Be conscious of regularly sending reports and accompanying photos. As development professionals, we must develop a strong sense of accountability by making sure the funds are used according to the agreed purposes and activities. Since funders are also accountable to their board or community, they really need to have access to excellent documentations which they can also use when they are engaged in annual fundraising.

5. Build relationship. Accessing resources is about building and maintaining a living and growing network of support. Aside from relating them during formal donor activities, take time to get to know the project staff better. What motivates them? What sustains them? Be sincere in your dealings with them. Be transparent also with problems that could affect your group’s ability to deliver the results. But when sharing about a problem related to project implementation, be also prepared to share what you have been doing with regards to the problem.

With these tips, we can now proceed to take the necessary steps towards accessing funds.You may have to be prepared with rejection.And another rejection But let this not discourage you. Write. Connect. Keep asking. Keep trying!

Comments 16

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LeanaM
Mar 06, 2015
Mar 06, 2015

Maria Chona,

Thank you for sharing these fantastic tips - I know they will be helpful for many members of our community!  I especially love #2: "People Give to People."  As we spoke about  the other day, this is why social networks are so important!  Having connections that can vouch for you and hold your work in high esteem are so crucial.  I feel like for many people, networking can feel uncomfortable and "icky," but as you say, it can be as simple as speaking to others who share your passions and interests.  Sometimes, all it takes is spreading the word via your friends, and that gets the ball rolling on building more connections.

Thanks again for putting together these great tips!

ma.chona lasaca
Mar 20, 2015
Mar 20, 2015

Yes Kristina, you're right.We need to learn how to network and worldpulse is a great way  to start.

Kristina M
Mar 08, 2015
Mar 08, 2015

I think these are great tips, thanks for putting them together!  I agree with the first tip about making a compelling story.  With so many similar projects out there, it is important to sit down and truly focus on what makes your project unique and how it will address needs that are not currently being met by other programs already in place.

HRademacherT
Mar 09, 2015
Mar 09, 2015

I agree, these are great tips! Networking, accountability, and a compelling story are truly critical. Also, never stop researching opportunities out there, because there are so many! Accessing funding is definitely doable if people follow your tips - persistence is key. Thanks for sharing!

Damilola Fasoranti
Mar 10, 2015
Mar 10, 2015

Maria, that was so succinct and to the point.

Writing a compelling story touches even volunteers and supporters from local communities.

Being accountable is what every man desires to see in a place of investment. Track records are very important.

Thanks for sharing this beautiful insight.

Tiffany Purn
Mar 11, 2015
Mar 11, 2015

This is brilliant.  Thanks, Maria Chona!   Tiffany

aarsenal
Mar 13, 2015
Mar 13, 2015

Great tips, Chona.

As unscrupulous government officials and individuals have been investigated since last year - accused of putting up bogus organisations to funnel public funds into private pockets - I imagine NGOs in the Philippines are now having an even more difficult time accessing funds.

ma.chona lasaca
Mar 20, 2015
Mar 20, 2015

Yes Kristina, you're right.We need to learn how to network and worldpulse is a great way  to start.

ma.chona lasaca
Mar 20, 2015
Mar 20, 2015

Yes,that's true.Because of the scams, it's making it hard for NGOs in our country to get funding or even to partner with government agencies which could have been an alternative source of funding for Peoples Organizations.

amymorros
Mar 13, 2015
Mar 13, 2015

Building relationships! There are so many NGO's doing similar work that it can be hard for someone like me to choose which one to donate to. Often, it is the one where I know someone who works there or they have taken the time and reached out to me. I will pass along this solid advice to a NGO that I am on the board of.

coolasas
Mar 20, 2015
Mar 20, 2015

I can very much agree to the first part of the article, it's hard for local organization with minimal contacts outside their own network to access funding. 

This are great tips that hopefully people take up on and give it a try and succeed (eventually). 

Yvette Warren
Mar 24, 2015
Mar 24, 2015

Well, said, Ma.Chona

OKOCHA NKEM
Mar 28, 2015
Mar 28, 2015

Thanks for the article MCL.

bookorla
Apr 27, 2015
Apr 27, 2015

Thanks for the article Ma.chona. Insightful

giftone
May 26, 2016
May 26, 2016

Wow! A lesson well thank you dear for sharing with me. A great encouragement to me.

giftone
May 26, 2016
May 26, 2016

Wow! A lesson well leart, thank you dear for sharing with me. A great encouragement to me.