RESOURCE: How to Raise Funds for Your Organization
Whenever I communicate with anyone involved with Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) in developing countries, the most common question they have is, “Where and how do I raise the money we need so we can help disabled people in our country?” The United Kingdom-based international disability and human rights network, Disability Awareness in Action (DAA), has some suggestions in their fund-raising resource kit, which advises DPOs on different strategies they can use to raise funds.
This fund-raising toolkit was written in 1996, but much of its information and advice is still very much relevant for DPOs in developing countries today.
The first section gives several broad ideas for what types of entities are likely to give money. Business companies, for example, may sometimes give cash, or in-kind donations (non-cash resources such as free photocopying services, food, etc.), or training workshops to non-profit organizations. Depending on their circumstances, organizations may also wish to consider asking for membership subscription fees, or soliciting donations from individual donors, approaching funding agencies, or starting their own income-generating activities.
The section on “effective fund-raising” emphasizes the importance of researching what funding agencies are available; understanding each funder’s exact criteria for funding proposals; and matching funding agencies to your project. (For example, don’t send a project proposal for an HIV/AIDS prevention project to a funder that only supports malaria-prevention projects.)
For organizations that are inexperienced with fund raising, it can be worthwhile to read the section entitled “It All Takes Time.” It can take months or even years to prepare a good-quality proposal, send it to a funding agency, answer all their questions, and be considered for their funding.
The section entitled “Funding Applications” gives advice on writing your first letter of inquiry to funding sources; what kind of information you should put into your funding proposal; and the best way to organize and present this information.
After your organization receives funding, it is important to submit regular “reports to funders. The agency funding your current project may pass along your reports, or a summary of them, to other funders seeking to learn more about your organization. Comprehensive, honest, accurate reports about your activities, and the results of these activities, can encourage funders to give to you again in the future.
The Disability Awareness in Action fund-raising toolkit may be helpful as a starting point for organizations that are relatively new to fund-raising. One helpful characteristic of this toolkit is that it is written in simple language that is easy to understand even for people who do not read English very well. It also explains basic concepts that similar guides for well-educated or more experienced readers may not cover.
However, DPOs that are serious about fund-raising will also want to read other guides or toolkits on related topics, such as how to plan projects, develop budgets, evaluate projects, etc. I hope to be able to post information about other resources helpful to DPOs seeking funds in the future. If you subscribe to We Can Do then you can learn about these resources within hours after they are posted.
In the mean time, read the full fund-raising toolkit by following the link to:
We Can Do found this toolkit by browsing the list of Disability Awareness in Action publications at the Disability Awareness in Action web site.
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