RESOURCE: How to Raise Funds for Your Organization

Posted on 18 March 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, Funding, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

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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RESOURCE: Researching Companies’ Impact on Disability Rights

Posted on 18 January 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

[Originally published at (We Can Do) at]

When many people think about human rights, we may often think about governments and their legal obligations in protecting those rights. But it is not only governments who share responsibility for respecting human rights–for both disabled and non-disabled people. Businesses and companies, too, must understand human rights and must understand how they must behave in order to respect these rights.

Some companies may do very well in upholding human rights–while others might do more poorly. Some companies might behave in an acceptable way toward some people but may still violate the human rights of others, including disabled people.

A database, run by the Business and Human Rights Resource Center, can help advocates find information about the human rights impact of companies around the world. This database links to articles and reports on more than 3600 companies in more than 180 developed and developing countries. The linked material is published by a wide range of entities including non-governmental organizations; companies and business organizations; the United Nations; the International Labour Organization; other intergovernmental organizations; governments and courts; policy experts and academics; social investment analysts; journalists; and others.

Some of the topics covered by the database include discrimination, the environment, poverty and development, labor, access to medicines, health and safety, security, and trade. The database links to both positive and negative reports about companies and their record in human rights. Companies have the opportunity to respond to any record in this database written about them.

One section of the Business and Human Rights Resource Center focuses on companies and disabled people. Readers can narrow down their search further by country or by company. This resource can help advocates gather more detailed information about how various companies in their countries treat disabled people. They can use this information to decide what companies they want to target for disability human rights education campaigns or other activities to protect the rights of disabled people. Database items are availabe in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and German. More non-English content may become available in the future.

Learn how to use the site to find the information you want at

Learn what the Business and Human Rights Resource Center has done to make their site accessible to users with disabilities, including vision impairments.

The Business and Human Rights Resource Center encourages individuals and organizations to contact them with comments and with suggestions for items they should add to their database. Has your organization published a report about how a company or business in your country has treated disabled people? If so, you may wish to consider contacting the Business and Human Rights Resource Center to encourage them to link to your report on-line.

We Can Do learned about the existence of the Business and Human Rights Resource Center through a notice in Disabled People International (DPI)’s electronic newsletter. Further information and detail was gathered from the Business and Human Rights Resource Center web site.

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