All NGOs need to fundraise. NGO Simba is currently working on several larger and smaller projects in Iran and of course all of these projects cost a lot of money. However, for our new born NGO fundraising is for several reasons a challenge. Following are steps in order to overcome this challenge:
Step 1: Create a road map for research
Every possible way of funding in general needs to be mapped, considering for example but not limited to donors, investors, social media actions, national and international funds, subsidies, creative initiatives to raise money etc. This will result in the end to 3 different categories of financial funds, being:
- Own capital of NGO Simba
- Donors, funds etc. which do not expect revenues for themselves
- Investors and others who are expecting a return on their investments.
Students working on this assignment have to create a road map for themselves in order not to miss analyzing any of mentioned and unmentioned funding methods.
Step 2: Map our organization’s needs
Before even beginning to search for funding methods, you should start mapping NGO Simba’s own wants and needs. You have to fully understand our NGO and our projects to move in the same direction for the next step. You can’t ask for help before you know what we need help with and reviewing our organization. Therefore, in the primary part of your report you have to adjust your framework and have to create a clear understanding of where we are working, the area of work that we are engaged in and the problems we are trying to solve.
In addition you have to have clear answers for following questions:
- What is our current budget for each project? How much more do we need?
- When do we need the funding? And for how long do we need the funding?
Based on the answers to the above questions, you will know to look mainly but not exclusively for donors who:
- Work in the same country/region as NGO Simba
- Work in the same program area as NGO Simba
- Fund NGOs of our budget and grant size
- Match our funding and project timeline
While not all these areas will match perfectly once you start researching donors, in Step 3 you will be able to find donors that match most and focus your efforts on those.
Step 3. Research donors that are a match for your NGO
With the questions which are answered in Step 2 you can start the research process. There are several good techniques to find like-minded donors:
- Check the websites and annual reports of NGOs that are doing similar work as we do. See if you can find their supporters and donors. Many NGOs will list their donors on their website or in their annual report which are good places to start.
- Check databases and online directories. Some lists are free while others require payment or subscriptions. Also, we want you to map these databases for us.
- Asking others and search for more methods.
It is important to remember that before funding any NGO, donors need to:
- Have funding available for NGOs. Very often NGOs will mistakenly send funding requests to other NGOs, businesses or individuals that do not provide grants or other types of funding. Check it carefully.
- Have an interest in Iran and our program area. You should check the donor’s website or supporting sources to find evidence of such interest.
- Be willing to fund small NGOs. Some donors prefer to only fund small NGOs, while others prefer to fund large NGOs. Check donor application guidelines and past giving history.
- Have money to give when we need it. Many donors only release calls for proposals once a year, or otherwise have specific windows of funding opportunities. Information of when the donor is accepting the applications is required.
- Be able to fund for the period required. You should know whether the donor gives funding that last for month, a year, or multiple years. For a first-time funding, shorter project timelines are more common.
Step 4. Instructions and results
Once all possible funding methods are mapped, the most optimal financial mix for each project of NGO Simba has to be determined, should we use our own capital, should we aim for funding or investors etc. or a combination of several of these options, well-argumented and supported with facts and numbers.
- The final stage is to write a standardized model for a financing memorandum which can be adjusted easily to the different projects and the needs of the different type of financers.
To be noted, as explained, the primary goal of this project is to map all options available for funding our projects, not to approach possible donors etc. yourselves unless you received explicit permission of NGO Simba to do so.
- At the beginning, a clear concept of the plan after primary studies.
- A news item for the website in which the students introduce themselves and their concept.
- The above described output.
- Project plan report.
Note: NGO Simba will supervise the students intensively. We will have comments and requirements in each step of the project. We have general suggestions and comments which need to be followed. Next to that it should be noted that whenever students are comparing different methods, we want to see the advantages and disadvantages of each method and comparison of them with each other.