How do I attract funders for my NGO?
I have recently started a NGO to teach craft to children from low income households. I have been teaching for about twenty months. We also provide the children with all the material they need. The demand is high but I need financing to carry this out. The children love it and it gives them a few hours of creative fun. Craft helps them work with their hands and express their creativity in many ways. I would like to continue this work, but need funds to do so.
I have several ideas for you.
1. Who are the NGOs already related to what you are doing? Specifically art education. Make a list, review their websites, press releases, etc. Look at the language they use to describe their mission.
2. Since you are already in action for twenty months now, you probably have some results. Testimonials from parents and kids. Artwork to photograph, etc.If not, start collecting as much as you can as quickly as you can.
3. You probably don't consider this an asset, but the fact that you are operating means that you have some rudimentary system to produce the result. You no doubt, source materials, locations to teach, reach out to the community with your messages that art is available. Everything you do is worth putting down on a list. It doesn't matter if you don't think it's important, it is. It shows that you have a system that others could follow and reproduce to get similar results - more art education.
Once you gather up all this information, you have a book to sell. Don't panic. It's a lot easier to put a book together than you might think. Community Arts , Even for Low Income Households. or some such thing.
Once you have the book, you can approach those related NGOs about sponsoring distribution of your book to their membership. It's an extra value to the people they serve, it pays you for the book, and opens the door to ongoing funding for what you do. It puts you on stage to speak about how you do what you do for the community. It opens the door to tons of related sponsorships. And it's also a campaign to reuse with other NGOs. Once you have done a campaign, you can approach sponsors for materials and what not and tell them that XYZ NGO sponsored your project. It's almost as good as "seen on TV".
This is not a short term solution, but depending on how much content you have, it could be. If you don't have content, start documenting what you're doing. Nothing is ever wasted when it's in service to others.
I think you need to be able to clearly articulate what you are doing, for example, why/how are you teaching craft to children? what is the impact? your vision & goals etc and once you do this then you will be in a position to share this information with potential donors/people who share the same vision or are willing to support your vision.
There are a lot of good quality advice below, but I have a feeling that the funding issue is daunting to you and that you need baby step advice to get the ball rolling?
Let's start at the beginning of fundraising fundamentals. There are many different income streams one can pursue:
Individual donors (online or not)
Charitable Foundations and Trusts
All of these present their own challenges in the way you approach them, but as I said in the beginning: Baby steps.
Let's start with what you have available, and that's maybe one of the most attractive commodities a NGO can have!: Children
My suggestion is that you start by making a list of all the businesses in you immediate vicinity. List them according to name and what type of business they do. This will become a valuable resource at a later stage.
You know best how to "sell your product", namely the developmental service you provide to children. I would suggest looking for one of the businesses on your list that works in the production of video or photography. Ask whether they would consider helping you produce a short video or picture strip of the work you do. Even if they can only produce the photographic material, that is ok. You can now take this material to another business and tell them how glad you are that another business has helped your organisation produce the material, but that you now need someone to produce a compelling story out of it. It need only be a basic, short piece that describes what you do, where you come from and where you are going with the organisation. Make use of your list of businesses to help you in any way you want - you will find that most are not willing to part with their money, but many would agree to help you within the scope of their own business.
When you have your video or pictures of your organisation, write a letter to those entities in your country known for their philanthropic contributions. It's usually quite easy to google them. The letter need not be too long, at most 2 pages. Describe only who you are, where you come from, where you're going and exactly what you need from them. Be very specific. If you need $10,000 to purchase more craft material, say it like that. You can even include a quotation from a supplier. The more legit, the more someone will be inclined to assist you.
Take your budget and break it up into separate pieces. Start by targeting larger companies asking contributions of small parts of your budget, rather than one lump sum from only one. They like to support, but they do not like the risk of being the only supporter which means that you start to grow dependent on their contribution.
There are many other ways to initiate your fundraising strategy, but I think in your case that you should start with the resources in hand - that is the local people and businesses around you. Use them to develop the material you need to approach the larger funders. (It also helps when the larger funders sees that other businesses are already supporting you!)
I am willing to help you to develop the letter if you want. Let me know? (No charge this time!)
Lastly Srinanda, remember that businesses and other larger funders will want to know that you are an established organisation. You need to be able to proof to them that you run a sound organisation and that you have financial controls in place. Be sure to have your NGO registration form and any other relevant information ready at any time.
Hope this helps a bit to kick-start your process. Let me know how it goes!
Funders in any format, be it online or offline need to believe in your cause. They need to view that your cause is doing well. You can host some exhibitions which will assist people to know that your cause is really providing results.
Rather than offline funding, I would suggest you to go for fundraising websites. Explain the cause to the online world. There are many charity based crowd funding websites. Do list your cause their. The advantage of these websites is that it has your target audience who are ready to fund for causes.
At the risk of relying only on my experience in answering this question; you are probably looking for a philanthropist rather than an investor. If you approach anyone for investment funding they will apply funding rationale - which may not work for your project? You may want to consider telling "the money" right up front you are looking for a benefactor and then angle your project to become attractive for tax dollars such that the benefactor can help you and pay their taxes. Win win!
First, I'd be looking at a crowdfunding scheme.
Second, and don't get me wrong, I'd be real cautious about describing "teaching children crafts" as it sounds like they are being set up for child labor.
Would your work come under National skill development (nsdcindia.org)
they are inviting proposals from NGOs
I would like to advise or suggest to you that you first, organize an exhibition for your articraft or handicraft to be displayed in public view and sold; out of which proceeds or returns you can then convince any Philanthropist or NGO to come to your aid or assistance. Any interested individual or NGO would first want to know how far you have gone in terms of starting something small to help yourself before they can come in to render or give you any support. Try this and you will see the wonders that will follow, soon!
We might be possible to help you, have helped several non-profit organizations in Africa with this fact.
Please let me know if interested