Wednesday, November 19, 2008

SE session 10: Writing fund-raising proposal

I couldn't attend this class. So, this post owes its credit to my classmate, Manmohan Jain.

1. Most NGOs overseas average about 51% earned income. The percentage for Indian NGOs is much lower. Earned income is income generated by the NGO. It could be either by
- sales of goods (T-shirts, auction of paintings by hearing-impaired children)
- volunteer activities e.g organizing a qawali nite / music concert
- beneficiary created products (hand made carpets or some other handicraft of a particular community)
2. People give to People -
At the end of the day it is a person that you are making the appeal to. It may be a foundation that makes grants, or a government body or a corporate that you are seeking funds from, but eventually the pitch is made to a person - for e.g a trustee or board member.
Similarly when making their decision they are considering you, your credibility etc. You may have a great cause, your NPO may have good track record, but still it does matter in terms who is the person appealing to them.
A fraction of funds raised may be impersonal but any large grants - the "people to people" principle applies.
3. Understand donor - what appeals to them, what is important to them, what is their process for selection.
4. Pareto principle - how 80 % efforts might only give 20% returns and often it is core 20% activities that give most of the Return Of Investments so focus on those.
5. Acronym for sources of income - GGCIE (you can refer to the slide on this)
6. Fund raising cycle - PDCA Plan -> Do -> Check -> Act
Or on similar lines
Need -> Sources -> Method -> Select / Evaluate
with the last step feeding back into the first in each case. For example, you evaluate you results and re assess/replan your needs.
A good question to answer is "How will you sustain the work after the grant runs out?"

Plan: Research sources - who will you target? Refer to GGCIE. If it is Government what schemes and programmes are available?
V K Puri's "Government funding schemes for NGOs/NPOs in India" lists several hundred schemes and can be very useful resource.
7. We went over SSA proposal format and some of the sections in that.

If applying to Companies and CSR departments, they will certainly need metrics/measures

8. A good exercise in planning phase is to project the need over time and match to appropriate sources. For example
- quick or short term needs - selling T-shirts, individual volunteer donations of small amounts
- long term needs - grants from foundations/governments. This will have long lead time and typically be larger amounts.

9. Objectives of CSR:
- branding
- employee motivation and feel good factor
- shared objective e.g KidSmart ?
- good business
- social responsibility
Went through exercise in actual writing of funding proposal. The template used is in slides 10 to 14 The class broke up into 4 groups of 2 each and spent about 30 mins preparing a proposal and then presented to rest of class.

Each was critiqued by Prof Bhargava, pointing out what was good and what needed improvement.
Some key points
- be specific in your title if you can
- have facts, clear breakdown of expenses/projected needs
- shows you have done your homework
- have measures or impact - short term/long term, even can mention associated/corollary impact
e.g rehabilitation of street children addicted to drugs will reduce crime in the locality - in 1 year impact can be seen

After the exercise we saw short video where a trustee/grant making body official talked about how they decide and how it is never a cut and dry Yes/NO answer.
- donors would want to review and evaluate
- they would want to visit and assess
- they are assessing the individual /invidividuals making the application, what is their credibility, integrity, commitment etc
- the decision takes time and combines several factors
So it is not black and white - yes/no.
Caution: Never put any fact or any statistic that is not real or cannot be substantiated

We then saw a real proposal example . Hindi Martin Institute and went over its salient points. It was a real life actual proposal that got funding.
Finally he touched briefly on results versus indicators and the LFA - problem solving technique. (I need to learn more about this).

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