Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are mostly dependent on donor funding whose funding priorities and conditions may produce constant risks to their financial autonomy and institutional sustainability. An African proverb puts it to the point: If you have your hands in another man’s pocket, you have to move as he moves. This situation of financial dependence has led many CSOs in a seemingly endless spiral of project funding while accepting the mind-set that they probably will never succeed in reaching, a healthy level of continuous institutional development for sustainable impact. At the same time, restructuring of traditional donor partners outside Africa has also contributed to a reduction in available funds for development in partnership with CSOs.
Faith to Action Network recently held a 4-day training in Lusaka, Zambia to increase the financial sustainability of Zambian civil society organisations. This curriculum-based training engaged heads of organisations, finance and programmes teams to enhance their know-how in resource mobilisation. It responds to one of the greatest challenges that CSOs are facing today: how to raise funds to support activities and to sustain their institutions financially in the long-term.
The methodology has been developed by Faith to Action Network in collaboration with Brot für die Welt. It is based on Faith to Action Network’s own practical experience, drawing on lessons and best practice of its 10 years history. It is a simple model for effective resource mobilization aiming to create an environment in which donors and other stakeholders want to invest into an organisation.
“The aim is to reverse the traditional funding relationship: instead of us approaching donors for funding, donors should approach us to fund our programmes” says Judy Amoke-Ekasi, programmes manager at Faith to Action Network.
The model of resource mobilization introduced in the workshop has five essential building blocks and each block builds on the other: establishing an organisation’s relevance, credibility, enhancing its visibility and nurturing relationships and of course proposal development. The approach is tailored to the strengths and weaknesses of national organisations.
So far; Faith to Action Network has implemented such trainings in Uganda, Kenya and DR Congo y. The facilitators’ guide and manual are available in English, French and Spanish, and our enthusiastic team is keen to share their know-how. If your organisation is interested to implement such a training, please, contact us.