Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Cost of Doing Good

One of the projects I oversee at work is a youth career initiative and this is easily my favourite part of my job. However, raising money to fund the program's activities has been tough. Since we are currently planning the last event for this year, money is most definitely on our mind and I have been thinking all week about how we can raise more money for the project. Reading Jeremy's blog, I realise that our predicament is far from uncommon. We have a program that we believe whole-heartedly to be worthwhile and cannot understand why it is not attracting more support.

During a courtesy visit to a national paper this week, we received a lot of encouragement for our work but the journalists easily identified why we appear to be having a hard time. Nigeria is so much about who you know and who knows you. They advised us to lean on personal contacts a lot more than we have been doing. This will enable us to reach the people who need to hear about our work and who have the resources to support us. They also advised partnering with the government to establish a more stable source of funding and effect wider-readching changes.

Ah, the government! I see the wisdom in their advice, but previous experiences reaching out to various government institutions has been tedious and fraught with multiple levels of bureaucracy. If anything, it has taught me patience, which I freely admit that I am lacking in.

How do non-profits and NGOs manage to sustain their work over a long period of time, aside from relying on the grants that come in every now and again? Work doesn't stop just because your grant has! So, how do they manage to raise enough money to keep going from day to day?

6 comments:

bibi said...

yeah getting grants for NGOs is a very difficult task. It makes it hard to keep up with the organization's main goal..glad to hear u love ur work..keep up the good work

Motara said...

Please can you give more details about the youth career initiative that you mentioned.
I am a young professional and am interested in volunteering.
Thanks

Everchange said...

the government...it is really sad that a lot of NGOs are doing what our govt should be doing in the first place, yet receiving no support for it. and if you're doing work that govt does not consider a priority, you can't expect much financial help from them. our place relies on grants from foundations. that's basically where we get all our money.

Ore said...

Motara, check out www.vision2020ng.org for more info and let me know how you would like to help out. Thanks a lot!

Bibi, even when I worked in the US where there were a lot more available grants, we still had to get used to the uncertainty of our NGO existence. It was routine to be given redundancy letters after one round of funding had run out, while we ran round trying to raise money to continue our work.

Everchange, I agree that it's impossible to rely totally on the government. Besides the bureaucracy would mean that we would be forced to move at a snail's pace. I suppose this really forces one to be creative.

songreach said...

how about a fundraising event? say a banquet format.. food, good music, and good publicity will attracts folks

I did a research once on a local non profit organization and one of their most reliable sources of income was money raised from annual fundraising banquets.

Ore said...

After our next program, we will think about how to sustain our work in the long run. We will be doing a lot of brainstorming and strategizing.