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Indian NGOs need to acquire fund-raising skills

Experts Root for a professional approach to fund-raising for better social service and accountability

Working to promote a good cause sounds exciting to many. However indian-ngos-need-to-acquire-fund-raising-skillsone of the biggest challenges a social enterprise faces is raising funds to sustain its good inititiaves. With international funding drying up in India, NGOs today realise this fact more than ever before, and are therefore seeking professional ways to raise funds within the country. The Resource Alliance, an affiliate of RA UK helping NGOs in their resource mobilization efforts, believes in imparting skills to them in order to make them sustainable in the long run.

“NGO workers are excellent grassroots level workers. But they lack good marketing and communication skills. And that is why many good organisations face perpetual fund crisis,” says Maj. Gen. Surat Sandhu, Chair, The Resource Alliance

Experts are stressing the need for more professionalized ways of fund raising for better programme implementation & accountability among not-for-profit organisations in India. Most NGOs in India are dependent on funding and support from government and international donors and sadly have not been able to develop their own visions and organisational goals. This (over)dependency can be attributed to historical reasons and the lack of professional fundraisers available in the country.

In the West, trained fundraisers are able to raise billions of dollars each year for the not for profit sector. However, in India only about a billion dollars (Rs 6 to 7,000 crores) are raised every year by NGOs in spite of the potential being over $ 15 Billion a year.

“Capacity building of young fundraisers has now become a priority, which alone can make NGOs sustainable, accountable, transparent and credible. India boasts the biggest middle class population. Indian corporations are also looking to invest in CSR. They need to develop skills to tap indvidual and corporate donors,” adds Maj. Gen. Sandhu.

More than $ 3 billion dollars come into the country through the FCRA route as foreign funding but not even a small fraction of 1% of this is spent on training, skill building and up gradation in fundraising. Foreign funding has also brought in certain complacency amongst NGOs which, while getting these funds have not developed their indigenous fundraising. NGOs getting foreign funds need to realize that this funding is not likely to continue for ever and they need to invest in local fundraising which alone can move them to sustainability and independence.

However there are also NGOs who have done remarkably well in this area. For example, Save Life Foundation has tied up with many corporations to raise the issue of road safety in the recent past.

The Company’s Act 2013 has facilitated the availability of funds from the Corporates for development work thereby creating massive opportunities for NGOs to raise and use these funds. In a scenario such as this, it is all the more imperative for NGOs to sharpen their skills in resource mobilization and enable themselves to access the funds from the Corporates.

“SRF Foundation being an implementing NGO, set up by parent corporate body for its CSR action, commands respect from the community because of its grassroots work. While carrying CSR mandate of parent body, it also attracts funding from other corporate bodies by building collaborations and taking care of quality program delivery, branding and employee volunteering etc.” says Dr. Y. Suresh Reddy of Gurgaon based SRF Foundation.

Latest economic surveys have revealed an increase in the level of disposal income among households in India followed by over a million high net worth individuals (87,000 millionaires in dollar terms) who remain untapped. Many would wish to support if approached professionally. This untapped potential further expedites the need for creating fundraisers urgently in India.

In order to address this urgent, important but ignored need, The Resource Alliance does many programmes and is also holding an International Workshop on Resource Mobilisation (IWRM) Asia 2015 from 24-27 August this year.

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