Waiting for Pennies from Heaven

Big money is on the table. $2.5 billion here. $40 billion there.

This week it’s SoCap. Last week it was the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. And how can we forget the hulabaloo of the Millenium Development Goals Summit and the Clinton Global Initiative of the week before?

As the development experts engage in these feel-good exercises, demonstrating little to no awareness or concern for the inequity at the root of poverty, and otherwise generally endeavor to “solve” poverty from their own worldview, my thoughts can’t help but drift…

As those gathered at these high profile events discuss mega-infusions of funding in the developing world, many (even most?) small, local organizations in the developing world must wonder, “Is a trickle of that money ever going to reach us?”

The web of local civil society organizations and grassroots initiatives around the world is still largely undocumented and unrecognized. WiserEarth.org has registered over 110,000 local organizations and movements working on a wide variety of issues in 243 countries. They estimate that there may well be over 1,000,000 such local groups operating across the globe.

A Save the Children UK report entitled “Bottlenecks and Dripfeeds” discusses the issues that stop the smooth flow of funds to support these indigenous, community-level initiatives, specifically with regards to HIV and AIDS. These are:

  • Providing resources to communities is not taken seriously at global and national levels.
  • Current risk-averse funding mechanisms do not allow for resource ‘flows’ that reach community-based organizations.
  • Donors and governments are not held accountable for spending to support community initiatives.

We all know there is a large discrepancy between the resources that are mobilized or acquired by donors, governments and international organizations for global development, and what percentage of the money actually reaches communities and families. Unfortunately, until the aid delivery system changes to meet their needs, local groups will be competing for scarce resources.

I share the following list of resources to hopefully help in that constant struggle of resource mobilization. Please share these with the local grassroots leaders you know who, despite a lack of recognition and resources, continue to serve their communities with undying vision, commitment, and resourcefulness.


Fundraising Resources for Community-Based Organizations in the Developing World

Advice for Grantseekers from Grantmakers Without Borders

Basic Fund-Raising for Small NGOs/Civil Society in the Developing World, from Coyote Communications

Core Costs Funding Strategies, from BOND’s Guidance Notes Series

Developing a Financing Strategy, from CIVICUS

A Few Good Online Tools for Friend-to-Friend Fundraising

Find Partners is a helpful organization supporting local community-based organizations in resource mobilization in Uganda and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa.

Fundraising, from the Southern African NGO Network (SANGONeT)

Fundraising Guide, from Tearfund’s ROOTS series (Chapter 4 on characteristics of different funding sources is really useful.)

Fundraising Guide for Women’s Community-Based Organizations, from Women Thrive Worldwide

Fundraising Handbook, from Global Fund for Women

Fundraising & Proposal Writing, from IDASA’s Handbook Series for Community-Based Organizations

fundsforngos.org is an online initiative, working for the sustainability of NGOs by increasing their access to donors, resources and skills.

Globalgiving.org or Globalgiving.co.uk

Guide to Key Resources for Funding Peace and Conflict Work from the Peace & Collaborative Development Network

How To Guides from the The Resource Alliance, Building Fundraising Capacity Worldwide

Raising Funds and Mobilising Resources for HIV/AIDS: A Toolkit to Support NGOs/CBOs, from the International HIV/AIDS Alliance

The SOFII Collection, the Showcase of Fundraising Innovation & Inspiration, “aims to be the most comprehensive, best organised, and most inspiring collection of fundraising related content from around the world.”

Tips on Local Resource Mobilization, from the World Bank’s Small Grants Program


Related Posts

Listening to People on the Receiving End of Aid

Changing the aid system: 5 more ideas from the inside

Reuters: New report, model of best practice for aid world

The Real Experts

Diving into the Deep End


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  2. Louis Mwewa

    Jennifer, You have always been such resourceful person to me and to all my dear colleagues at Lupwa Lwabumi Trust. I really do not know how to thank you, nonetheless I still feel you are more than just friend to the poor instead you think with them wear their shoes and feel it with them. Your posting on How Matters has really moved my heart and feelings in me, right now feel that Yes! Yes! Yes! we can make it to build the world fair for the poor as well. Each time you and Zanele talk you provoke me to do more for the poor, for child and the family.

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  4. Jen,
    i have always said it that your are so resource full i would never want to lose you your expertise has been very useful to us and our organizations that we work with.

    thanks for the information you have always passed to us


  5. Maureen Poole

    I support various NGO’s and often I am asked to assist their registration at the UK charity Commission. Has anyone got a ‘how to’ guide to assist me register a Bangladeshi registered NGO with the UK Charity Commission. I am a volunteer ad hoc fund raiser/mentor. I don’t have funds to hire a professional to do the job for me.

    2. Address of the Organization : 23/1, PERIYANAYAKIPURAM,
    3. E.Mail : Palamsenthil@yahoo.com
    . Website : http://www.palamngo.org

    To create a world wide peace & harmony through welfare & Development activities without among any kind of discrimination of Religion, colour, gender, race and etc., the mission of the “PALAM” which is conscious of the concerned with liberation not oppression freedom not slavery, light not darkness health not disease, life not Death

    1. Sustainable Natural Disaster relief and rehabilitation.
    2. Establishment of rural community training centre.
    3. Organic Agriculture development.Training,cultivation,
    4. Micro credit, livelihood restoration Loan for SHGs.
    5. Child and Women Development
    6. New housing construction and renovation of old houses.
    7. Poor People’s living condition improvement.
    8. HIV and AIDS prevention and control measures.
    9. Child Care Centre (Balwadis) Infrastructure Development.
    10. Rehabilitation project to the Disabled
    11. Vocational Course for employment opportunity.
    12. Educational development and Economic development income Generation.

    Thanking You.
    Submitted by K.SENTHILKUMAR, Managing Trustee

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  8. Thanks for including my web site in your list of resources for NGOs. I would like to think that my document has helped NGOs build their capacity for communicating, networking and being transparent — all of which, I believe, will improve their chances for fundraising.

  9. Dr Rajeeb Kumar Sharma,

    we are an organization by name Global Organisation for Life Development (GOLD) working in Assam of northeast India.We are working for prevention of human trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.We are also working for prevention of HIV/AIDS among injecting drug users.Both the fields our activities are complex and challenging.We invite our friends to share their expriences and stories success and good practices.

  10. hi Jenifer
    let me say thanks for your concern about upendo educational center.i work with map mathare and voice of mathare my request to you is that please which is the way forward because i don’t want to let this generation down i hope you will consider my request.

    javin ochieng
    tel 0715537244

  11. “Getting From SHELTER”

    SHELTER is a grassroots level NGO in Bangladesh and works in different fields as Research, Consultant, Human Right, Gender, Woman impairments ,Agricultures, Water & Sanitation, Health, Education, Advocacy, VGD, IGA, Baseline Survey, Social works from different development sectors, under funded and partnership with UNICEF, IOM, GIZ, GOB of Bangladesh, ITF UK, EVERGREEN UK, JICA, HOPE’87, ATSEC Bangladesh, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany Dhaka and Vulnerable Group Development (VGD) 2 programs under Department of Women Affairs.

    SHELTER main focus is Environmental and Climate Chang with all relegated programs and baseline survey livelihoods support with IOM & ITF UK and SHELTER Nursery project AND HIV/AIDS & Human Trafficking programs under technical support from ATSEC Bangladesh. SHELTERS now start an ORGANIC AGRO project under SHELTER HOBIONJ PROJECT.

    For your kind information we don’t need any fund, grunt or donation. We need your organization partnership support as jointly apply deferent NGO Funding proposal for Bangladesh and which criteria is must jointly apply with UK Charities partnership or other foreign donor country NGO partnership.

    We believe form your cooperation extend our programs and develop our organization performing and works in our country grassroots level on your behalf.

    I welcome you visit our organization and working fields at your convenient time SHELTER will arrange all from your visit. If you need any more information about us please write me any time.
    Hope your cooperation will be highly appraised.Thanks for your cooperation and wish you good luck.

    Best Regard,

    Rayna Sultana
    Executive Director

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