Waiting for Pennies from Heaven

In honor of this week’s Clinton Global Initiative’s Annual Meeting, I’m reposting this from early October last year. The issues remain the same; the fundraising resources for local organizations still needed.


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 113,000 local organizations and movements working on a wide variety of issues in 243 countries. They conservatively 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 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

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

A “what if…?” moment

Do CBOs have an image problem?

The Marginalization of CBOs by Development Actors: A Perspective from Zimbabwe

Small is Beautiful…Grants, That Is (Part 2)

Listening to People on the Receiving End of Aid

The Real Experts


  1. Mai

    Emergency fundraising Seek international assistance
    China League for Freedom and Peace
    The organization was founded in 2002 is an expert, independent, nonprofit organization.
    United Nations ECOSOC Roster Status Reference number: 21782
    Our mission is to create ideas that deepen and advance our understanding of Freedom and Peace and with those ideas to develop innovative, forge new initiatives, and pursue far-reaching strategies to promote democratic political construction .Call awakening the consciousness of human rights, protecting women rights, trying to create a society that there is no discrimination and everyone is equal, promoting the development of human rights course.

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