|A Study on the State of Local Resource Mobilisation Amongst DENIVA Member Organizations (DENIVA, 1996, 43 p.)|
Most of the participants in the study did not realise that the term resource is more than finance and human. It was conclude that the term includes the financial, human (skills, knowledge and physical labour), information, materials, natural (land, water, forests) and technological means at the disposal of the organisation to carry out its programmes and activities.
MOs should be sensitised on the value of information as a resource. DENIVA Resource Centre should make more information available to MOs on resource mobilisation strategies and how to access their resources. MOs should feed DENIVA Secretariat with information on: their activities and programmes; training interests so as to see what training interventions are appropriate for which member organisation. There is need to sectoralise the MOs and find out how each sector can benefit from its membership of DENIVA. The MOs are at different levels of development and networking is mostly useful where partners are at the same stage of development.
Vision and mission
All the organisations knew why they came into being and what they were aiming at, however, many were unable to clearly state their missions and objectives and relate them to their organisations' achievements due to insufficient technical know-how. It is important that the CBOs/NGOs learn to articulate precisely state their missions and objectives to any well wisher as a strategy to resource mobilisation. DENIVA Secretariat should continue to facilitate training the MOs in strategic planning, including project design and implementation so as to enable them explicitly reflect on the organisations' vision, mission and strategies.
Resource mobilisation strategies
Most of the organisations were not able to provide a proper analysis of (local) resource mobilisation strategies. It was found that the participants had not sufficient techno-analytical skills which affected their ability to assess when to go into resource mobilisation and what methods to use. Many different types of resource mobilisation strategies had been tried by the participating organisations. Direct strategies for resource mobilisation were straight forward means used to mobilise financial and human resources and information. The direct methods for raising financial resources were: contributions, membership fees, donations, income generating activities, savings and credit, interest on investments and grants and various fundraising activities. Human resources were raised through community mobilisation, labour and motivation, consultancies and governance. Information collected through workshops/seminars, training, networking and newsletters. The indirect strategies for resource mobilisation aimed at sensitising the potential donors and the public on the aims and objectives of the organisation. These included: proposal writing, promotion materials, media campaigns, personal visits, networking, letter writing, newsletters, pamphlets and brochures.
Most of the strategies did not result in substantial contributions to the budget with the exceptions of the donor contributions, community mobilisation, interest on grants, networking and some income generating activities which were related to the NGOs' programmes.
MOs should make more use of the media to promote the NGO sector. The Government, local well wishers and private sector should be sensitised to appreciate the NGOs contribution to community development and favourably respond to genuine appeals for support. The Mass Media Officer of DENIVA could be the coordinator of such a programme and facilitate MOs to establish linkages with the mass media.
Personal relationships should be established with local, national and international donors and efforts should be made to maintain those relationships as well as recruiting others. A profile of likely donors should be built and a record of their responses kept. Once a prospective donor has been educated and shows interest he/she should be taken on site. Most of the DENIVA MOs were not aware that the DENIVA Resource Centre had a lot of donor information.
To maintain the loyalty and goodwill of donors the VOs should always maintain a communication link with the donors. They should provide its programme progress reports, thank you letters in response to gifts and donations, case histories of the projects with photographs, project newsletters, and documentation of successes and failures. They should give donors environment and therefore a chance to give. The NGO should provide a self critical evaluation. It should also provide detailed budgets and financial plans. It should state with maximum accuracy the exact cost of its programmes, its administration and immediate and future requirements. There should be a simple cost benefit analysis of the programmes.
It is important to note that proposal and letter writing requires skills and patience. A lot of waiting is involved before a reply is received. An organisation should be sure and knowledgeable on what, who and where to write. DENIVA should facilitate training in proposal writing and reporting. The Secretariat should advertise better what it does and what information is available for the benefit of MOs. Specifically, MOs should be better informed of existing opportunities in terms of training and funding through appropriate means like the DENIVA newsletter. An inventory of organisations that offer training in resource mobilisation is attached in appendix 6. It also includes DENIVA MOs. In particular the training capacity within the network should be fully exploited. Specifically, the capacity of matured MOs such as URDT an UWFCT should be strengthened to train younger MOs in areas such as visioning techniques, record and book-keeping and PRA. More DENIVA MOs should be linked to the DENIVA/URDT/ACFODE training programme for training in project proposal writing and the like.
Other rm-strategies which are recommended include: door-to-door collections, fetes and lotteries, organisation of concerts, plays, cultural shows or films. Collections can be small or substantial depending on the coverage and the organisation. Police permission is usually required particularly if organisations have to organise fundraising through fetes and lotteries. To be effective a cost-benefit analysis has to be made first. The activities must be carefully planned and sufficient (wo)men power and other resources should be assured.
Income generating activities
VOs should go into IGAs with caution. Funds should not be diverted from the programmes to meet overhead costs of the IGA. The financial sources available to the MOs were too small to capitalise IGAs. IGAs require good management to run them profitably and guard against diverting the organisation from its mission and objectives.
The study found out that IGAs usefulness depends on the availability of markets for the products, their profitability for the client and the management of the IGA.
IGAs should be directly related to their programmes and contribute to the objectives of the organisation. For example, training in a specialised area, selling of cook stoves or crops as opposed to IGAs for pure profit like trade of sodas. The business communities, particularly those in ventures similar to what the VOs may have undertaken as well as and the URA may perceive the VOs as competitors in such sectors.
In addition organisations could also raise resources through such methods as:
* photocopying, printing, typing and general secretarial services
* publications, that is, sale of self-study manuals and training materials, periodicals and other books and publications;
* rent out premises including warehouse space
* contract government to carry out some activities on its behalf and consultancy contracts with community groups, donors, to carry out training.
* beneficiaries can be convinced to pay for the services at a reasonable price.
However, the sale of services require skills in the organisation to do marketing surveys, costing of the services and financial management. This can be acquired from training in a relevant field such as business management. DENIVA should do an indept study on successful IGAs in the NGO sector and make these experiences available for others.
The study revealed that sustainability in terms of quality of work and service is to a certain extent achievable. But for over 90% of the MOs visited, financial sustainability was beyound their reach in the near future. For financial sustainability to be attained however, there is need for the top management of the organisations to be fully committed to planning and implementing resource mobilisation strategies and introducing cost-efficient management systems.
VOs should learn to charge users fees for their services. VOs should be trained to calculate the cost of any intervention on the basis of a working day (person day). For example the price should include the total cost to the organisation of the individuals commitment to any task and a proportion of its administrative costs. If the personnel have to move, the cost price for the service should also include the cost of travel and per diem.
The management of VOs should be convinced that the long term viability of their organisation depends on increased financial self reliance, by providing quality service to the target group and to fully understand how business and the market place work. VOs's activities and services should be guided by priorities of the communities in which they work if the communities are to contribute to them whether in kind or cash.
VOs should strive to operate cost effectively including control of expenditure and rendering good and relevant services. However this approach should not jeopardise the organisation's mission and objectives. NGOs should therefore have visionary and committed leaders and staff. It also requires solid ownership structures and high level financial know how of its staff.
NGOs should cut down their administrative costs without necessarily affecting their activities for example controlling fuel, telephone, travel allowances. The administrative budget should be reduced to minimum and put all support programme activities to the programme budget (strictly separate programme costs from administrative budgets and sort out costs that can easily be transferred to programme activities) For example a staff leading a seminar daily rates should be calculated to guide how much to charge.
The marketing of sustainability is poorly developed in the NGO sector. Requests to donors should include overhead costs and indirect costs, allowances on all project grants could be a percentage of total grant; alternatively, all services rendered by the organisations should be charged/debited to the projects account. VOs should negotiate with foreign donors to include institution capacity grants in any proposed funding. VOs should diversify their sources of funding other than all of them concentrating on one donor.
The study findings showed that various forms of collaboration between Government and voluntary organisations exist. In some districts VOs were being represented on district planning committees, others used the services of government extension workers, one NGO was given land and in another district government officials attend functions and contributes to the proceedings. Furthermore in Soroti and Iganga VOs were co-implementing a basic education programme and therefore had access to transport and funds. The study noted a positive shift in the orientation of Government towards voluntary organisations in Uganda. In this regard, Government is a potential which NGOs should explore quite seriously.
At the moment Government as a source for resources is under-utilised and could be further exploited in areas of infrastructure, human technical expertise and lobbying for budget allocations through district councils. The possibility of VOs accessing government resources is constrained by negative image of some organisations. More dialogue between the two partners in development is required to improve the images on both sides and pave the road for closer collaboration. The study advises that to win government resources, it will be important to hold regular meetings with government, so as to be informed about government policies and share the implementation of small scale development programmes. There is also need for MOs to send copies of their work plans and annual reports to relevant government authorities.
NGOs should negotiate for reasonable overhead costs when they are administering a government programme such as Entandikwa. NGOs should lobby through district networks for allocation of funds from LDCs' budgets on for example, district community development programmes, poverty alleviation and literacy campaigns.
NGO's budgets were 70-100% foreign funded. For CBOs, budgets were over 90% self-funded. Funding from international donors gave a big push to the activities and programmes of the organisations especially when they are not short-term grants. But as organisations attract donors to their programmes, they may surrender part of their original ideas to donor fashions and preferences (Bakema, 1995). International donors were increasingly channelling development assistance through civil society organisations which unfortunately resulted in a neglect of local sources of funds since raising money from foreign donor agencies seemed to be easier. The strategy perpetuated the dependency syndrome and endangered the long term sustainability of indigenous voluntary organisations.
Despite these observations, international donations were one of the most effective ways of mobilising resources. They can be looked at as a kick start for an organisation's programmes and if the ground work for sustainability has been well laid, ideally an organisation may never have to beg for donations again.
VOs had hardly strategised to build relationship with the private sector, did not either present requests that appeal to them or even suggested visits to their projects. They tended to rely on correspondences rather than on personal approaches and meetings. They gave up quickly particularly when the support was not forthcoming.
Consequently, most potential donors in the business community did not take VOs seriously and thought most of them were formed to make money. As a result of that many of the VOs thought that the private sector were simply not a charitable society and do not give to charity.
Generally the sector is ill informed about of VOs; the stories of briefcase NGOs create a bad image for the NGO sector. The business community did not obtain any tax relief on donations, which was a disincentive to support deserving organisations. The private sector would like to see VOs in the context of: good track records in terms of accountability, credibility and transparency; clarity of statement regarding their aims and objectives and good records/bookkeeping. Like foreign donors, the private sector did not want to simply appear as financing institutions. They were not interested in building institutions. Their interest lies in serving the community generally and their client's base in particular (reasonable mileage for their money i.e. advertisement of their companies).
The business community has modest budgets and will not donate to a VO where the chances of maximum publicity might not be possible. CVOs should give feedback to the donor on the progress of the project they help to finance. It appears that the business community is willing to fund development initiatives as long as the project is cross checkable and practical. The targets must be achievable and it must be supervisable.
Training and consultancy
For training to be effective methods of promoting information sharing and capacity building should include:
- timely follow ups;
- the culture of report making after the workshops and seminars for future reference and in-house training to colleagues should be cultivated within the NGOs
- attendance of workshops should as much as possible be rotated among staff and target groups and participants should contribute towards the cost of the workshops and seminars.
Because training is expensive, it is cost effective to get trainers to the target groups instead of sending trainees either outside the country or the community. There is need to evaluate and maintain a rota of consultants to avoid quack consultants. MOs should be categorised into sectors and appropriate training designed and facilitated accordingly. At the end of every training, participants should express what they have learned to enable the facilitators identify gaps in the training programme. Capacity building is also recommended in the areas of public relations, business management and lobbying. Cost sharing should be encouraged but both the community and the DENIVA MOs have to be sensitized on the importance of cost sharing and put it in their budgets.