No one is self-sufficient. And it’s not a one-way thing – the generosity of spirit from one side provokes a response in kind from the other side.

Desmond Tutu

Ask, and you shall receive

There are many people looking to be generous and share their money and resources, but asking takes time and planning.

  1. Do your homework

Does your potential donor or funder give to organisations or projects like yours? Many NGOs don’t accept unsolicited proposals, so it’s a waste of your time writing to them. Check their websites. 

  1. Why should they give to you?

You’ve identified that they give to youth projects in your local area. That’s great! But there are many activities for young people – why should they give to you? Think about their story or mission. How can you connect your mission to theirs? When we are passionate about our projects and their impact, we could talk about them for hours! But if you have two minutes to catch their attention, which aspect of your work or story would you tell to leave them wanting to know more and potentially to give?

  1. Be prepared for their questions

Donors want to know that if they give to you they will have an impact. They want to know you are competent and responsible. Before you contact them or have a conversation, think about the questions they may have for you and be ready for them. 

  1. Your young people might be your secret weapon

No one should speak about your project better than a young person who has benefited from it.

Asking your donors

Think back to Marie, Ibrahim and Oscar. Just as people are careful with their money, so are NGOs and businesses. Plan the conversation with them well. Think about what would excite them about your work. Try to see them not only as a $ sign but as someone you can inspire to want to make your work a real success.

Donors are there to help you

But sometimes gifts come with too many conditions. If you think that accepting a gift will negatively affect your work, for example, because:

  • The donor will want to make decisions or have a position of authority in your organisation as a consequence.
  • The donor expects too much in return – your time, spending time with the girls you work with, constant gestures of gratitude.
  • Associating yourself with them could have negative consequences.

Just say no! It’s not irresponsible to say no to gifts that will steal time and energy away from your mission.

Reflection Questions

  1. What questions might donors have about your work?
  2. Would you be prepared for their questions?

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