One door closes, another one opens: Local Fundraising and Resource Mobilisation Training
by NAK Thaileak, Linking & Learning Senior Project Officer, LIVE & LEARN CAMBODIA
For any organisation to thrive, resources are essential. In terms of organisational health, resource mobilisation and fundraising are frequently an organisation’s top priorities. An organisation’s long-term sustainability depends on its ability to recognise resource needs and potential strategies for addressing them. However, many community-based and non-government organisations are dependent on just one or a few sources of funding which is very risky once one source ends. Therefore, they need to increase and diversify their income. Given the fact that some Voice grantee partners have already finished and some will finish in several months, there is a need for fundraising skills to sustain their organisational operation and work. These organisations, especially small local organisations, need the capability to develop local actions to raise funds and mobilise support so they can become stronger and more autonomous after their Voice-supported project ends. So that when one door closes, they will have capacity to open other ones.
On 09 to 11 October 2023, the Linking and Learning Cambodia team organised a capacity-strengthening workshop for Voice grantee partners on Local Fund Raising and Resource Mobilisation. The training aimed to support grantee partners in enhancing their ability to run successful local fund raising and other resource mobilisation efforts by introducing useful tips, tools and other platform. This can help them sustain funding sources for their organisation and project implementation, and even in maintaining the Community of Practice (CoP) they have created together through the Voice Linking & Learning platform. By the end of this training, grantee partners collaborated to develop ideas which can be financially supported by the Linking & Learning platform.
During the three-day training event, participants primarily worked on the Change the Game Academy website which is the website that stores the all the digital learning materials on Local Fundraising. It consists of learning contents, exercises and templates in relation to the practice. It was a new tool for our Voice grantee partners to use and get adapted to, which could potentially equip them with new knowledge and get updated on trends, as well. The module offers insights into why it is a good strategy to develop local fundraising and support mobilisation actions. Different actors give their personal reasons for doing so and share how it helps them realise their mission more effectively.
There are many insightful contents highlighted within this three-day training. It equipped Voice grantee partners with new skills in analysing, planning, implementing and assessing local fundraising. The term “local fundraising” (LFR) varies from one person to another based on experience, perspective and understanding. According to the Change the Game Academy lesson, it refers to “the process of organising and enlisting individuals and groups to provide financial, material, intellectual and spiritual support for social change.” It goes beyond just collecting money. LFR doesn’t involve begging, nagging or pressuring someone into doing anything against their will. Successful fundraising is enjoyable and makes both the fundraiser and the givers feel good. Apart from this, the class also learned how to create rapport and connection with potential donors and develop LFR event plans for income diversification of the organisation. In the session, participants practiced communicating with their donors and persuading them to support the initiative through a role-play. This was an example of how we ought to be prepared and approach donors when we wish to request financial assistance or sponsorship.
Throughout the training, participants collaborated with their CoP teams to generate activity proposals for fundraising initiatives they wished to undertake to support their project. Consequently, three project concepts were developed as a result of the group discussion. First, fundraising activity to promote indigenous languages and cultures through community theatre brought by the Indigenous People Community of Practice. The next one is a fundraising campaign to promote the rights of people with disabilities at work from PWD Community of Practice, and the third is fundraising activity to strengthen women’s leadership through Bon P’kar Prak, a Cambodian traditional and cultural ceremony that is mostly held to raise money for specific projects or activities. It would be an exciting journey to see these ideas unfold further through the Linking & Learning platform.