There are a host of good people out there who have brilliant ideas and a heart for serving their communities through community development initiatives ranging from peace building, environmental conservation, education, and economic empowerment initiatives among many others. However, the greatest impediment towards actualizing their heart’s desires is the how to secure the requisite funding. On the other hand, there are a lots of potential donors out there willing to support financially such kind of initiatives. If this is the position, how then does one get to tap into the available funding to actualize their ideas and get to help their communities? Let’s take a walk through some of the strategies that at the minimum can be employed to secure funding;
- Register an organization
Many donors would be more comfortable dealing with a corporate, a registered corporate or institution for that matter than an individual. The reason is because a registered entity has defined structures of operation; management structures, accountability mechanisms and so forth; hence earning credibility for whatever a course one wants to advance. It is therefore important for the originator of an idea or the vision carrier to pool a few likeminded people together form an organization and register it so that it acquires a legal status. The organization should of course clearly articulate what it intends to achieve, its structures of operation and the other basic requirements for registration of an organization.
- Put it down on paper
In the development world terms, this process is referred to as proposal development/writing. This means that the idea or the concept that you have in your head, you need to put it on paper in a presentable format. You must clearly articulate your idea back it up with factual information meaning that you need to carry out thorough research about the intervention you want to carry out. Using facts and verifiable data begin by describing the problem that you want to address in your community then describe the kind of strategies you intend to use to address the problem; provide a matrix showing the kind of results that you intend to achieve at the end of the initiative/project/programme. You also need to show how you are going to ensure the intended results are achieved also known as monitoring and evaluation strategies. Finally you need to draft a budget showing the cost of everything that will be involved in the initiative to achieve the intended results. Avoid doing your budget on a word document, excel sheet formats are preferred.
While writing your proposal, steer clear of ‘begging’ language, the kind that creates an impression of sympathy. You must instead sound authoritative, demonstrate that you are in charge of what you want to do, the donor will have confidence to invest in your idea.
- Map out potential donors
Once you have documented your idea in a proposal format, you then need to do a thorough research to establish which donors are available and those that have interests in the area that you want to venture into. Establish the relevant contact persons in those donor organizations. The rule of thumb here is that you don’t just approach anyone in a donor organization you have identified you must be particular. Once that’s done go ahead and book an appointment for a courtesy visit with the identified call person then capitalize on that opportunity to present your idea to them. Done that? Cross your fingers and sit back you might secure that needed funding for your initiative. Donors usually network in various forums and so your proposal might land in the desks of several other donors that you haven’t made contact with.
Attend forums of course those that are relevant to your vision. Make contacts with different people you might just find some breakthrough there and then.
- Document you work
If you have already done some work before, please ensure you document such be it through newsletters, well captioned photos, magazines or simply progress reports in word document stored in your hard-disk. This will help enhance your profile considering that most donors like working with people or organization that already have experience in particular areas. This is usually an added advantage but those starting out for the first time, no need to worry about this just ensure you have taken into account the points already stated above.
So eventually you have secured the funded you really needed, stay true to what you proposed to do, avoid being swayed away by other things lest you lose everything and fail to bring the transformation you’d intended to bring to the people.