The issue of raising funds locally has been a major headache of most civil society organisations (CSOs). The absence of this, coupled with the dwindling donor funding in Ghana is compelling some CSOs to close their operations. A good number of CSOs are yet to recognise and exploit the potential of local philanthropy and giving in Ghana. However, the few CSOs in the country that have benefitted from the Local Fundraising (LFR) training have an interesting tale to tell. One of such persons is Hafsatu Sey Sumani, Head of Programmes and Policy at NORSAAC who was able to work with colleagues to raise the fund-raising potential of their organisation to new heights.
Changing the way NORSAAC mobilises funds
During the training “I improved my proposal writing skills, learnt how to pitch ideas, profile donors, do proper budgeting (including costing of volunteer and staff time), developing a fund-raising plan and marketing tools for [my] organisation”. With these fresh ideas, Hafsatu was able to compose a fundraising team (comprising finance manager, head of programmes, local fund-raising manager and project officers) to oversee fundraising initiatives, develop a fundraising plan (which was submitted to WACSI) for review, develop marketing tools such as brochures and improve proposal writing.
With the support of her board member, Dr Alimatu Cecilia Issaka who was also part of the training and other staff, they began to change the way they mobilise funds.
“Being conscious about the staff and volunteer time (everything is costed now) especially in seeking funding and resources,” she said.
“Renting office space is also used as counterpart funding in submitting proposals,” she added.
The team also worked on changing their approach in seeking partners.
“We now do analysis on who/what we wish to bring onboard focusing on strategic interest and opportunities. For instance, in deciding vendors for the conference for Northern Conference for Young People, we gave premium to vendors whose interest aligned with ours. We also now emphasise the importance of highlighting our contributions (cost share) in every proposal we submit for funding,” Hafsatu explained.
The training enabled NORSAAC to mobilise GHC 111,000
It was not long before they started harvesting the fruits of their labour. One of the major highlights of NORSAAC’s annual calendar is the annual Northern Conference for Young People on Sexual and Reproductive Health. From a deficit of GHC47,000 in 2018, NORSAAC was able to mobilise GHC 111,000 for the organisation of the event in August 2019 attracting a total of 430 people between the ages of 15-30 years. Hafsatu attributed the success to the donor profiling, vendor analysis, increase in the pool of sponsors and non-financial resources (accommodation support) that was mobilised by the resource mobilisation team and NORSAAC colleagues. She stated the fact that they were able to get UNFPA to contribute GHC50,000 to the Northern conference on sexual and reproductive health for young children.
“We were able to cost the time of staff and volunteers working on the event, get non-monetary support in the form of accommodation for some participants from the University of Development Studies and Shallot Eatery providing catering,” she said.
Another critical milestone derived from NORSAAC’s participation in the LFR training was the increase in funding base since August 2019.
“Before the training , we had funding of GHC3 million, but this increased to 4million before the close of year ,” Hafsatu said.
Hafsatu commends WACSI for the support
Hafsatu is optimistic that with the gains made in 2019, the forecast for 2020 looks even brighter. She could not overemphasise the value of the mentoring and coaching from WACSI after the training and appealed for a refresher course with her cohort to consolidate the progress NORSAAC is making.
- The organisation went from a deficit of GHC47,000 in 2018 to mobilising GHC 111,000 in the organisation of the “Northern Conference for Young People’s Sexual and Reproductive Health rights in 2019.”
- Increased number of collaborators and partners (UNFPA, Ghana Health Service, Ghana Education Service, CHRAJ, UNICEF).
- Increased funding base since August 2019 (from GHC3 million to 4million before the close of 2019 and forecast for 2020 looks even brighter).