How to fund your NGO

By now, you’ve probably gone through my article on registering your NGO in Zambia and maybe you’re relieved because you’ve calculated what you need and how much you need to get started but, don’t unroll your sleeves just yet, there is more. Running an NGO takes a lot of grit and innovation, AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF MONEY. And I know money is hard to come by so I put together a short list for you to give you ideas on how best to fund your NGO. Feel free to mix, use them all if you have to, tweak them a little bit to suit your organization. Just make sure you secure that bag, ok?
Shall we?

Have you ever heard of a non-profit business? This means that you will be running a full business, but all profits will go towards funding your NGO’s projects. My favourites are undoubtedly Francis Mwamba and the My Dreams Project and DAPP Second Hands and Shoes Project.
Francis Mwamba runs various charity programmes and guess what? He runs various businesses as well to be able to fund these charity projects. (You can read about him here)
Another absolute favourite of mine is DAPP ZAMBIA’s Second Hand Clothes and Shoes Enterprise, I’ve been to their stores many times and it gives me utmost joy to know that when I buy something from there, I’m helping solve various issues in one way or another. All their profits go towards funding some of their amazing projects. They contribute to climate change mitigation and providing employment and means of income to unemployed locals.

This is also known as cause-related marketing, you basically pick a for-profit business and partner with them to raise money for your cause. I’m sure you’ve been to large supermarkets like Pick N Pay and Shoprite and they have these tins or a compartment at the till where you drop money for charities. You could do the same, although I feel that going to Supermarkets will soon be outdated and I’m sure the process is long and draining. You see, supporting charities is good publicity for any business, you could consider partnering with upcoming enterprises and even smaller ones (SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL TEAM AND YOUNG PEOPLE!)

This is where you partner with a company in order to gain money, donations, advice and any kind of support. Remember, anything you can use to go forward is wealth, it might not be money, it might be advice or even a service like website development or digital marketing. There’s a catch though, you have to give them free advertising and publicity so this means you have to display their logos or their services on website, your events. Give them an honourable mention on your social media. So this option isn’t entirely free, you have to work really hard to satisfy your corporate partner. (Please feel free to contact me, I can help you get started 😉.)

I had the rare privilege of touring Misisi Compound in Lusaka (I will be writing about it soon), and I discovered that most community schools are supported by government grants.

I will be be honest with you, it may not be enough to just have the grant, this should just be a supplementary. Another thing that I noticed on my visit to Misisi compound is that the procedure to attain a grant may be long and very hard.
Alternatively, you may consider other grants such as grants that come from International Aid Organizations like USAID.

You may also check for opportunities to win grants on the “What’s Up?” pages in my newsletter.

This is the most common form of raising funds for NGO’s in Zambia and I feel that not only is it an unreliable method, it’s also very unsustainable. Use it as a supplementary to any other methods, or you can use it to start and develop more sustainable and reliable funding methods. I will give you a few tips for going about this procedure;

Firstly, especially make donating easy for donors, register your organization and get a sim card registered with the name of your organization and open a mobile money account. This will make it easier for people to donate. People won’t always give though. Last year I decided to raise money for a friend of mine who wanted to go to school but didn’t have a bursary, I only managed to raise K300 out of K23,000. So you have to be really innovative about how you ask for donations and maybe insistent.

Remember to keep a database of all your donors, their contacts and what they donated. Make sure to let them know how their donation helped make an impact.

Also remember, donations is not just money, it can be clothes, furniture, services and so on, be sure to accept even what you didn’t plan to receive.

I hope this article has opened your mind in one way or another. I am looking forward to seeing you do amazing things.

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