Implementing successful non-profit initiatives: is it a matter of money or education?

 

Svitlana Bakhshaliieva

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It is hard to overestimate the importance of education. However, when it comes to the charity sector, internal growth and development are not always a priority. The Zagoriy Foundation’s new programme for small- and medium-sized non-profit organisations seeks to provide the education the charity sector needs.

Many good initiatives struggle to find funding. Moreover, many of those who manage to find donors may fail during project implementation due to a lack of organizational capacity to deliver an effective and efficient project.

However, usually, it’s not just about money – the lack of skills in partnership building, communications, and project management. When the initiative cannot be properly organized, positioned, and delivered, it tends to attract less attention from donors, both current and potential.

This is the reason why our team has decided to implement the project to close the gap between skills and capacity for non-profit specialists. It is important to highlight that when we talk about charity organizations, we mean the people at first since people are the main driver that implements initiatives that make the change based on their professional knowledge.

Usually, during Zagoriy Foundation’s grant programs’ introduction, we receive tons of questions on effective project management and communications. Lack of fundraising skills is ‘one of the main deterrents to the development of institutional charity in Ukraine, i.e. the activities of non-profit organizations engaged in charity’, said Mariia Muradkhanian, Programme and grant manager at Zagoriy Foundation, and one of the course authors.

Therefore, we have collected all of them and took them into account in a program called Charity Match. Its main goal is to increase the ability of organizations to create more effective and efficient fundraising campaigns. The program has been designed for organizations that are ready to develop and become more professional through the change and application of new approaches in work.

Initially, participants will take an online course that covers most of the important aspects of the activities of non-profit organizations: project management, partnerships, fundraising, communications, and reporting.

‘The uniqueness of the program lies in the fact that it was created by representatives of non-profit organizations who know all the nuances and specifics of work.

And the most important thing about the program is its focus on practice, starting from homework, which will be aimed at creating a fundraising campaign. Thus, at the end of the course, the participants will have a fully developed campaign, which they immediately put into practice’, explains Anna Nishnianidze, Head of Communications at Zagoriy Foundation, and one of the course authors.

During the course, participants will develop fundraising campaigns and will begin to implement them after graduation. In case of successful fundraising, the collected amount will be doubled by Zagoriy Foundation and MHP – community charitable foundation.

‘Charity Match is important for the development of the non-profit sector in Ukraine, as it is not only a training course, of which there are many now, but also an incentive to achieve the set goals for the participants. It is like a full-fledged accelerator of charitable projects, which provides a full cycle of support’, says Liubov Rainchuk, Head of ‘Culture of giving’ department and one of the course authors.

A practical educational base combined with networking opportunities may open an array of cross-sectoral partnerships to participants.

‘I have no time’, ’I have a lot of work to do’, ’I’m too tired, I’m exhausted’ – a familiar refusal, why we, people from the non-profit sector, do not want to study. Excuses like these don’t work for us and hinder our career and personal development. The truth is that we need to learn something new every day – for change, for development, for inspiration. To make the first step on the way to the goal.

‘Charity Match is a free educational course developed by nonprofit experts and specifically tailored to nonprofit specialists. We not only want to share our knowledge and help other organizations to build their capacity, but also motivate colleagues from the sector to develop for success. We believe that the more professional a charitable employee is, the more beneficiaries can gain from his/her work’, said Oleksandra Lytvynenko, Head of Development and Partnerships Unit at Zagoriy Foundation, and one of the course authors. 

We strongly believe that a power of knowledge and skills exchange drives the sector to continual development, where professional growth matters as much as financial support.

Svitlana Bakhshaliieva is the Partnerships Development Assistant at the Zagoriy Foundation.


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