On September 10, 2020, Philanthropy Circuit in partnership with the Chris Ogunbanjo Foundation and YAP&E hosted the Third Quarterly Social Sector Networking Event (SSNE), themed ‘Funding Solutions and Sustainability for the Non-Proft Sector’. Guest facilitators were Ndifreke Okwuegbunam, Program and Grants Director – ACT Foundation, and Niniola Williams, Managing Director – DRASA Health Trust, the session was moderated by Social Sector Strategist Zahra Z. Abdulkareeem.
Here are highlights from the live Question and Answer session on Zoom:
What are the necessary metrics and internal structures for grant seekers?
Ndifreke Okwuegbunam: Register your organization and get legal backing, else it is just a hobby. Do your market research and define your theory of change. Put in structures from the beginning – have procurement, recruitment, and training policies. Show some level of accountability by keeping your records up to date. Think of it like a business – “Not-for-profit” does not mean “For-loss”.
Do branding and visibility increase your chance of receiving grants in a time like this? Is social media a good place to be?
Ndifreke Okwuegbunam: Branding helps you build your credibility. When funders are looking for your track record, social media will be their reference point. Use social media as a tool to tell impactful stories. Stay alive online and maintain your online presence. Also, let your social media always be relatable.
Once you receive grants, what are the expectations from donors to grantees?
Ndifreke Okwuegbunam: That we view funding as a courtship between the donor and the grant recipient. If there is a challenge along the way, ensure to have a conversation with the donor, remaining accountable and extremely transparent to your donor. Also, show how you plan to monitor and evaluate your project, be realistic in budgets tied to the evaluation process. Show indicators of how you plan to measure your work
A tip – build a relationship with any organization you plan to get funds from beforehand, do not wait for a grant cycle before reaching out to a donor.
How can organizations stay motivated and aligned with their purpose?
Niniola Williams: Find people (volunteers, consultants, friends, advisors, etc) that understand what you do and get them to be the ambassadors of your organization. With this, they will continue to promote your work at no cost.
Develop your impact and showcase your programs work. Avoid distractions and stay true to your founding vision. Think like a business owner, perform with excellence, and people will recognize your work. Do not be over-competitive, always be on the lookout for partnerships, and sustainable collaborations.
What are some metrics for sustainability?
Niniola Williams: Build a track record of accountability. When people know you for what you do and can feel your impact, there is every tendency for them to reach out to you without you asking. Maintain a trustworthy relationship within your network, and with past donors, as this can lead to future opportunities.
Finally, ensure a standard of continuity to your set objectives.
It was an amazing time and we look forward to the next Quarterly SSNE!