When it comes to making development sustainable, finding and encouraging philantropists is an important part of any long-term project. Non-profit organisations need regular funding to finance their work, while philanthropists tend to look for groups and organisations who are able to put their money to the best possible use. This kind of sustained investment encourages both parties to work together as partners in pursuit of a common goal.
With this in mind, nonprofits should always be conscious of the responsibilities they owe to the organisations and/or individuals that help fund them. It’s also worth remembering that often, philantropists are involved in multiple causes around the world – meaning it’s incredibly important that they remain aware of the impact their work is having.
9 steps to improving donor engagement
1/ Identifying them
First and foremost, it’s essential to know the key players in your field. Regardless of where your organisation operates – development, health, social entrepreneurship, or elsewhere – keeping abreast of changes in your sector will give you the tools to find the right partners for your project. This becomes even more important when we remember that donors often want to keep a low profile.
2/ Getting in touch
If you come across a potential partner whose profile matches your organisation’s values, don’t hesitate to get in touch. However, it’s important not to open with a request for donations. Focus instead on establishing a dialogue with an individual who shares your vision. Cementing a working collaboration can take time – the first project may not always be the right one.
3/ Meeting face-to-face
If, as a result of a positive initial discussion, both sides indicate an interest in learning more about what the other hopes to achieve, it’s time to set up a conversation – face-to-face. Digital tools are a crucial part of any development strategy, but keeping the ‘human’ in ‘humanitarian' is even more important.
4/ Setting out the project’s objectives
This first meeting is the moment where professional and human interests come together. Explain clearly to your prospective partner what your project hopes to accomplish: what are its goals? How will these be measured and achieved? What is the context and/or environment? What does your organisation require from them, and what can your patron expect in turn – a chance to get involved with a more hands-on approach? Increased visibility, including presence at events?
5/ Establishing a partnership
If the potential donor appears interested in your organisation, now’s the time to talk shop. Facts, figures, studies, and research will all help to underline the project’s scope, encouraging your patron to invest, safe in the knowledge that their money will offer sustainable, concrete benefits as part of a program they trust.
6/ Guiding your donors
Remember: your organisation’s relationship with its patrons is a long-term collaborative process, with both sides contributing equally toward the project’s success. Viewing your work together as a partnership is key to ensuring a fruitful collaboration. Part of this role includes guiding donors along the development journey.
“Accompanying someone doesn’t mean going on ahead of them, or standing behind them, or even taking their place.
It means walking beside them.”
7/ Talking results
When discussing each stage of the project with its patron(s), it’s important that donors are able to see the benefits of their involvement. Explain clearly the tangible difference their contributions are making in their chosen field.
8/ Building trust for a partnership that lasts
All good things come to an end – or do they? At Ahimsa Fund, we’ve found that one successful collaboration is likely to lead to another. That’s why we prioritise building and maintaining relationships with all our donors, so that together, we can keep track of all the progress that we’ve made – as well as the goals we still hope to achieve.
9/ Encouraging wider engagement
Your relationship with your sponsors shouldn’t be limited solely to the projects they’ve helped to finance. As your valued partners, it’s important to get donors involved with other aspects of your organisation. At Ahimsa Fund, for example, we make sure our donors stay up to date with all our news, via invitations to our annual Ahimsa Forum and other events and conferences.
Why choose Ahimsa Fund’s social entrepreneurship programme?
Since its creation, Ahimsa Fund has worked to promote sustainable growth where it matters most: in the heart of the world’s most disadvantaged communities. We do this by encouraging social entrepreneurship based around new models of economy and social innovation, dedicating countless hours to building a global network of development experts. This network is composed of three key pillars, represented by private sector partners, humanitarian experts and international groups and organisations, all of which work together to ensure Ahimsa Fund’s continued effectiveness around the world.
Find out more about Ahimsa Fund’s wide-ranging expertise across a significant number of projects
Here’s how we encourage our donors to take part in Ahimsa Fund’s journey:
- Thanks to our expertise, acquired as a result of many years in the field, we’re able to offer a personalised approach to working with us.
- We’re fortunate enough to work with a network of global healthcare leaders.
- Of course, our numerous projects speak for themselves.
- Finally, our biennial Ahimsa Forum, which brings together partners, ambassadors and associates from around the globe as part of our continued commitment to improving healthcare around the world.
Dozens of the world’s leading healthcare experts support Ahimsa Fund, including:
- Michael Møller, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva
- Tony Meloto, founder of Gawad Kalinga,
- Saba Al Mubaslat, CEO of the Humanitarian Leadership Academy,
- Neelam Kshirsagar, Head of Project Development at the Impact India Foundation,
- Katherine Marshall, Director-General of the World Faiths Development Dialogue,
- Azza Karam, Senior Advisor at the UN Population Fund; Coordinator for the UN’s Inter-Agency Task Force on Religion and Development,
- Gideon Byamugisha, founder of African Network of Religious Leaders Living With and Personally Affected By HIV or Aids (ANERELA+: today INERELA+),
- Christoph Benn, Head of External Relations at The Global Fund,
- Michèle Boccoz, ambassador for HIV/AIDS-related issues and other communicable diseases at France’s Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs
- And many others…
Is your organisation looking for partners? Perhaps you want to help Ahimsa Fund make healthcare accessible to all through sustainable social entrepreneurship? Or maybe you’d just like to learn more about what we do? Whatever your question, feel free to contact us to find out more about Ahimsa Fund and its projects around the world.