By Yero S Bah
One of the greatest sons of contemporary Africa and former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, once said that, “it always seems impossible until it’s done.”
His quote is highly relatable to the daily challenges that non-profit CSOs and NGOs often deal with in raising the much-needed funds to carry out with their community projects in the Gambia.
According to fundraising experts, no matter your mission, it is important you don’t get caught up in the fact that it might feel impossible at times. “Always focus on the elements of your nonprofit such as making strong fundraising proposals, galvanizing effective community, defining organizational culture and embarking on measurable impacts from your programs,” experts revealed.
Casa-Gambia and its international partners such as Change the Game Academy and Wilde Ganzen from the Netherlands have begun a five days capacity building on local fundraising for local CSOs and NGOs in the Gambia.
The training is meant to equip participants with requisite skills and competencies in resource mobilization locally to avoid high dependency on external donors as well as promote sustainability of local civil society organizations in the country as experts believe that external donor fatigue and oversaturation of stakeholders are realities but also external donors have their own internal issues to solve as well.
In his opening remarks, the Chairperson of Casa-Gambia Ebrima Jatta gave a briefed but explicit background of his organization, its mission and vision, adding that the organization is under a transition from charity-based institution into more capacity building and local resource mobilization in the Gambia.
Jatta said that, previously it was WACSI from Ghana that used to conduct such capacity building trainings in the Gambia but quickly noted that Casa-Gambia now has the technical expertise to conduct such trainings for Gambians.
“The fundraising phenomenon is shifting as donors are into more specific issues to address because Africans have been reliant on external donors for far too long, coupled with donor fatigue as well as internal challenges for these external donors,” Jatta stated.
For Abdou Bah, a facilitator of the forum, who took participants through the importance and the need to develop multiple sources of fundraising avenues for sustainability purposes of organizations, the reduction of heavy dependency on external donors and the promotion of self-independence told trainees that local fundraising is quite possible with the right approaches to potential local donors in the Gambia.
Meanwhile, Sanaba Jawla, another facilitator and Youth, Peace and Security Coordinator of Casa-Gambia dealt deep into the ‘mindset and donor appreciation’, noting that CSOs and NGOs must prioritize and profile their potential donors very well, consider the little details when developing their proposals to avoid rejections by donors.
“However, rejection doesn’t mean is the end of the world for you, it is always an opportunity to learn from mistakes to adjust in the future,” Jawla admonished participants.
Halimatou Colley, the Health and Gender Coordinator of Casa-Gambia who wrapped up the final session of the day delivered a presentation on ‘active listening for donor appreciation’ and its significance in local fundraising strategies, saying both fund seekers and donors need to actively listen to each other for effective communication to take place between stakeholders.
The day one sessions were hand-on as trainees were consistently given practical exercises in groups and individually for them to critically absorb the themes of the training for effective learning. Meanwhile, both facilitators and organizers of the local fundraising event called on participants to make the best use of the opportunity accorded to them in these five days taking place at Baobab Hotel in Bijilo.