The objectives of the workshop were to review the principal funding sources, sales of products and/or services of third sector organizations, position them in the donors/buyers market for their products and services, as well as facilitate the development of strategies in these areas suitable for their respective organizations.
By Xavier Pons – The 2017 annual Dianova meetings, drew together 60 Dianova Network representatives from 14 countries to participate in three training and exchange workshops.
“Entrepreneurial Organizations: Strategies for achieving and maintaining financial sustainability” was the title of one of the three workshops. This workshop occupied a whole day and was attended by 14 people from the areas of management and finance in Canada, Chile, Spain, Italy, Nicaragua, Portugal, Sweden, Togo and Uruguay. The workshop was held in Spanish and English, with presentations and materials in both languages.
The day began with the correct definition of what is meant by financial sustainability in organizations such as ours and how to achieve it: income diversification, increased financial reserves, unrestricted fundraising and generation of their own funds by selling products and services; also, as a first step before any action is taken or goals are set, the need to evaluate the organization’s overall situation in relation to its internal situation, with respect to the global environment, to other similar equal entities in our city, region, country or the world; and finally an in-depth examination of the organization’s expenses and income.
Attendees and facilitators interactively discussed the processes used to address fundraising, the bidirectional focus to establish between the organization and the donor, the empathy and effective communication that will spark interest, motivate and generate confidence in the social action that the entity is developing. In addition, the different donor sources found in the market were listed (individuals, corporations, local and international foundations, public and multilateral agencies). Then an in-depth analysis was given of the advantages and disadvantages of each source. Creating social enterprises that generate sales of products and services was also considered to be effective in attracting funds and achieving financial diversification by social organizations.
Next, the workshop addressed the methodology to follow to develop effective fundraising: strategic planning involving all parties in the organization, establishing the goals and the public to reach, budgeting the costs associated with fundraising together with a cost/results analysis, segmentation of fundraising actions into steps and indicating the timing, the persons responsible for the actions, follow-up and outcome.
For all of the above, workshop participants received various tools for evaluating the opportunities and reputational risks of the different strategies that could be used in a fundraising campaign, and also a template for follow-up of strategies/potentialities.
Finally, members of the Dianova Network presented real-life examples of strategies to achieve and maintain financial sustainability: Dianova Nicaragua, through operations management of the Hotel Europeo in Managua from the perspective of responsible tourism as helping their turn-around in social projects; Dianova Portugal, through internationalization in north-central Europe of their addictions and rehabilitation treatment service, which is providing diversification and financial stability in their social activities.