Marketing. Although a website is professional and impressive, if you’re a small NGO starting out, a well-maintained Facebook page costs you nothing and is a quick and efficient way of giving feedback to your supporters. People love hearing success stories, so remember to also include positive stories. Similarly, a relatively simple smartphone will take good pictures – if you want to improve your pictures, google a YouTube tutorial.
Giving strategy. If you are approaching corporate donors, be strategic about your needs. Have a list with items which includes accurate cost estimates. Where you need services – help with IT infrastructure etc., state your requirements specifically. While someone may not be able to give you a big lump sum, they may find a smaller amount doable. Also chat about what your expectations are upfront, so that there are no misunderstandings.
Say thank you. Send a thank you e-mail after receiving a donation, and make sure that your donors are kept informed on what your NGO is up to. If they feel included in the story of your organisation, they are more likely to have a heart for it.
Think long term. Planning is important, but often gets neglected due to other, more immediate needs. It’s important for you to build up a team of people who can continue with the work of the NGO should you be unable to. It is also good to think about diversifying funding, so that you are not reliant on one donor only. Also aim to help the beneficiaries of your NGO in a sustainable way, so that you don’t create unhelpful dependencies.
Reach out. NGO work is hard, sometimes frustrating work. Make sure you have people who can support you emotionally. Also, identify people who you may want to learn from, and reach out to them. While they may not have huge amounts of time, they may be willing to meet for a quick coffee, or give advice by e-mail. There are many experienced NGO leaders with lots of knowledge to share – you will lose nothing by asking.