What would you guess are the two most common internal challenges for small nonprofits around the world?
When we sit down with each of our global partners, there are two topics which almost always come up: monitoring & evaluation, and of course, fundraising.
In an ongoing effort to help our partners work through these challenges, last month GoPhilanthropic Foundation arranged a regional gathering in New Delhi for an important and practical, two-day workshop on monitoring and evaluation (M&E), fundraising and resource mobilization. This workshop followed up on the introductory M&E workshop we held in India back in October 2017. We were so pleased that all of our partners in India – AVANI Women & Child Rights, Equal Community Foundation, Shakti Shalini, SPID-SMS, TARA Child Protection and Empowerment, and Vikalp Sansthan – were able to make it despite their very busy schedules. Even team members from SASANE traveled all the way from Nepal to join the workshop! It was incredibly meaningful to spend this time together as a group, not only to learn together, but to strengthen our partnerships and friendships.
Meet Our Expert Facilitators: Munish Kaushik & Ankush Vengurlekar
It was very important to us that this workshop be locally-led and focused, so that the tools and resources would be as relevant and applicable as possible. We were so fortunate to have Co-Facilitators Munish Kaushik and Ankush Vengurlekar leading the workshop. Munish and Ankush met while working at CordAid in India, a Dutch organization supporting 125 partner nonprofits across India on disaster risk reduction and response. There, the pair were tasked with the challenge of making the organization financially sustainable in India without support from CordAid Netherlands, all in two years time.
Over the course of the two-day workshop, they shared countless tools, tips and lessons learned with the participants. Incredibly, they even made time to meet with each of the organizations one-on-one, in order to discuss their specific questions and challenges on M&E, fundraising and communications, and develop action plans with lists of things to implement in order to keep the momentum going. The feedback on these individual sessions was overwhelmingly positive and everyone appreciated having this time with the trainers to focus on our own specific challenges.
Represented by our Director of Programs Emily Bild, GoPhil participated in the workshop alongside our partners, listening and learning every step of the way. We of course face similar challenges in the areas of M&E and fundraising, and were eager to learn from both our partners and the facilitators. It was important to us that we not only actively participate, but experience the workshop from the same perspective as our partners to build camaraderie, trust and open communication among us.
Action Does Not Equate To Change!
Day one of the workshop began with a refresher on M&E, including a review of the topics covered in our introductory M&E workshop back in October 2017. The core message of this session was that completion of program activities does not necessarily equate to results or change, which of course should be the goal. Additionally, if there is a change, there is always a way to measure it. Next, we discussed different levels of results (e.g. short-term or long-term), types of results (e.g. quantitative vs. qualitative) and how to choose the best possible indicators to measure change. Munish’s focus is always on keeping things simple (less is more when it comes to indicators!) and stripping away the complex terminology and jargon that so often exists in the development world and can be very intimidating to small grassroots organizations who don’t have M&E teams.
“Anuradha and I are leaving Delhi re-energized, refocused and ready to apply what we learned this week. The discussions on M&E and media were timely and met Anuradha and I at a point where we are now ready to move to the next level. Thank you for planning such a wonderful event.”
• AVANI Participants •
We Are All In This Together!
In the afternoon, we switched gears to focus on fundraising and resource mobilization. Each organization had a chance to speak about their current successes and challenges in terms of fundraising. Many useful tools, resources and strategies were shared, both by the facilitators and the organizations in the room. There was an overwhelming feeling of solidarity – such a difference compared to the often competitive or territorial sentiment that can arise when discussing funding sources. The discussion helped set the stage for an open and honest remainder of the workshop.
“The one-to-one sessions with the trainers were so helpful, but what was great was the sessions when we were all together sharing as we realized that everyone is facing the same challenges and we feel less alone.”
• TARA Participants •
Effective & Engaging Communications
Day two of the workshop covered a wide range of highly relevant topics centered around communications tools and tips
- Effective use of social media for fundraising, and how to track your results.
- Corporate social responsibility and tips for engaging the private sector – hint: research and networking are key! Participants prepared and practiced 20-second elevator pitches in front of the group to help gain confidence and learn by doing.
- What makes engaging marketing materials. The facilitators looked at each organization’s printed marketing materials and provided helpful feedback.
- How to improve your website. Each organization received specific suggestions and ways to make their websites more effective and engaging.
“Priyanka and I can’t stop talking to our teammates about how much we enjoyed meeting new partners and learning new things. We are writing to say that we have already started implementing some of the things we learnt at the workshop. Thank you so much for putting your time and effort into organising this event. We are always very grateful to meet and work with funders who really understand the importance of these types of events.”
• Christina from Equal Community Foundation •
The Work Is Far From Over
Though our precious time together eventually came to a close, everyone committed to continuing this open dialogue and support of one another. Together we feel stronger and can more confidentiality work through these challenging aspects of nonprofit work.
Munish and Ankush have generously offered to provide one-on-one support to our partners as they go on to implement what they’ve learned. For example, Ankush will be spending a day with TARA to help them with their annual report, and Munish will be spending some time with SMS, Vikalp Sansthan and Shakti Shalini over the coming weeks to help them develop strong M&E indicators. Furthermore, Ankush assigned ‘homework’ for each organization to have a go at developing specific communications materials which will all be uploaded to a shared drive over the next few weeks. Finally, we established a very active WhatsApp group thread for everyone who attended the workshop, plus Munish and Ankush, so that we can all continue to share resources and ask questions as they arise.
Overall, we are very pleased with the outcomes of this workshop and are working to encourage this kind of collaboration among our partners in other regions of the world through similar networking gatherings.
“It was great to spend the two days with you. These two days were very learningfull and worthy. Thank you for all your hard effort. Thank you for organising a workshop on this very important issue.”
• Vikalp Sansthan Participant •