There are many ‘Faith Based Organisations’ (FBOs) in Botswana that do a great variety of valuable and important work. Most are reliant on large international donors and occasional government offers to fund proposals. The challenge of finding funding to sustain the various ministries has always been a difficult one and it is one that seems to be getting harder. The global economic crises has certainly impacted the funds large donor bodies are able to give, and the causes and interests of donors are becoming narrower. If FBOs are to thrive in Botswana they need to think beyond their traditional donor base, to consider other potential donors and to be empowered and equipped to tap into them.
It was therefore very exciting for Flying Mission Care Ministries, along with Hope Worldwide and Pastor Andrew Mudereri (St Peters Day Care), to be involved in hosting and facilitating a fundraising Workshop for FBOs. The one day workshop took place at the Anglican Cathedral in Gaborone of the 13th February 2014 and was led by Mr. Michael Myerstein, an expert in fundraising for NGOs and charities, and president and founder of a fundraising consultancy company (The Aleph Group). Michael offered his time and expertise free of charge during a visit from the US. 23 people attended representing 13 different FBOs in Botswana with a diversity of missions (disability support, health care, education, christian teaching and pre-school care). During the training Michael gave an overview of fundraising theory and good practice, spoke on how to develop a fundraising programme, talked about building and sustaining relationships with donors, how to secure gifts, and how to partner with volunteers in fundraising.
It was a very enjoyable day. The feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive and it is clear they were left with a lot to think about as a result. One attendee commented, “Seeking donor funding from individuals is not commonly done by NGOs and FBOs in Botswana, we have been busy chasing the big international donors and government funds, which are decreasing in number and amounts given. This training has made us realise we need to make a paradigm shift in how we think about and go about fundraising if we are to be able to achieve our goals and mission, and perhaps even survive. It feels like my eyes have been opened. We have a steep hill to climb but at least I now see the summit; this is a first step on a journey for us.”
Michael commented that he has been pleased that, “the knowledge that … I have contributed to the larger conversation [will help] to move NGOs in Botswana to a different kind of fundraising that will be more sustainable after major funders pull out.“ He also commented that his hope would be that were he to meet with the FBOs present in a year’s time that he would see changes in their approach to fundraising and how they go about it.