Why it is essential for the Faith and Community-Based Organisations to raise funds for their Project
Fundraising is the practise of collecting voluntary donations of money or other financial and/or non-financial resources by the Not-for-Profit organisations for their project, programme, and mission. The Faith and Community-Based organisations are diverse in nature, structure, values, scope, ways of working, vision, and mission as well as their target groups and areas of operations. More than a quarter of charities in the United Kingdom have association with faith. Work such as human rights and overseas aid, Faith-Based Organisations make up almost half of the charities focusing on a particular issue[i].
Donation and donors are fundamental for the not-for-profit/non-government organisation as it supports them to carry out their activities to achieve their Vision, Mission, and Goals. This is no different for the Faith and Community-Based Organisation. In practice, majority of the Faith and Community-Based Organisations are either not able to or limited in fundraising for their Mission and activities due to various reasons including based on their belief systems. Their inability to raise enough funds for their work limits their influence on more communities and larger areas and reducing their efforts and abilities to reduce sufferings, injustice, and poverty.
Some of the major reasons for limiting fundraising efforts by the Faith and Community-Based Organisation are limited or no knowledge, skills, experience and understanding of fundraising, limited and/or no resources to acquire fundraising abilities and perspective that the faith and fundraising are not going together. Their followers may donate funds without asking, voluntarily and on their own. Active fundraising may have reputational risk, unethical, against their belief system and their followers may leave their organisation. Quite high number of Faith and Community-Based Organisations are operating and based on rural, remote and conflict affected regions where no capacity building and skills development opportunities and avenues are not available and/or exists.
The research shows that Faith and Community-Based Organisation creates a positive impact on their members and wider communities around the globe. Faith and Community-Based Organisations are founded in each country, community and society for centuries and in every aspect of society – human, social, culture, arts, and economy – which is evident that faith and community are central for sustainable development and plays an important role to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and progress of their respective nations. It is well known that such organisations cater essential services for the vulnerable and marginalised communities and individuals and advocate for equality and socio-economic justice. This requires resources to meet such needs in their operating areas and for the target groups. The Faith and Community-Based Organisations are part of the community and always stand and support community in ever changing situation and circumstances even in extreme adverse conditions which is not always for the case of Non -Governmental Organisation, private sector or even by government.
The United Nations, its agencies, and governments have recognised importance of the Faith and Community-Based Organisation in poverty eradication, peacebuilding, and sustainable development. This reflects in the United Nations University literature: ‘Community-Based Organisations are playing critical roles in facilitating connections between stakeholders at the national and local levels in representing interests to actors beyond the community, as well as in providing support and service for local communities’[ii]. According to the European University Institute research paper Faith-Based Organisations at the United Nations: ‘Hundreds of Faith-Based Organisations have an institutionalised presence at the United Nations, via official status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and attempting to influence debates and decisions-making at the United Nations’[iii]. This implies the significance of the Faith and Community-Based Organisation in public life – local to international level and off course with an individual and family.
I have experienced and witnessed this phenomenon in my working life with World Vision and Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF – Caritas Scotland) in Africa and Asia. The Church is running education and health services in number of African countries and providing vital services to society even in remotest rural areas. I am regularly meeting women and men narrating me their life stories about how their lives have been changed, had good education and employment, and living happily with their families because of the child sponsorship programme run by World Vision. I was managing Peace and Reconciliation Programme after Rwanda Genocide with the National Justice and Peace Commission of Conference Episcopal du Rwanda and meaningfully contributed to the process of reconciling individuals, families, and communities together and forgiving each other and living peacefully side-by-side. Supported PRAKRUTHI, a Community-Based Organisation in Kolar District, India to promote Sustainable Agricultural practices among smallholder farmers particularly women farmers that resulted not only in economic development of their families but education to their girls. These are only few examples to show that how Faith and Community-Based Organisations are making a positive transformation in the lives of thousands of families and communities. I can give number of such examples of Faith and Community-Based Organisations in Africa and Asia where I was part of the transformational process to make real differences in the areas of disability, women empowerment, youth and rural development, climate change, vocational education, agriculture, education, health and in humanitarian situation and becoming a voice for voiceless.
Why am I writing this blog? I know and witnessed that Faith and Community-Based Organisations are making sustainable and positive changes in the lives of families and communities in rural and urban areas. The United Nations, World Bank, Governments, International and National Non-Government Organisations, Donor Agencies and Philanthropies needs Faith and Community-Based Organisations to achieve their own goals and objectives and for sustainability. Faith and Community-Based Organisations need to develop their abilities to enhance their efforts to raise resources so as to reach out to more and more communities to bring them out of sufferings, poverty and injustice and give them hope and equal opportunities to progress in their lives and achieve their full potential.