- Fundraising objectives
- Current fundraising position
- Potential fundraising methods
This document sets out the fundraising methods that WISE will strengthen, initiate and/or cease in the short, medium and long term in order to meet the organisation’s fundraising objectives. The strategy is the outcome of a study conducted to evaluate WISE’s existing fundraising methods as well as investigate new ones.
The study was initiated in early 2019 and subsequently updated in end 2019 by the Core Team for the following reasons: consulting fees, which WISE had relied on for the first two years of operations (2016-2017) had dried up in the third year (2018) and was an unpredictable source of revenue; WISE did not have sufficient funds to sustain more than one year of overhead. Additionally WISE had expanded their operations by registering as a Foundation (Yayasan) and initiating more projects in Indonesia, and intended to expand their operations by registering and hiring one full-time staff in Cambodia.
Figure 1 Breakdown of income (US$) since 2016. Notes: (1) Consulting fees are nett of expenses; (2) Donations in 2016 were predominantly from WISE core team members; (3) Income in 2019 includes grants and assignments that have been awarded and donations that have been committed.
Among the five sources identified in Figure 1, consulting, grants and crowdfunding are currently the main sources of revenue for WISE. Donations that were received were made on the initiative of WISE supporters; Fees were charged as part of workshops being conducted, rather than a means to raise funds.
The fundraising strategy is a roadmap describing where WISE is now in terms of funding, where we want to be, and how we will get there. The approach undertaken to develop the roadmap was as follows:
1️⃣ Determine fundraising objectives
The Core Team determined the short, medium and long-term fundraising goals, considering the initiatives that WISE plans to implement and expand. The yearly budget necessary for each phase was estimated.
2️⃣ Evaluate current fundraising position
A SWOT (strength, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) and gap analysis of WISE’s existing fundraising methods was carried out using available data from the organisation, desk-based research and inputs from relevant WISE team members. The desired end state for each fundraising method was envisioned and practical steps required to get from the current to desired state were identified.
3️⃣ Evaluate potential fundraising methods
A similar analysis was conducted for as-yet unutilised fundraising methods.
4️⃣ Develop fundraising strategy
The action steps identified in Stages 2 and 3 were prioritised for the short, medium and long term, taking into account the effort required to implement each step and their potential payout.
WISE’s fundraising objectives are set out in terms of short, medium and long-term goals (Table 1). The short-term objectives are to have sufficient funds to run projects that are currently being implemented or in active development (“Consolidate”); The medium-term objectives are to establish permanent offices in cities/towns where WISE is active (“Strengthen”); And the long-term objectives are to have fully-staffed offices with independent management, programs, fundraising, communications and learning teams (“Grow”).
|Fundraising objectives||Short term||Medium term||Long term||Notes|
|Aim||Consolidate||Strengthen||Grow||Refer to budget calculations in this sheet.|
|1-2 years||3-5 years||5-10 years|
Paid team members
|Funding per year US$||70,000||200,000||575,000|
Note that WISE will not start a project unless funds have already been secured for it. This will typically be restricted grants, and potentially crowdfunding campaigns, because unrestricted funds will be allocated to overhead. However, WISE will commit to continuing a project once it has started. Therefore, the minimum funds required to run WISE in our current state is about US$70,000 per year.
As of December 2019, WISE had three full-time (2x Indonesia, 1x Singapore) and two part-time team members (1x Cambodia; 1x Singapore) and would like to recruit a full-time staff member in Cambodia in 2020. After consolidating WISE’s current projects, we aim to increase the number of team members in order to build on existing activities and subsequently have offices of four team members each that can run activities independently (i.e. 1x Management plus Fundraising; 2x Programs plus Learning; 1x Communications team member per office) while sharing certain roles across offices (e.g. grant writing, graphic design). Note that the current salary structure also needs to be reviewed to ensure that team members are paid fairly.
Team members currently work from home but in order to facilitate work and collaboration within teams and with partners as WISE expands our activities, it will become necessary to have established workspaces. These are envisioned to be in Palembang (Indonesia), Nagekeo/Kupang (Indonesia), Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and Singapore, where current paid team members are located, and will become bases from which activities will be scaled.
WISE is currently implementing or actively developing ten projects (Table 2). The immediate fundraising objective is to enable these projects to be implemented. After launching these projects, we aim to build on these activities either by scaling up the project within the community or implementing complementary activities (e.g. following up on the latrine construction subsidy scheme with handwashing promotion). As more team members are hired, similar projects will be replicated to other communities or new projects developed. An internal professional development program will also be developed.
List of projects as of December 2019
|Location||Being implemented||Actively developing|
|Indonesia 🇮🇩||Story of the Land, Nagekeo|
Precious Plastic, Nagekeo
Germany project, Nagekeo
|Cambodia 🇰🇭||Phnom Sanitation Project, Tbong Khmum|
Tapon Drought Project, Battambang
Partner Capacity Building
Behaviour Change Hackathon, CSW
|Singapore 🇸🇬||Drink Wise Waste Less||Behaviour Change Hackathon scale up|
|Regional 🌏||History of Toilet|
Distribution of funds
As of December 2019, activities in Indonesia are covered by funds going into the bank account in Indonesia while activities in Cambodia and Singapore are covered by funds going into the bank account in Singapore. Within the next few years, WISE aims for Cambodia to have their own bank account with each country ideally able to raise funds sustainably for their own team and activities. Realistically, we also recognise that wealth in Singapore is significantly higher, therefore the Singapore team should be raising funds for activities in other countries.
The evaluation is very Singapore-focused and will need further input from the Indonesia and Cambodia teams.
Funds available as of 31 December to meet short-term objectives is approximately US$56,000. In order to run WISE in the current state, the organisation will require another US$14,000. Assuming all nine projects will be implemented this year, the remaining amount to be raised as soon as possible for the financial year 2019 is US$94,000. In addition, WISE aims to build sufficient reserves to cover one year of overheads. This is a significant amount of money and is unlikely to be raised through WISE’s existing fundraising methods, which are consulting services, grants and crowdfunding campaigns.
An analysis of similar organisations in Southeast Asia show that those who are not backed by a major foundation, grantor or the government, fundraise through donations. The comparison suggests that there is potential to tap into different sources of donations. However, it might not be useful to read too much into the comparisons because WISE operates on a different model and is much younger than the other organisations.
International development consulting is a vast sector comprising all types of assignments carried out by all types of consultants, from large international firms to individual independent consultants. As a Devex article stated, the project-based nature of development work and the frequent need for specific, short-term technical expertise make this sector ripe for a thriving consultant base.
Since 2016 (as of December 2019), WISE has earned approximately US$73,950 through consulting services in Indonesia and Singapore (Table 4). It was WISE’s main source of funding in our first two years of operation, before the organisation registered in Singapore and became eligible to apply for some grants and run crowdfunding campaigns.
The income earned from each assignment ranged between US$2,500 and US$18,000 (excluding one pro-bono project). Assignments from Indonesia required a large amount of effort to earn a relatively low income, even before considering that WISE was paying our associates below market rate for the assignments. Of the eleven projects listed, five were obtained through personal connections while the remaining six were obtained through submitting bids in response to a call for proposals. As of January 2019, WISE had submitted 46 unsuccessful bids. From 2018, WISE did not successfully bid for any consulting assignments. It is unclear whether this was due to a decreasing number of opportunities, an increasingly competitive market, WISE’s limited qualifications or a mismatch of qualifications. In 2019 and beyond, WISE did not actively bid for consulting assignments, partly because team members were preoccupied with our own projects, and with conducting training.
Consulting assignments carried out
Consulting fees are a valuable source of unrestricted funds and comes in large amounts compared to small donations from individuals. One client had feedback that WISE’s hands-on experience working with communities helps us stand out, and we should continue to leverage this advantage to stand out against private sector consulting firms and research institutions. Consulting assignments are also an opportunity to establish relationships with WASH stakeholders, which keep the organisation in touch with the latest trends in the sector, and could lead to further collaboration. By completing the assignment, WISE is able to expand our portfolio and gain credibility among potential supporters and clients. Team members also get to gain hands-on experience.
A recent meeting with ACRES (Singapore) suggests that there may be demand for consulting services among the nonprofit sector. The Deputy CEO was interested in WISE’s behaviour change workshops and ability to conduct research.
SWOT analysis for consulting services
Unrestricted; High payout; Opportunity to expand network, expand portfolio, gain credibility, improve expertise
Field experience; Professionalism
Demand for nonprofit consulting in Singapore?
Unpredictable; Takes time away from own projects; Stress due to client pressure; Risk to credibility if assignment fails
Limited experience, expertise and qualifications; Limited networks and visibility; Poor marketing; Hard to communicate because team members are in different areas (Indonesia)
Established consulting services with wider offerings
Unfortunately, consulting is an unpredictable income stream. WISE’s small team, limited experience and range of expertise limits the number of opportunities and size of projects that we are able to bid for. This likely makes us less competitive compared to other organisations, in addition to our less than professional-looking CVs.
Few WASH stakeholders know WISE, and stakeholders who know WISE are rarely aware that the organisation offers consulting services and the skills/expertise we offer. As a Devex article states, most consulting assignments are not advertised and many consultants are hired through inside networks, therefore it is important to expand our network and visibility. Improved marketing may help. The Practical Action Consulting webpage, for example, makes it clear that they focus on “the use of technology for poverty reduction”, that they have four areas of expertise and have six locations of work. The website also describes examples of projects they have done.
There is a significant opportunity cost to working on consulting assignments as well. Not only does consulting take time away from WISE’s own projects, which contributes towards building a case of support for donations and grants, working with clients can be stressful.
|Current state||Possible action steps||Desired state|
|Consulting is an unpredictable source of income, limited to small-value projects||Expand scope of opportunities that WISE has the expertise and capacity to apply for||WISE has a continuous stream of active and high-value consulting assignments bringing in revenue|
|Limited experience, expertise and qualifications||Experienced, dedicated team with a range of expertise and qualifications in Singapore, Jakarta and Phnom Penh|
|Limited networks and visibility||Well connected with clients and large consulting firms|
Clear value proposition
Funding bodies such as foundations and government agencies support non-profit organisations in pursuing their missions, either restricted to a specific program/purpose or unrestricted for general support. The reliance of nonprofit organisations on grants vary, from Clear Cambodia whose main source of funding is charity: water, to World Toilet Organization (WTO) where grants made up 6.7% of total revenue for 2017. Grants can be competitive, therefore it is important to be as prepared as possible when writing grants. GrantsUSA provides an organisational grants-readiness checklist.
WISE started because of a US$2,000 grant that Yoke Pean received through the 2015 ASEAN Youth Volunteer Program. Initially, as WISE was not registered as a legal entity, we applied for grants and competitions for GWASH which, as a social enterprise idea, was eligible for funding. When WISE was registered as a nonprofit company limited by guarantee in Singapore in 2017, the organisation started applying for grants from the National Youth Council. WISE continues to tap on individual connections to seek funding e.g. YSEALI’s Go NGO Professional Development Enhancement Grant and INSPIRASI’s fieldwork project (Table 4).
In contrast to consulting fees, grants represent a growing source of revenue for WISE. This trend has continued into 2021, tripling the amount just 3 years prior. However, many other non-profits are receiving fewer and fewer grants, with the WTO having no grants in 2019 and 2020. While it remains a large portion of the funding, an overreliance can prove to be dangerous in the long run.
Grants have a high payout compared to individual donations, although the relative effort required to submit grants and approach individuals to donate may be comparable. WISE has been able to tap on youth funding in Singapore and should continue to do so, while the increased attention on environment and waste management are opportunities the organisation could consider. For example, the National Environment Agency of Singapore has set aside US$1.5 million (S$2 million) for zero waste ground-up initiatives. Projects with some track record (Phnom Sanitation Project, Designing for Behaviour Change workshops and History of Toilets) and which are newly-funded (Story of the Land) also represent opportunities for WISE to leverage. WISE has already built a grants database which facilitates the identification and management of grants.
SWOT analysis for grants
Growing so far
Some track record, projects to leverage; Grants database; Grants management
Local government and NGO funding in Indonesia (but village fund is not implemented well); Development partners in Cambodia fund NGOs; Youth and environmental funding in Singapore
Typically short-term and restricted; Resource-intensive to write grant proposals and prepare documentation
Fluctuates in large capacity year by year
Not registered as a charity; Limited track record as a young organisation; No grant-writing team
Cambodia government prioritise grants to businesses
Grants are typically restricted to direct programmes costs and limited to up to a few years; Grants that are for general support or overheads tend to be harder to find and more competitive. It is also time-consuming to write proposals and submit reports, but the relative effort should decrease as the value of the grant increases. Not being registered as a charity in Indonesia, Cambodia and Singapore, as well as being a young organisation, prevents WISE from accessing several grants. Furthermore, WISE’s limited track record reduces the organisation’s ability to compete with more established organisations for higher-value international grants. Not having a grant-writing team also prevents WISE from putting more effort into grant-writing.
WISE has yet to maximise the organisation’s potential to utilise grants, with our focus in the early years being on building an initial track record and branding that would attract funders. With projects that WISE can leverage to apply for grants (Annex 3) and with our registration in Indonesia, Singapore and Cambodia that opens new avenues for grants, the organisation will dedicate more time this year to writing grants. In the long term, WISE aims to have a dedicated grant-writing team (with at least one paid position) in order to maximise the amount the organisation is generating through grants.
|Current state||Possible action steps||Desired state|
|Small number of low-value grants from local funding bodies||Expand scope of grants that WISE is eligible for and increase capacity to apply for grants||Portfolio of active grants of ranging values and sources|
|Only eligible for a limited number of grants||Able to access to range of local and international grants|
|Limited networks and visibility||Dedicated team writing grants on a continuous basis|
Crowdfunding was first used by entrepreneurs to attract small-sized investments to for-profit ventures, primarily via the internet, and is projected to become a $90-96 billion dollar industry by 2025. It is also being touted as a valuable tool for fundraising for charitable nonprofits (Council of Nonprofits). WTO and Mercy Relief (MR) have crowdfunding pages on Give.Asia and Giving.sg respectively, with MR having raised US$17,000 from 97 donors from their ‘15th Year Anniversary Impact Fund’ campaign.
WISE has carried out several crowdfunding campaigns (not including the crowdfunding campaign for partner Mr Sros to start Community Training Organization for Development) since registering in Singapore, receiving a total of US$10,000 in 2020 and 2021, up from US$4,900 from 90 donations from 67 donors between 2017 and 2018. An additional US$7000 came from unrestricted donations.
Histogram of amounts contributed by each donor in frequency.
The vast majority of donations are small, skewed by an occasional large (and unexpected) donation. Donors are overwhelmingly team members and their friends, and they have mostly been from Singapore.
Crowdfunding campaigns are an accessible source of unrestricted funds. It is easy to set up a crowdfunding campaign that can then be used to reach a wide audience. The successful implementation of projects (Phnom Sanitation Project; Designing for Behaviour Change workshops; Story of the Land) and documentation of beneficiary stories (Phnom Village subsidy recipients) will help WISE create compelling campaign stories.
WISE’s access to crowdfunding platforms, which are generally only for charities, have been limited. But the organisation’s registration in Indonesia will provide access to crowdfunding platforms such as kitabisa.com as well as Give.Asia, and our registration in Singapore will provide access to Giving.sg for local causes. WISE has also yet to tap into the Global Giving Accelerator crowdfunding program. Since registering on SimplyGiving in both Singapore and Indonesia in 2020, WISE has collected 115 donations.
SWOT analysis for crowfunding campaigns
Easy to implement; Diversifies profile of supporters; Can be unrestricted
Projects and stories to leverage
Resource-intensive to implement effectively (publicity and engaging supporters)
No crowdfunding team and lack of preparation; Not yet registered as a charity; Limited track record and brand visibility
A few crowdfunding startups in Cambodia, but not effective
While it is easy to create a crowdfunding page, it requires intense effort and preparation to effectively publicise the campaign and solicit donations. Previous campaigns likely suffered from the lack of a dedicated crowdfunding team and the lack of resources to prepare an effective campaign. Being a young organisation with limited track record and brand visibility, WISE is realistically only able to reach friends and friends of friends at present.
WISE has yet to maximise the organisation’s potential to utilise crowdfunding. Registering in Indonesia and Singapore will open up more platforms WISE can leverage to seek donations. To maximise crowdfunding potential, WISE will make a concerted effort to increase our reach on social media and develop a crowdfunding strategy so that crowdfunding campaigns can be implemented effectively and efficiently. In the long-term, WISE aims to have a dedicated crowdfunding team (with at least one part-time paid position) in order to maximise the amount the organisation is generating. Giving.sg has raised over $206M for 550 charities and is the leading fundraising platform in Singapore. WISE should aim to always have at least one active fundraising campaign on the platform at all times, even if generic and not aimed at a specific initiative.
|Current state||Possible action steps||Desired state|
|Campaign donations received mainly from friends||Increase brand visibility and credibility as well as increase preparation||Campaign donations received from friends to members of the public|
|Access to few platforms||Strategically leverage platforms for different purposes|
|Limited track record and brand visibility||Strong brand presence|
|No crowdfunding team, therefore lack of preparation||Dedicated crowdfunding team implementing campaigns|
The fundraising methods evaluated are those that WISE might have the ability to implement in the short-to-medium term. There are many other methods that might become feasible as the organisation evolves, and future fundraising strategies should be updated to reflect that fact.
Charging fees for training is one type of fee-for-service model that can help generate income while fulfilling WISE’s core mission. In Cambodia, WASH Skills Development Organization (WASHSDO) and Center for Sustainable Water provide training but it is unclear how much fees are generated from these workshops. But as CAWST’s 2017 and 2016 financial statement shows that training courses made up about 1% of total revenue (donations comprised about 80%), suggesting that training fees may not be a realistic source of significant revenue.
WISE has experimented with several types of fee-for-service approaches. Mandatory fees through WISE’s Designing for Behaviour Change workshops in Singapore have generated US$280, US$270, US$130 and US$340 respectively (total US$1020) through four workshops, while requested fees and voluntary donations approaches have yet to generate any income (although these were not implemented aggressively).
In Singapore, WISE received requests to conduct a number of training workshops in 2019. Opportunities were generated from previous participants of our Designing for Behaviour Change Workshops as well as through personal connections. This indicates potential demand.
Training workshops commissioned
Training fees are a source of unrestricted funds. Even if training is not profit-making on its own, grants and venue sponsorships are available to cover the costs. Having a qualified trainer enables WISE to develop high-quality training and priority should be given to maintaining this position. Once a workshop is developed and a team of organisers/facilitators built, it is relatively easy and affordable to scale as well as to replicate in different countries.
Conducting training also helps WISE to expand the organisation’s network and gain credibility. WISE has had participants link our organisation up to new training opportunities, and these are opportunities we have yet to tap into. WISE can differentiate ourselves by emphasising our awareness of social justice issues combined with practical experience to carve a niche in the otherwise crowded market, and leverage existing networks in Singapore to publicise the training.
SWOT analysis for training
Contributes to mission; Unrestricted; Opportunity to expand network, gain credibility; Easily scalable and replicable to different countries
Social justice perspective, with practical experience; One curriculum developer, two trainers; Connected to influencers in Singapore
Grants available; Free venues available; Interest in Indonesia, Cambodia and Singapore
Resource-intensive; Risk to credibility if workshop is not well-received
Small team; Lack credibility, not accredited; Limited networks, esp. outside Singapore, and visibility
Existing market in Singapore might saturate; Individuals and organisations unwilling or unable to pay
The initial investment to develop training is high, and WISE only has a small team able to do curriculum development. Furthermore, individuals and organisations are unwilling or unable to pay for training, making it difficult to generate profits without significant financial support. In addition, WISE does not have qualified team members outside Singapore, and limited connections in Indonesia and Cambodia. This will make it challenging to expand training beyond Singapore, which may be necessary if WISE’s market in Singapore saturates. WISE’s lack of accreditation also reduces our potential market.
WISE will continue to conduct training under the organisation’s capacity building program. It would be logical to leverage what we can to generate income from training, but the possibility of training becoming a plausible income stream is unclear, as there are unanswered questions regarding what the best business model in Singapore is, and whether there is a market in Indonesia and Cambodia.
Therefore, the goal is to first determine whether there is a feasible business model for training in Singapore, and if so, explore the feasibility of expanding to Indonesia and Cambodia. This will be achieved by:
- Customising workshops for NGOs (ACRES, GUI, IlluminateSG, Plan International Cambodia) and seeing whether they can be turned into long-term partnerships
- Testing scalability using the Designing for Behaviour Change workshops, including the fee structure and building of a facilitation team
- Better understanding training needs among NGOs in Singapore
There are many ways to solicit donations from individuals outside of crowdfunding, from online giving to asking for donations during events. Yandow (2015) found that the average small nonprofit raises 36% of its annual overall income from individual donors while FundsforNGOs found in 2018 that individuals were rated as the most effective channel for fundraising. Of course, the contexts in the aforementioned studies may differ from WISE’s, but NVPC’s Individual Giving Survey 2016 found that 76% of people in Singapore donated in 2016. Unfortunately, the rate has been steadily decreasing.
Charities may organise events like fundraising dinners and charity runs, like Dig Deep which organises charity hikes, amazing races and runs around the UK. Some charities are leveraging technology to engage the public in more innovative ways, such as charity : water who organised live Instameets with their followers during World Water Day, also publicising this initiative on Facebook to drive supporters to their Instagram page. They made use of the hashtag #748million to “remind others about the number of people who currently lack access to clean water around the world”.
Individual donation rate in Singapore (NVPC 2017)
WISE has yet to actively pursue individual donations outside of crowdfunding. Despite that, WISE already has four supporters (one volunteer; three friends of WISE team members) making monthly donations to the bank account in Singapore.
Individual donations are a source of unrestricted funds and can be effective because of the many ways through which to ‘ask’ an individual to donate: face-to-face (direct solicitation, through fundraisers, during events, canvassing, collections), phone call, personal email, newsletter, and social media. WISE has some track record, success stories and projects to leverage for asks, and the organisation has yet to tap on our existing donor database as well as team members to ask for regular (or one-off) donations.
SWOT analysis for training
Unrestricted; Many avenues to solicit donations, including opportunities to gain visibility
Some track record, projects and stories to leverage; Donor database
Untapped network of team members; Free/cheap venue in Singapore
Resource-intensive to solicit donations, especially to organise events, and maintain donor engagement
No team, no plan; Limited credibility, visibility, networks and marketing; Difficult to donate, no organisation bank accounts Cambodia
It can be resource-intensive to solicit donors directly - this is more effective than social media, although social media reaches a wider audience - as well as to maintain engagement with donors so that they continue supporting the organisation. Part of the reason why WISE has not focused on individual donations is our lack of fundraising team members.
WISE’s lack of credibility - being a young organisation with relatively few success stories and not yet registered as a charity - may limit the organisation’s ability to obtain donations from a wider audience. We also do not yet have organisation bank accounts in Indonesia and Cambodia. The lack of a giving culture, especially in Cambodia, may make it more difficult to get donors.
Individual donations are an untapped potential for WISE, and there are many ways the organisation can go in order to solicit individual donors. Therefore, the short-term goal is to pursue and optimise the low hanging fruit while developing, step-by-step, a more sophisticated individual donation strategy. Action steps include:
- Asking team members and previous supporters to give and/or fundraise (e.g. during their birthday). Produce a guide for how team members can support WISE’s efforts.
- Encouraging monthly/regular donations in asks.
- Making it as easy as possible for supporters to donate, including redesigning the donation webpage, creating bank accounts, including donation methods, etc.
- Leveraging Giving.sg to ensure that there is a minimum of one active fundraising campaign at all times
- Making asks more effective e.g. improving the text, making the visuals more engaging, etc.
Top Nonprofits has a list of best practices that WISE can apply. Other examples WISE can refer to include ACRES and charity : water. WISE will start from Singapore before expanding to Indonesia and Cambodia.
In the medium to long term, WISE can consider:
- Organising large-scale fundraisers, especially during global WASH-related days like World Water Day and World Toilet Day. These may take the form of live online events (these need to be properly planned in order to attract and sustain viewer interest), talks or panel discussions, documentary screenings, or auction sale of second-hand items.
- Applying for Google Ad Grants, and launching banner ad campaigns to raise awareness and solicit donations. This will require optimisation of the website to meet Google requirements for page load times and user experience, as well as the development of an effective ad campaign.
- Encouraging supporters to organise small-scale fundraisers based on their personal interests, such as nature walks or bake sales (WISE will have to consider how to curate and supervise such events).
Businesses, Associations and Societies may donate to further a non-profit organisation’s mission, typically in return for recognition of the business’s support. According to our research, most prominent charity organisations have a corporate sponsorship element, though they depend on it to different degrees. For instance, corporate sponsorships make up 46% (12.9m) of Water.org’s funding but only 8.7% (63.5k) for World Toilet Organisation.
According to fundsforNGOs, corporate social responsibility is steadily increasing its share of the fundraising pie. However, the number of charities competing for this pool of fund is growing as well.
WISE has yet to pursue corporate sponsorships. Before doing so, we will need to know what kind of sponsorships are we looking for (unrestricted funds, funding for projects), and find out the value propositions we have to offer for potential sponsors (what would success look like for the company?). According to The Guardian, some factors companies consider when entering a charity partnership include whether there are shared values with the charity, opportunities for staff engagement (e.g. volunteering), benefits for brand image, whether there is a giving culture within the company and the credibility of the charity.
Coincidentally, WISE had been approached by a family business exploring giving back programs, but the opportunity did not pan out.
Corporate sponsorships can be a significant source of unrestricted funding. When the relationship is maintained well, some sponsors may end up working with WISE long-term. Compared to previous years, WISE has more projects and stories to showcase and we can tap on our team’s connections in different countries to approach corporates. WISE could start with companies in Indonesia, which was the first country to make corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting mandatory by law for energy and extractive industries. Moreover, with increasing economic interest in Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia, companies may be looking to build goodwill in this region.
SWOT analysis for training
High payout; potential for long-term relationship
Connections in many countries; Projects and stories to leverage
CSR regulations in Indonesia; Companies are taking an interest in Southeast Asia
Likely mismatch of values; Resources required to pitch corporates then maintain relationship
Not registered as a charity; Limited track record and brand visibility; Lack of experience and team
WISE must ensure that the companies we partner share our values - this may limit the pool of companies the organisation is able to approach. In addition, many companies prefer to support charities (and in Singapore, Institutions of Public Character [IPC]) with a greater track record and brand visibility.
WISE will build a corporate sponsorship profile, starting by drafting a corporate sponsorship proposal (see example from ACRES) and pitch deck. Once this material is ready, WISE can start to reach out to connections through our team members. We can also use events (e.g. exhibitions and talks) to meet potential sponsors. Adding a CSR section to our website with a version of the pitch materials will also help surface WISE as a viable CSR partner through search engine optimisation.
Charging fees for conducting outreach and educational activities, similar to workshops, can help generate income while contributing to WISE’s mission. FLUSH, whom WISE partners, has conducted classes in New York on the ‘The History of Toilets’, ‘Introduction to Infectious Disease and the Role of Toilets’, and more. Loo Tours organises lavatory-themed walking tours around London.
WISE had not seriously considered outreach activities as a fundraising strategy. We had spoken at one paid talk in March 2018 organised by Soristic. Turnout was not high and the organisation only earned S$30 (US$22) of proceeds from the talk. However, with WISE signing a memorandum of understanding with FLUSH to collaborate on outreach and educational activities, this is an opportunity leverage FLUSH’s expertise to expand our work in this area.
Charging ticket fees helps to generate income while contributing to WISE’s mission, which enables the organisation to also expand our network and gain credibility. We can leverage on our WASH expertise to create interesting activities, while tapping on grants and free venues to cover the cost of running these activities.
SWOT analysis for outreach activities
Unrestricted; Opportunity to expand network and gain credibility
Potential grants; Free venues available
Diverts from core mission; Can be resource-intensive, especially to develop the activities
Limited team; Limited networks and visibility
Might not have a market in Indonesia, Cambodia and Singapore
Outreach is not part of WISE’s core programs of community development, capacity building and behaviour change, and organising such activities can divert limited resources away from other projects. (Alternatively, the core team could consider making outreach a core program.) It is also unclear whether there is sufficient public interest in these activities to generate significant income.
WISE is already working with FLUSH to develop a ‘History of Toilets’ class, therefore we can use this as a test case to determine whether outreach activities have potential. After conducting this class, WISE will re-evaluate whether outreach activities are a feasible fundraising method.
Sale of second-hand merchandise
Selling merchandise is an age-old method of fundraising. In Singapore, it is common to sell second-hand items (see MINDS Shop [US$43,500 of 0.93% of total income in 2017, New2U Thrift Shop [US$188,500 or 18.96% of total income in 2017], Singapore Red Cross [US$192,000 or 5.65% of total income in 2017], and Salvation Army) - it is also common overseas (see Oxfam local shops). Technology has also made it easier to sell merchandise online - international WASH organisations who do it include Blood : Water (in 2017, they raised US$6,245 or 0.28% of net revenue from the sale of merchandise) and charity : water (merchandise also form an insignificant percentage of their revenue).
In 2016, Yoke Pean ran a garage sale at her family’s house and raised US$1,200. This led to intentions to sell second-hand items online to raise funds but the idea faded away due to the lack of manpower. WISE’s position on original merchandise is that it contributes to consumerism and might send the wrong message about WISE’s values. Therefore here we are only considering the sale of second-hand items.
According to UK Fundraising, charities typically sell merchandise to fundraise and raise awareness. Thus, selling merchandise can help to expand WISE’s limited visibility. These merchandise can also be included in events to earn extra donations.
SWOT analysis for selling second-hand merchandise
Unrestricted; Opportunity to expand network and visibility; Does not require specialised skills
Existing online presence
Consumer-to-consumer marketplaces such as Carousell and Facebook
Resource-intensive to start up and run; Requires space
Limited team; Limited visibility
Saturated market in Singapore; Dispersed market in Indonesia and Cambodia
WISE does not currently have the bandwidth to build and sustain a stock of second-hand merchandise to sell.
With sale of second-hand items unlikely to bring it much funds, and other fundraising methods that have more potential, WISE is not in a position to pursue this right now.
Sale of original merchandise
Another method of fundraising that was observed was the sale of merchandise by other organisations. Typically, this is done through organisations setting up an online store in their website, selling simple merchandises such as books (that they have written), t-shirts, water bottles and mugs. To start a merchandise campaign, some of the key steps WISE would need to execute include: decide on a design, source for suppliers, allocate a space for storage, set up an online store and arrange for delivery.
WASH organisations that sell merchandise includes Blood : Water, who owns an online store that sells a series trendy t-shirts featuring their organisation logo, as well as their own book and cups. In 2017, they made $6,245 from the sale of merchandise, which is a small percentage compared to their net revenue of $2,172,980 the same year. In terms of following, Blood : Water currently has 24,338 likes on Facebook.
Another organisation that offers a wider variety of merchandise would be Charity : Water, who’s online store contains items like phone accessories, temporary tattoos and even bicycles. While the amount made from their online store is not disclosed, it is estimated to be within the $47,059 of their “Other Income”, in their 2017 Financial Report. This is juxtaposed the $51,376,633 they raised in the same year.
This may suggest that even for large organisations, the sale of merchandise may not be a lucrative or sustainable source of funding, but it could done more for branding purposes.
According to UK Fundraising, charity organisations typically sell merchandises for two reasons: to fundraise and to raise awareness. Apart from the potential to make revenue from such a venture, the exposure that these merchandises can provide will also align with WISE’s current need to increase our visibility. However, we need to be cautiously optimistic about this possibility, as the merchandise may not take-off the way we expect it to be.
In addition to that, having our own merchandise can also synergise with our current crowdfunding and workshop efforts, as these merchandises can be sold in our own events.
In terms of our ability to execute, we currently have a full-time designer in our team, which could help us to design our merchandise. Our active presence on Facebook, Instagram and our website is also an advantage, as we currently have 1,059 following in Facebook that we can reach out to.
SWOT analysis for sales of original merchandise
Merchandise with our logo on in helps to provide visibility
We have a full-time designer; We have an active online presence to share about our merchandise
Merchandise can be sold in workshops or crowdfunding events.
Starting a merchandise require time and capital, and it may diverge valuable resources from other focuses
Do not have an online payment portal; Do not have excess manpower; Website lacks visibility
Merchandise may not represent our brand; Merchandise may not sell well
There is an inherent risk involved in starting a merchandise venture. At worst, we could spend significant time and monetary resources on this venture, and the merchandise do not become well-received by our supporters, which may cause us to incur a loss. Such a venture will also diverge manpower resource from other activities, which is a factor we should consider seriously.
Apart from that, executing this project will also require some improvements to our websites, such as building in a payment system to allow for the online store to operate, as well as performing search engine optimization to increase the visibility of our website. However, this may not be a bad thing, as having an online payment system and greater website visibility is generally beneficial for WISE.
Weighing the pros and cons of a merchandise venture, and considering the current priorities of WISE, it is likely better-off for WISE to not start a merchandise venture at this point, due to the following considerations. Firstly, WISE is expected to receive its charity and foundation status in Singapore, Indonesia and Cambodia respectively, which will open up new opportunities for the firm to raise funds through crowdfunding websites or to even reach out to corporate sponsorships. To start a merchandise venture at this point of time may put extra burden on the firm and prevent it from pursuing the proper follow-up actions after these statuses have been attained. Secondly, WISE currently has a limited following in its social media, which is an important factor that Youtubers consider when deciding went to launch their own merchandises. Thus, it is beneficial for WISE to focus on other areas of development, and build up its own social media following first, to reduce the risks of launching its merchandises. In general, developing merchandises is a good way to strengthen WISE’s branding, and improve its overall visibility. Thus, taking these benefits into account will help WISE decide when is a good time to start such a venture in the future.
Potential future income streams
As WISE grows in credibility and visibility, fundraising methods such as donations from high net worth individuals and legacy giving can become more feasible. Another business idea is since team members will need an office to work, it might be worth taking an opportunity to invest in a co-working space or subletting office space. WISE will regularly revisit the fundraising strategy to determine which fundraising methods are more or less feasible.
WISE started small and was fortunate to obtain a number of consulting assignments and grants to sustain the organisation until now. But with the paid team and projects growing, it is necessary to develop a strategic approach to fundraising to ensure survival and build long-term sustainability.
Based on WISE’s evaluation of our current fundraising position and potential new fundraising methods, our overall approach is to increase our effort building up a diverse portfolio of funding sources. Many of the fundraising methods require WISE to improve our overall branding and visibility and to register in the various countries in order to maximise output.
WISE will continue pursuing consulting opportunities that we are qualified for, while improving our marketing by revamping our consulting webpage, including consulting in our organisational profile and strengthening the CVs of team members.
To have a better understanding of the expertise the organisation currently has, WISE will compile a database of consultants. Then WISE can start to build our expertise and experience by offering pro-bono consulting services and developing internal training on consulting-related skills. In the long-term, WISE could consider a consultant training program.
|Grants||WISE will dedicate more effort to writing grant applications and start to build a grant-writing team, first by involving the core team in the grant application strategy, then creating resources (e.g. project information database) to help people write grants, thus enabling WISE to recruit a team of volunteers, and in the long term a paid staff.|
|Crowdfunding||WISE needs to conduct crowdfunding campaigns in a strategic manner in order to maximise the amount generated. Therefore, WISE must develop a crowdfunding strategy and plan before embarking on our subsequent campaigns. With this strategy, WISE will be able to recruit a team of volunteers, and in the long term a paid staff, to run crowdfunding campaigns.|
|Training||The feasibility of generating income through training is still unclear. WISE will continue pursuing training opportunities and exploring various fee models to better understand whether training has a sustainable business model in Singapore, Cambodia and Indonesia.|
|Individual donations||It is time for WISE to tap on individual donations, but we need to do so in a strategic manner. Therefore, WISE must develop an initial donation marketing plan before revamping our website, social media and newsletter communications and approaching our team members for support. Once WISE has maximised our friends, family and colleagues network, the organisation can start to reach out to a wider audience.|
|Corporate sponsorships||WISE must first have a clear idea why we are approaching companies for sponsorship. Therefore the first step is to develop a corporate sponsorship proposal and pitch. To gain experience, we will first reach out to connections through our team members then start to reach out to a wider network.|
The feasibility of generating income through outreach activities is still unclear. WISE will leverage partnership (e.g. FLUSH, GUI) and grant opportunities to conduct outreach activities in order to better understand whether outreach has a sustainable business model.
|Applicable to||Fundraising team, Finance team, Core Team, Board|
Update based on 2020 and 2021 numbers and discussions