Do you want more international funding? I’d bet you do, who wouldn’t? With that in mind, I recently attended a two-day summit at the United Nations devoted to funding the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The event was sponsored by the United Nations Development Program and CAF America, a global grant-making organization that provides philanthropic advisory services to corporations, foundations, and individuals. We grant seekers were an anomaly among a group of 40 donor advisors, evaluators and foundation program officers (community, corporate, family and private).
- The highly interactive program focused on:
- The capacity of businesses to drive social change
- How funders can maximize their impact and strengthen civil society
- Legal considerations in cross-border grant-making
- Identifying and working as true partners with local NGOs
- Program oversight and transparency
- Why monitoring and evaluating impact matters
- How and what to measure
Here are the key conference takeaways that you should keep in mind as your agency seeks to launch, fund and expand their cross-border programs:
1. International philanthropy is riveted on the Sustainable Development Goals.
2. Donor Advised Fund managers are key conduits to a large and growing segment of private philanthropy. Since many of the fund managers do not have experience in the field, they are very open to hearing your views and analysis.
3. Corporate philanthropy programs still have a large in-kind focus, but they are looking more at how they can support promising practices that lead to measurable and sustainable change.
4. No one is going to want to give to international NGOs if they cannot see measurable effects from their investments. However, evaluation models and indicators do not have to be complex or innovative—reliable measures exist and will do in most circumstances.
5. Partnerships with developing country partners are a prerequisite for funding.
6. Grant periods are increasingly multiyear.
7. Hybrid funding (businesses + foundations +government agencies) for international development is here to stay.
8. Funders will expect INGOs to devote more time and energy to building the capacity of local partners to engage in advocacy with their own local and national governments.
In closing, it is an exciting time for nonprofits to launch or expand their international programs. However, the funding landscape is changing dramatically—the old paradigm of simply responding to RFPs, operating programs without local funders, and measuring outputs instead of impacts is fading rapidly.
LAPA’s team of experienced consultants stand ready to help you construct, refine, and implement an individualized, successful approach that takes advantage of today’s realities.