Donors and Funders

Although all the principles of successful partnerships apply to funders and donors, these relationships often require special attention and additional resources. Donors and funders could be local businesses, international NGOs, government bodies, or individual people in the community. Understanding how to engage with these funders and donors is essential in keeping them engaged with the programme and sometimes determines whether or not they offer funding or financially support the programme in some way.

Although all donors and funders are not the same, most do not like to be treated as cash machines, only being engaged when an organisation needs money. Most donors and funders, big and small, are very interested in updates about the programme, including its impact on the girls and the community, and require these updates through reporting. Most donors also value honesty and would prefer to be problem-solving partners with an organisation as opposed to getting updates that disregard all the problems and obstacles and highlight only successes. 

Common Barriers

  • Not enough staff or time to fundraise or seek out new opportunities
  • Not enough staff or time to report thoroughly and effectively to donors and funders
  • Lack of access to funders and donors, both local and international
  • High competition for the attention of particular funders and donors

Incentives or Motivations for Engagement

  • New or renewed funding for the upcoming year or several years
  • Introduction to a network of potential new funders or donors
  • Legitimacy through a portfolio of a variety of funders and donors
  • A variety of funders leads to increased sustainability as an organisation.

Strategies for Engagement

  • Create a flier that concisely and attractively summarises your programme. In many places, a written document with photos goes a long way in making your programme look more official and respectable. This is especially important if it is a new programme. Include the names of your partners on your materials, if appropriate. 
  • Report on outcomes and impact. Show results in multiple forms, including statistics, written accounts, and photos.
  • Treat every relationship as a partnership. Share discussions around successes and problem solving.
  • Introduce funders to other individuals and organisations invested in the same causes or working in the same area.
  • Share future goals and expectations.
  • Invite funders and donors to events and ask them to speak if relevant.

How it Works


Kick4Life, a football for development programme that works with both boys and girls, partnered with telecommunications company Vodacom. Vodacom has donated more than 100 mobile phones to Kick4life football club as an initiative to enhance communication between the HIV/AIDS counsellors and their clients.