Network of African Youths for Development - 'Together is better'
Actiontoolkit - Take Action! - Sourcing the resources

But first think, is it necessary to look at our resources only in terms of money? Is it the single most important factor in getting what we want? No! Many resources can be gained without spending anything! Make a list of what you actually need and think about different ways of getting just that. You may find getting resources by means other than money a far easier task. People as resources: Never under estimate the importance of human skills as a valuable resource and one that does not necessarily need paying for! When approaching companies and individuals for support, consider how they may be able to help you by providing skills as well as, or as an alternative to, money. Ask for both, as many will be more willing to offer labour, time and talent. This will help to reduce your projectAfrica scene costs. Volunteering their time over money will also give funders a greater attachment to the project; as a result, they are more willing to give their all to help it succeed.

Funds in-kind: Raising funds in-kind is a great alternative to raising cash. Rather than approaching potential funders for money, devise a list of what you need the money for and see whether anyone can provide the actual goods. If, for example, you’re setting up an office, you will probably find it much easier to find a company willing to donate an old computer rather than raising the cash to buy a new one at very high cost. The same is true for almost any project. We met youth activists who had not only run a successful rock concert based almost entirely on in-kind funding but had even managed to make a profit from it!

Approaching corporate sponsors:Whether you are asking for financial support or goods in-kind, you need to plan your approach to sponsors carefully. Use the networks you have formed and your newly acquired research skills to identify your best possible chances. Here are a few points to consider that will help you tailor your approach

1 Will your project benefit your sponsor? You will be more successful if it is relevant to their own aims. Would it, for example, be a good Public Relations exercise or will it benefit their community? Is their brand related to your goals? Try to present a good motive for this particular company to support your project by considering the synergy between project and brand. Microsoft, for example, is probably more likely to support an IT project than a project raising goats!

2 Are you a good investment? You need to show you are capable of making your project and their money or resources work. We keep on saying it, but it is essential to present clearly set REALISTIC goals. These goals should be quantifiable and easy to understand. Don’t say: “We want to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in Bangalore.” Instead argue “We plan to take workshops into five schools in Bangalore in order to educate children about the dangers of HIV/AIDS...” This shows potential sponsors how you are going to make a change and exactly who will benefit. CSR officers are likely to be considering your project against many others; quantifiable benefits will make your project stand out. Approaching corporate sponsors:Whether you are asking for financial support or goods in-kind, you need to plan your approach to sponsors carefully. Use the networks you have formed and your newly acquired research skills to identify your best possible chances. Here are a few points to consider that will help you tailor your approach:

Top tips for sponsorship success
Get informed: Do your research and find out who is the best person to talk to so you don’t waste time targeting the wrong people.Try to Africa scene get the advice and input of people with experience in assessing proposals.
Show you are somebody: Give yourself authenticity by including support letters in your application from as many responsible organisations as possible. Endorsements from other business leaders are especially valuable as it shows a professional thinks you are a good investment. Demonstrate previous success. Enthusiasm combined with actual results is much more appealing!
Show commitment and persevere! It is rare to receive funding after your first attempt so don’t give up! If you are committed to your idea,then your enthusiasm will show and eventually influence others to believe in you.

3. Do you have you got accurate accounts and records to prove your reliability? Potential funders need project managers to be accountable for every penny they spend to ensure their money is not being wasted or misused. Your budget must show funders exactly how you plan to spend every cent of their money.

4. Is the company in a position to invest? Have they just invested a lot of money in another project or are they in known financial trouble? Do your research on the company to ensure that they are in a position to invest. It’s best, for example, to avoid approaching companies that are downsizing or in the middle of a employee reshuffle. Find out the budget period of companies and try to approach them while they are planning their charitable investments for the following year.

5. Are you diluting your ideologies? Be aware of the company’s behaviour and ethos. You may want to ensure that the company is genuinely ethical and responsible. Make sure that it supports, or at least doesn’t undermine, your values in the area of, for example, gender equity or environmental sustainability. Do not dilute your message, or take on someone else’s, for the sake of cash. Be aware that some businesses use examples of donations and community work to divert attention from their own unjust practices.

Get personal: If you can,use a contact in the company and always try to organise a face-to-face meeting where you can explain the importance of your project.This always creates a greater impact than a letter.If you do send a letter,always make a follow-up phone
Africa scenecall to ensure that they received it. Think visual: Presentation is key to looking professional.Dress smartly and present your proposal as well as you can with the resources you have.If you have the chance,create a Power Point presentation and try your hardest to borrow a computer and type your proposal.

Thank supporters.If you get a grant, prepare a ‘thank you’gift or organise a formal occasion together with company representatives.Recognition of their support will increase the chances of them supporting you again.

Corporate Endorsements and Corporate Social Responsibility
A lot of companies have finally started to think seriously about responsibilities towards sustainable development and take their “Corporate Social Responsibility”(CSR) seriously. As part of their CSR,many companies look for projects to fund and support.This is fantastic news for activists who can make use of growing CSR to ask for project support. However,before approaching a company there are several questions you should ask yourself.Does getting involved with this company make you feel uneasy or somehow dilute your message? We cannot tell you who you should and should not seek partnership with,but what we can tell you is to be aware and THINK before blindly accepting cash from what could be a dubious source. Consider this before you write a letter.

In no area is the project manager’s responsibility more serious and stressful than the challenge of raising funds. Don’t agonise over your sponsorship letters. Just make them as good as you can, make sure there are no spelling mistakes then get them out!

Letterhead makes a letter look professional and adds legitimacy to your organisation
Clearly define the purpose and aimsof your project
Let the recipient know who you are
Highlight the benefits of sponsoring your project
Make sure you write your contact details
Clearly define stages and a time frame
Think about the possibility of requesting services over money

Sample sponsorship letter

Tel: + 22 000 000 000
Fax: + 22 000 000 001
September 05 2005
Mr. Ali Oruntak
General Manager
Dedeman Grand Hotel, Kishinev

Co-operation Letter

The National Association of Young Managers of Moldova (ANTiM) in collaboration with Canadian Business Incubators and The Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova is organising the “Business Plan Competition for Initiative Young People”. The goal of this contest is to support and promote young people’s initiative towards progressive business ideas and to offer them the possibility for the development and application of these ideas. The competition will proceed in four stages. Each completed stage has thus far been very successful. The stages of the Business Plan Competition are as follows:

1. Participants’ sign-up period (1st Selection): July 1, 2005 – August 15, 2005
2. Training period: August 25 – September 1, 2005
3. Elaboration of the business plans (2nd Selection): September 1 – October 1, 2005
4. The final stage (3rd Selection): October 16, 2005

We would like to invite you to support and encourage today’s young people by helping to sustain this project. As partner in this project, we would like to ask Dedeman Grand Hotel to grant a conference hall for the final stage of the Business Plan Competition which is the Awards Ceremony. ANTiM, on its behalf, would like to offer Dedeman Grand Hotel free advertising through the period of the project’s activity with our media partners in the Business Plan Competition are: Kiss FM, Hit FM, Timpul, Curierul Economic, and Logos Press.

We would like you to consider this offer and ask you that you meet with ANTiM in order to discuss all further issues. To arrange a meeting or for any further information, please do not hesitate to call me on 0123456789.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Aurelia Bragua
President of ANTiM

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