I came across something which is very interesting and I thought I would share it on my April blog. The piece raises issues around donors, donor funding and the survival of programmes and organisations. It says “Funders love to support programmes but too many do not understand the real costs it takes for non profits to meet their mission. Non profits need to invest continually in everything from infrastructure, skilled personnel, productive space as well as all the supplies, tools, services, equipment and research. And there are basic operating expenses that come every month. It all has to be paid. The true list of what it takes to fund a non-profit’s mission and not just a programme is long”.
And so being a person who has worked in the non profit sector as a Programme Officer, a Director of an organisation and also having served on several boards of non profits in Zimbabwe I thought these are critical questions we need to continue engaging the donor community about. Continuously we evaluate programmes and see that there are glaring gaps in some areas and we always have these attributed to organisations not planning too well or not developing good enough monitoring frameworks. I am sure a handful if not more people who work for non profits will agree that one area which has crippled the work we have been doing over years is just how some donors will not cooperate as much as I feel they should in contributing to sustaining the organisations which need to pay bills, pay members of staff and maintain premises which when put together make up the organisation and its mandate which are needed to carry out the work that comes in form of programmes and projects. I know of several organisations which have so much money for financing programmes but not salaries and not running costs. Increasingly more and more donors do not want to pay salaries and yet they want work done. And with the limited funding in many countries organisations have in many cases not been able to stand up to the donor community to let them know how this at the end of the day hinders the expected success of programmes. And is it not surprising how so much money is always there to evaluate programmes and yet this same money cannot be availed to pay people to work and sustain organisations.
As we go towards 2015 , a time during which we are reflecting how far we have done in meeting the Millennium Development Goals and any other goals we might have set in the past decade or so it would be important to address how issues such as the one I raise have hindered non profits in meeting their desired goals.