Picture : shows Reizegat Nomadic Tribe of Sudan afforded water access to their animals in NBG State of South Sudan
Why NGOs Field Work Success Stories Matter
New York City, September 21, 2013 – In the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) field work (where Non-for-Profit sector organizations implement their activities), managers and leaders emphasize documentation, concise written narratives and pictorial evidences of success factors of the implemented projects or activities. “This is how people know about what we do,” they say to their employees. Field work success stories are of high demand for marketing, soliciting more funds and for realization of visions and missions of NGOs in their home offices in the donor countries. It is how NGOs account for what they solicited to their funders.
Unlike Government driven agencies such as USAID, UKAID, World Bank and UN, most NGOs are under constant pressure from multiple donors to give an evidence of how funds solicited was spent. Even though the Government driven agencies still need success stories to be told, most likely than not, their field programs are driven by country’s foreign policies. Whether the success stories tell the truth or not, g may government foreign policies driven aid will still be given since a government enjoys good relationship with the recipient country.
On the contrary, NGOs driven philanthropies have so many pressures. They accept donations from governments, big corporations and conglomerates, universities, other NGOs and from individual persons. This is a very risky business with so many to be accountable to. Moreover, there are so many other organizations competing with each other for the same funding to apply their distinctive visions and missions around the globe. Failure of one or more from securing donations is an added advantage for the other to realize its vision and missions. Basically NGOs are in a virtuous war of visions and missions with each other.
To the detriment of the NGOs, field officers tend to resign to the fact that the projects are implemented, the recipients are satisfied, monitoring and evaluations are completed, funds for projects implementation are accounted for and final reports are in. Occasionally, they fail to envision the demand of those who gave their money and implications of not writing field success stories to the organization and service recipients.
At other times, people working in the field feel like not saying too many good things about services they rendered or success achieved. Bragging about such stories would give an impression to donors that the problem has been solved and probably refrain from giving more support to the NGOs. This kind of mentality serves to detract and will only do disservice to the intended recipients and the organization.
Telling NGO field success stories persuades donors and convinces them to continue funding the organization. In that regard, they (funders) are assured that their donations of $1 and whatever amounts matter. Success stories, especially in pamphlets, brochures, magazines, newspapers, short videos, accompanied by pictures and statistics become the authentic evidence that lures the funding from all these multifold donors to support some organizations over the others.
NGOs leaders in the United States for instance, organize special dinners and lunches, meetings, and conference phone calls for donors. In such encounters NGOs representatives tell their financial supporters about the trajectory of their philanthropic work in the light of vision and mission and how the funding support had been used. They (NGO leaders) attend conferences, seminars and workshops where donors and other competing organizations are gathered in order to put in the picture their success stories and to push their case for continued support or partnership forward in the forums. Some organizations like BRAC and Grameen Bank amongst other examples have written books about their success stories and have created a pool of support and admiration for their kind of work. Their success stories are told and recorded that donors do not have to ask many questions about they do because it is write there available
Additionally, nowadays most organizations use the World Wide Web and social media to publicize their success stories to attract more funding to where they work. Once these success stories are out there, the NGOs get marketed to a wider audience and needs of their recipients are explicitly known in depth. Imagine your NGO had no success stories to tell or publicized, what would you tell those who funded your projects?
These days’ donations can’t consistently be solicited simply. A genuine case for donation cannot be made to support certain causes anywhere in the world without real success stories told to complement the advocacy of the NGO leaders in the donor countries. The more there are of them, NGOs are marketed, donations trickled in, services are rendered to the places of need and the visions and missions NGOs are worked towards or achieved. Most importantly the funders are satisfied and assured that their money is going to good use.