Responding to the Global Marketplace
In talking about international non-governmental organisations, it’s tempting to treat them as a homogenous group. But they differ widely due to their governance structures: headquarters/branch operations, federations, loose networks and various confederations. Therefore, their approaches to global fundraising management can be quite different. So spotting trends among them can be difficult, but let’s see what’s on the INGO agenda.
Some highs and some lows
Starting with the positive: We’re seeing the smart INGOs surge forward in terms of their organisational readiness to maximise fundraising, particularly through a coordinated approach between the national and international teams. Nurturing fundraising growth across a portfolio of countries at different stages of fundraising maturity is a difficult task. It takes a truly stellar fundraising team at the centre that understands strategic planning in a global arena.
Where such teams are in place, they are doing away with the one-size-fits-all approach to creating an international fundraising strategy — an approach that often led to many meetings, much discussion and a shiny strategic report that continued to shine on its shelf until the dust settled on it.
It’s a tough call to devise a strategy that can energise both your U.S. and Austrian offices in a new push for fundraising excellence. So instead of trying to force a compromise strategy across diverse markets, some smart international fundraisers are putting creative thought into achieving organisational buy-in to a set of core objectives that enable each office to find its goals beyond a simple financial target.
We call such an approach an “International Strategic Fundraising Framework,” which means each national office signs up to a core set of strategic objectives but takes responsibility for implementing them appropriately to its own market conditions. It binds the organisation in a common set of targets and “norms” (e.g., national office income retention, ROI fundraising standards) guiding each office rather than straitjacketing them. In respecting the roles and accountability of the national and international fundraising staff, this approach ensures that the planning and fundraising implementation are done in the right place to be effective.
Related story: International Strategy in Action