by Timea Gedeon, Hungarian Association of NGOs for Development and Humanitarian Aid (HAND)

The Hungarian Platform had suffered a financial crisis in the past years and just got back on its feet again in 2018. The crisis also negatively affected our membership engagement. Limitation of certain capacities stop members from actively participating in our work.  Added to this, the unfavorable local context of CSOs where government sources reach mainly loyal NGOs and the government deliberately discredits non-loyal NGOs creates obstacles as well in involvement. This situation showed us we need not only advocacy and organizational but fundraising strategy too. With the support of Forus the Hungarian Platform developed a fundraising strategy and many ideas came out such as a Fundraising Pitch Contest! 

Fundraising strategy from Hungary 

The subjects of the meetings and the main findings:  
  • the goal is renewal of HAND, making it sustainable;
  • cooperating with member organizations and find new members;
  • gather former ideas we have had / what was good;
  • exploring new funding opportunities (fund, grant);
  • assessing relationships (members, resources, partners).

Success criteria of the fundraising process:  
  • develop a plan and realize its first year;
  • generate any amount of revenue (more than 300 EUR).

Once the trainer assessed the situation, he suggested a fundraising workshop-day to invite all the members with their best fundraising ideas. All the participants had an opportunity to perform a fundraising idea (as a pitch) and to evaluate the other ideas (based on complex criteria). Finally the expert counted all the points and the few rated the highest were discussed again. The best ideas:  

  • write sponsored columns in a newspaper (experts writes articles for free to a newspaper and the newspaper gives donation to the platform);
  • Sell team building trainings;
  • Sell “SDG adoption” for companies;
  • Start a blog page;
  • Fundraising Pitch Contest. 

After all we decided to mix the “team building trainings” and the “SDG adaptation” to companies. Further we developed a strategy that includes 2-types of funding level we can offer:  

  1. ACTIVE funder: we give a team building based on sustainability subjects and we receive a fee. 
  2. PASSIVE funder: the company adopts one of the SDGs and gives us donation. We gave advices on sustainability and advertisement.  

The experience of the trainer gave us totally new ideas on fundraising and we could find a democratic way to choose the best one. Nowadays we can tell: in 6 months we participated on 3 potential donor-conferences, and we had a successful meeting with DECATHLON Hungary (the largest sporting goods retailer in the world). They are interested in our activity (sustainability training for their employees) in the light of their SDG implementation.  

General findings of the fundraising planning involving HAND members 

Programs involving corporations are more popular among HAND members. The advantage of this is that in case of successful corporate cooperation the role of HAND can be strengthened also in the eye of the MFA. 

The most realistic and popular idea proved to be offering trainings on sustainability to corporations because: 
  • Trainings could involve several member organizations;
  • The donation may also be justified from a corporate perspective since a non-governmental organization gives the training for a good cause;
  • The trainings could engage individuals also.

Difficulties that need to be addressed: 
  • Compilation of the content of the trainings;
  • Collect appropriate "trainers" (10-15 would be good for a sufficient pool);
  • Reaching out to potential companies + Sales workflow;
  • Member organizations should not circumvent HAND and go directly to companies.

Motivation of member organizations to participate: 
  • possibility to exhibit their own content, programs, messages;
  • improving their own know-how on fundraising and on their own subject matter through developing and delivering trainings;
  • receive a commission of the income.

Name of the final fundraising program: SDG adoption

A. The launch: SDG Anniversary: ​​25.08.2018. 

B. Goal: to sensitize companies and their employees by focusing on 1-1 sustainability topics.

C. Format: sponsorship package (can be multi-level or call for individual donation by staff): 

  • 1-2 hour sensitization presentation for the company on the SDG (for executives or employees);
  • logo / badge that can be used by the company to communicate in a given year;
  • description, background material on SDGs in general, and specific SDGs and subsections - from which the company can create internal communication materials.

D. Topics: all SDGs can be adopted (prioritize).

E. NGOs that should be contacted: 

F. Required resources: 

  • collect at least 5 companies worth looking for per SDG (not just large companies);
  • sales plan compilation (who presents what and how to contact companies (eg. via email, exhibition, conference, personal contacts, search for media partnerships); 
  • dedicated website, flyer, presentation;
  • compilation of sponsorship packages (graphics, content, production);
  • campaign (social + PR).

G. Revenue opportunities: adoption packages average price around 400.000 HUF 

  • of which cost (printing, personalized badge, video production): about 150.000 HUF;
  • 250-300.000 HUF for HAND;
  • After 8-9 training sessions, the investment comes back + we achieve the 1.000.000 HUF expected result.