Raising funds for small NGOs: meeting the challenge

By Camaleo

Let’s face it: competition for funds is high, and fundraising has converted into an uphill battle for all non profits. The situation is even more dire for smaller organisations, especially when they are based in the countries where they implement their programmes.

Small organisations and their specificities

The vast majority of charitable organisations in the world are rather small, and most are based in the global South. Much of the good work worldwide is done by these small non-profits.

It is true that for these organisations, fundraising is difficult. But they know the local situation well, and new technologies, internet and social media are now allowing them to reach directly their potential donors.

So how do we raise funds?

Here are some practical tips, which we hope will help you. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information!

1. If you don’t have one yet: create your website!

With free software, it is now easy to design a beautiful, mobile compatible and easy-to-update website. Remember that it should have a simple and clear structure, and don’t forget basics such as contact information and updated information about your fabulous work and its impact!

2. Build strong relationships with your current donors

Happy donors will lead you to more donors. Keep them informed about your work, your successes, and any unforeseen change. And remember… Even if they don’t fund you this time, they might think about you when a new opportunity comes up.

3. Create a contact database and feed it through regular research.

Contacts are key to your success. Ask around: other non-profits, current donors, staff, volunteers, board members… Keep contacts organised and use them for specific communication actions such as e-newsletters, invitations to events, etc. And remember to network even (and especially) when no funding opportunity is open!

4. Communicate about the impact of your work. Focus on individual stories!

Donors don’t want to fund activities, but results! Use (with their permission) the story of one of your beneficiaries, and show how your project positively impacted their life. Storytelling is the best way to create an emotional link with your donors.

5. Launch an e-newsletter… and send it regularly.

E-newsletters are one of the most powerful driving forces behind online donations. Don’t forget that it should include visual elements, personal stories about the impact of your work, and ways to support it.  Be realistic: it takes time to build a beautiful newsletter. You might want to send it out quarterly to start with.

6. Include a donation button on your website

Set up a PayPal account, and add a “Donate Now” button on your website and blog. Remember that it must be highly visible and land directly on a payment page. Thank your donors, and add them to your newsletter.

7. If you don’t have one yet: Create a Facebook page

And maintain it with different types of publications. Ideally you should publish every day to keep your audience engaged. Pictures, stories, videos, data… Vary the content and format, and use the Facebook statistics to learn about your audience!

8. Start a crowd funding campaign.

All you need is a crowd funding website and a few pictures. Limit your appeal to a specific, small, well-described project. Remember to keep your small donors informed about what you do with their money!

9. Look for non-financial support

Volunteering (not necessarily on the field, people are also happy to help from home!), in-kind donations for specific material… are ways to engage people and to get more contacts, which could eventually lead to donations.

10. Include some money for fundraising, marketing, communication or consultancy support in your budgets.

Investing in fundraising is crucial: different studies have shown that in order to collect three Euros (or dollars, or any other currency) you need to invest (on average) one. Don’t forget to include these in your donor budgets!

About the author


Camaleo is a non-profit organisation that offers high quality consultancy services to social entities, regardless of their size and resources.

Social entities, especially the smaller organisations, work very closely with their beneficiaries. Camaleo’s aim is to support them so that they can obtain donors’ trust, progress towards financial sustainability and manage their programmes in the most efficient way possible.

Camaleo was founded by third sector professionals, each with over ten years experience in development, humanitarian aid and social action. After several years of collaborating in the field, and of sharing their experiences, challenges and concerns about the future of the sector, they decided to create Camaleo, a non-profit organisation, to support social entities and projects. Camaleo is a cooperative and social project, open to all professionals whose objective is to increase social organisations’ impact.