- The issue
NGO sustainability is one of the top priorities for most if not all NGO and CBO leaders in Uganda today. So many things are changing rapidly at the same time. The politics of the day is suspicious of NGOs agenda and motive. This pressure is not only happening in Uganda, but globally. The donor landscape and priorities are changing amid the refugee crisis in Europe, ever growing China influence on Africa and relations with Russia and the emergence of Africa big men with pseudo democracy. Today, majority of NGO’s funding is more than 70% restricted sources and a mere 30% unrestricted. The latter is generated from property income, local small businesses and training.
To be sustainable, NGOs must deliberately increase their unrestricted income to more than 60% of the total annual revenue and budget.
- The cause
The politicians think NGOs provide services which the population would otherwise get from government or at least expect to get from government. Such expectation is enough for the public to ‘invest’ in the politicians by voting them to power with a hope that the government will soon fix their problems. If NGOs do a good job, they fill up the ‘missing middle’ in which case government may be rendered irrelevant in politics speak. That could mean lost votes. The result are laws and regulations that make resource mobilization, especially from external partners, very difficult.
- The solution
Develop practical local resource mobilization strategies. Get a copy of the typical strategic plan, you notice several gaps especially failure to articulate resource mobilization strategies that are sustainable. There must be deliberate effort to diversify sources of income. A clear strategy for resource mobilization aligned to the strategic plan must be put in place. Emphasis must be put on local resource mobilization. NGOs must identify the areas they are great at and commercialize them.
NGOs forum must deepen advocacy efforts to create awareness of Agenda and key roles played in the social-economic development of Uganda.
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