Tanzania joined the global team of fundraisers at the International Fundraising Consultancy in June 2017. The past period has been devoted to learning how other IFC Directors in the different countries manage the daunting task of supporting non-profits so that we utilise these experiences to improve the work in Tanzania.
Talking to John Baguley, the IFC chair, it became clear that the initial step would be training players from both the private and public sectors as a means of cultivating a culture of philanthropy. Tanzania as an emerging economy offers innumerable opportunities for business investments and a vast market for civil society activities. But in order to maximise these sectors the funding factor has to be well streamlined.
As a fundraising expert, this is my role to play. Take the case of the pool of wealthy Tanzanians ranking highest in East Africa, as the case is with Dewji Mohammed the propriety of the multibillion MeTL group. However, these extremely endowed capitalists are not fully supportive of the immense work that non-profits perform. The non-profit institutions tackle needs of marginalised farmers, children in impoverished homes, neglected old persons, unemployed youth, persons with albinism disadvantaged by barbaric cultures and the related problems within the dilapidated health and education sectors. On this basis, giving them support is extremely legitimate. But how do we link the fortunes available within the corporate sector with the unfortunate marginalised community groups served by the non-profits?
This calls for cultivating the right culture of philanthropy in the society. Hence the motivation of the several training programs that IFC Tanzania is rolling out. Much of the past activity has been in North-West Tanzania Region of Kagera where several calamities like the HIV/AID scourge, cross border war, Rwandese refugee influx, earthquakes, draughts have occurred further affecting the generally impoverished rural population. The NGO fraternity in the region is hence formed around these causes and relies heavily on external donor funding to run their interventions. Despite the rising need, several of these organisations have in the recent past closed or down sized their activities due to the uncertainties in the international donor market. The most recent events being the European Brexit and the USA inward focused policies.
Thankfully IFC Tanzania has benefited immensely from the International Fundraising Consultancy network. With the well-developed guiding materials available within the IFC library and other sources like Wikifund, comprehensive training materials have been developed. The workshop participants therefore receive knowledge on subjects like basics of fundraising, strategy setting, techniques of attracting and retaining donors and opportunities for local fundraising. The responses from organisations have been positive. They have included requests for support with the recruitment of fundraising personnel, crafting cases for support and support with establishment of financially sustainable organisational systems.
IFC Tanzania will build on this work by offering university courses, online packages and direct workshops all aimed at producing competent skills useful in approaching fundraising as an art and science. There is no doubt that a gradual change in the traditionalism that has slowed down the non-profits programmes in terms of funding and management will be realised.