When, in 1917 at the Atlanta RI Convention, Arch Klumph proposed to create an endowment fund for Rotary for doing good in the world, he wanted fellow Rotarians to create something that salutes the spirit of Rotary. The Rotary Foundation, as it stands today, is based on his belief in our skills and ability to match up to the best standards of fundraising worldwide.
According to GoI, 3,068 Indian NGOs received a total funding of $3.29 billion during 2014-15 from various donors abroad, 83.3 per cent more than what was received during 2013-14. During last three years, NGOs in India have received a total funding of $7.72 billion, which are used for rural development, child welfare, construction of schools and other humanitarian projects.
This is a valuable resource for our DGs, RRFCs and DRFCs to work on for our Foundation’s fundraising goals. Every DG and RRFC must identify NGOs in their region which have raised such huge amounts and study how they were able to market their programmes across the world. Though a bulk of the contributions worldwide to TRF, which ranges between $190 to 220 million annually, come from Rotarians, there are other donors who contribute to our cause. This list needs to be expanded every year to meet our bigger targets.
Donations to Indian NGOs have come from countries such as US, UK and European nations, North Korea, Malawi, Greece, Swaziland, Bosnia, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan and war-ravaged Yemen.
If the DGs and RRFCs in every country have the statistics of how donors from their place help NGOs elsewhere, they may be able to tap some part of that contribution to TRF in their country. The training programme for those willing to serve TRF should include volunteers and expert Rotarians who can influence big donors. Every country can have a sub-committee of fundraising experts and this should not be restricted to some past RI officers.
To move on to a higher level, we have to change our fundraising methods. The most valuable real estate is the space Rotarians occupy in other people’s hearts. With this, anything is possible.
(PRID Ashok Mahajan is member of TRF’s Fund Development Committee)