My new qualification in “Fundraising and grants contract management” at the BIOFORCE Development Institute: what is it really about?
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My new qualification in “Fundraising and grants contract management” at the BIOFORCE development Institute: what is it really about?
Over the last 6 months, I have been reflecting on how I would upgrade my skills in order to keep some consistency between my qualifications and the work I do. In my research, I came across 3 online training courses included 2 excutive programs at the Harvard Kennedy School. One is entitled “Negotiation Strategies: Building agreements across boundaries” which costs $3,600 and the other “Nonprofit Financial Stewardship: Concepts and Techniques for Strategic Management” for $2,600.
The third training that I finally chose to attend is entitled “Fundraising and management of funding contracts with donors”, delivered by the Bioforce Development Institute in Lyon (France) for 700 EUR (835 USD) which is spread out over 35 hours.
The Bioforce option suited me much better than the Harvard options for the following reasons: the cost was more reasonable, the content was already clear and relevant to my current professional experience but also it would be a first training experience with the French. I was impatient and very excited to discover something new.
From May 27 to June 25, 2021, I therefore followed with great interest the Bioforce training with a dozen other professionals from different countries and with varied profiles. The training course was divided between individual work (reading and audiovisual material) followed by quizzes, synchronous meetings of explanations and exchanges between learners and trainers and finally a final exam which marks the end of the training.
The content of the training (in summary)
The first training module first lays the groundwork by reviewing the context of funding for humanitarian action. This shows the evolution and the complexity of humanitarian needs (crises, poverty, data by country), the humanitarian response to these needs (amounts, types of funds, origin of funds) and the overall funding framework (aid effectiveness, the Grand Bargain). We also learned the quality of the aid resulting from the Grand Bargain with a focus on Axis 1 (Transparency of aid), Axis 2 (Localization of aid), Axis 10 (Nexus and COVID-19), Axis 7 and Axis 8 (Flexibility of aid) and finally the trends linked to the question of financing, i.e the importance of Consortia, Cash, Digitization and anticipated financing.
The second module presents the stages of financing a project / program, starting from the project cycle (Diagnosis, Planning, Implementation, Monitoring and piloting, Final evaluation) to the Financing cycle (Project designing, Building the financing strategy, Preparing the funding request, Signing and preparing the monitoring of the financing contract, Monitoring the financing contract, Closure of the financing contract).
The next eight (08) modules go into detail on each point of the funding cycle with sometimes complex practical work. In summary:
- The Funding Strategy: This is an important document that allows the NGO to translate its vision, mandate, values and operational strategy into financial terms. Care must be taken to develop it.
- The funding request: its quality significantly conditions the obtaining of financing. It is very important for each situation to know the information and documents necessary for the request, to write the main content of the request and to master the other key factors.
- The funding contract: in addition to the importance of mastering the main points to effectively manage a funding contract, it is just as important to know in depth the key elements that make it up. This is very useful because the signing of a funding contract commits the NGO to implement the project as specified in the initial project proposal, to report to the Technical and Financial Partner (reporting, evaluations) and to respect procedures (audits).
When the funding contract is well monitored, the last point that ends the financing cycle is the closing of the contract and the capitalization. A quality closure must necessarily consider the essential points such as administrative stuff (archiving, letters to the TFP,…), accountability (reporting, evaluations, audit), pain points, partnership, financial modalities. A successful capitalization should make it possible to transform the lessons learned into some shareable knowledge.
Basically, fundraising is a complex process in which the choice of the Technical and Financial Partner is determined through the internal analysis of the NGO (its mandate and project), the external analysis and the strategy and approach of the TFP (know the TFP, its policy and requirements) but it also depends on the financing strategy adopted by the NGO. Understanding this process is still fascinating because it increases the chances of obtaining funding for your project much more easily.