Courtesy of AIDS Action Europe
We’ve learned many lessons along the way. For one, in the context of the financial crisis and economic downturn, it’s critical that NGOs have the skills and knowledge to diversify and mobilise sources of funding, which is why we’ve focused efforts in recent years on resource mobilisation training. Looking ahead, fundraising among local governments, foundations and corporations will be more and more relevant, particularly in parts of our region that have historically been sceptical that this kind of programming could work within their societal framework.
Also, the small grants component of ROST proved to be an innovative and appealing way for participating organisations to put into practice the skills they had learned. What we found during the first year of the program was that grant proposals tended to be ambitious relative to both the amount of funding and time available for implementation. We learned that we could be more effective if we shifted the focus away from funding “mini projects” towards funding initiatives that would instigate organisational changes to increase financial capacity.Martine de Schutter, AIDS Action Europe, on the lessons learned along the way
But to me what is perhaps the most interesting lesson learned overall is that something that at first seems like a very specific initiative can lead to so much more. It’s noteworthy how a grant for a rather focused activity – be it a needs assessment, or a seminar, or a clearinghouse – does more than just allow an organisation such as ours to execute that given project . Looking back, it’s clear that while implementing these initiatives, we were gaining recognition in the region and triggering further involvement and influence.
It’s both gratifying and encouraging to know thatwithin a relatively short amount of time we came together as an organisation, formed a robust network, implemented impactful and meaningful programming, and helped affect HIV policy change across the region. I don’t think that’s anything we could have fathomed at the outset, and it would not have been possible without sustained support.