A Non-Governmental Organization, commonly referred to as NGO, is a non-profit entity independent of the government, voluntary citizens’ group which is organized on a local, national or international level. Many are active in humanitarian or social areas, however, NGOs can also be as lobby groups for corporations. NGOs perform a variety of service and humanitarian functions, bring citizen concerns to governments, advocate and monitor policies and encourage political participation through provision of information.
NGOs are usually funded by donations, but some avoid formal funding altogether and are run primarily by volunteers. Anyone can start an NGO in Kenya, but you need to have a deep passion for the cause, entrepreneurial skills, a business plan, a method of measuring results, and good management skills. According to the NGO Coordination Act, all NGOs in Kenya have to be registered under the NGOs Coordination Board.
Before starting an NGO in Kenya, you need to know if there is a need for it. Creating an achievable goal is critical to an NGO starting process. Do you want to end hunger in Kenya? Are you looking to eradicate poverty or disease? While these causes may seem ideal, you will never solve these problems. In fact, many donors will shy away, knowing that the problem is simply too big for your organization to solve.
Focus on smaller causes in areas that you can impact change even with little help. For example, your goal could be to provide learning material to needy students in your constituency. You can also undertake projects like helping in the eradication of water hyacinth in Lake Victoria, or even saving an endangered species of wild animals. Be careful not to settle on a goal that falls under the responsibilities of the government. Another thing to consider is whether you are starting a non-profit business or a charity.
As a charity, you will be donating funds directly to those who need it. A non-profit business, on the other hand, will have an inventory. The path you choose should also help you determine the partners you will work with. Local knowledge is important, no matter the type of organization you want to create. You will want to engage with the locals and have contacts in the area. Without knowledge of the area you intend to serve, you would not be able to run your non-profit organization successfully.
2. Accessing funds for an NGO
It is a constitutional requirement to disclose the source of funding for your NGO. This means that before you register an NGO, you must have known where you will get your funding. Some of the places you can get funds include:
- Personal savings or income
- Government or organization grants
- Income-generating activities for the organization
- Donors and well-wishers
If you are committed to building your organization, you should have a plan for running it until it becomes sustainable. Dependency can sometimes have a negative impact not only on your organization but also on the people you are trying to help. Running an NGO in Kenya requires funds to reach people who need your help. You will also need to pay your staff if your venture is too big to be carried out by only one person. It is worth noting that the amount of money in an organization’s coffers doesn’t determine its success. You have to minimize monetary requirements and focus on places you can help without needing a lot of money.
3. Marketing an NGO
The following tips will help you bring your NGO in front of potential well-wishers and donors who would like to support your cause.
a. Identify your niche
Determine which category your organization falls into and check out the strategies used by other organizations in a similar field. You should then utilize strategies that work or come up with a better idea.
b. Develop marketing material
Create brochures, voice and video adverts, and ideas for print adverts for your organization. You can outsource great graphic designers to make your marketing material appealing.
c. Develop an internet marketing presence
Get a website and social media pages in the most used social media websites. Ensure to include crucial information such as your cause and the history of your organization. You can include videos showcasing what you’ve done and what you intend to do. Provide an option for donations or partnerships on the platforms.
d. Reach out to organizations that share a similar cause
Find organizations that have supported similar activities in the past and present your organization’s goals to them.
e. Find partners
Find non-profits in a similar field and present proposals for partnerships. You don’t have to be doing the same thing. If your organization is about enabling people in remote areas to get access to clean water, you could partner with an organization that provides food relief to people in similar areas. Not only will you save on logistics, but you will also get more information about the areas you intend to serve.
Make use of platforms such as GoFundMe and Patreon to fundraise for the causes you care about.