International NGOs and U.S.-Based Donors

Goals

Determine if and how small (or grassroots) international non-governmental organizations (iNGOs) look for board members in the U.S. to donate to their organizations, and if graduate students in related fields such as international development or public health have any interest in joining these organizations. The information will be used in the development of a streamlined system that iNGOs and U.S. based donors can use to connect with each other.

Early Findings

  • A list of small international NGOs or international grassroots organizations does not appear to be readily available in the public domain. Sites such as NGO Advisor and WANGO provide a list or directory of NGOs, but unfortunately, small international NGOs could not be readily identified using these sites. NGOs on NGO Advisor, for example, can only be filtered by cause or mission, and NGOs on WANGO can only be filtered by mission, area of focus, or location.
  • Raptim Humanitarian Travel lists the top 100 global NGOs, but it can be expected that these top global NGOs are large international NGOs, not small international NGOs.
  • Whether small international NGOs seek board members in the U.S. to donate to their organizations could not be easily determined, but a source says a significant percentage of NGO funding is accounted for by individual private donors.
  • fundsforNGOs, a social enterprise whose mission is to improve the sustainability of NGOs worldwide, recently published an article about how NGOs can research and identify new donors.
  • According to this article, NGOs should start their donor research process by establishing their overall fund-seeking strategy and following this up with donor mapping.
  • Donor mapping involves the identification of prospects who are great candidates for further profiling, the classification of prospects into high-, medium-, and low-priority prospects, and the identification of prospects that are "low hanging fruits" and prospects that "need immediate attention."
  • The following pieces of information are typically identified for each donor prospect: funding mechanisms, geographical presence, key focus themes, partners or projects funded, and typical budget.
  • fundsforNGOs shares that NGOs typically conduct donor research by looking up prospects, donor agencies, and foundations, researching the sources of funds of similar NGOs, and exploring donor search engines or databases.
  • Candid Learning, a site that provides resources for NGOs, recently published an article about whether international NGOs can raise funds in the U.S. According to this article, international NGOs can do this through fiscal sponsorship, applying for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, or establishing themselves as a "Friends of" organization.
  • It is important for international NGOs to be aware that donors in the U.S. typically want a tax deduction for their donations.

Summary of Early Findings

  • Information specific to whether and how small international NGOs find U.S.-based board members to donate to their organization could not be easily located in the public domain. Available sources mainly talk about how NGOs find and research donors and how international NGOs can raise funds in the U.S.
  • We were unable to research in the allotted time whether graduate students in related fields such as international development or public health have any interest in joining small international NGOs.

Proposed next steps:

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