A nonprofit leader shares her top tips for successful local fundraising in Kenya.
“Have you heard of Harambee?” Lucy Mathenge asks me.
Lucy works at the Network for Ecofarming in Africa (NECOFA), a nonprofit based in Kenya’s Rift Valley, and I manage the GlobalGiving Field Program.
Harambee, Lucy explains, is how fundraising is done in her Kenyan community. “Friends and family come together to give what they can for someone—things like medical services, or school fees for needy children.”
It’s now easier than ever for Harambee to happen on GlobalGiving through a partnership with M-Changa, a Nairobi-based fundraising platform. The partnership enables mobile giving options in Kenyan Shillings on the GlobalGiving website.
I asked Lucy, the nonprofit leader from NECOFA, to share her best tips for local fundraising in Kenya. Her team raised $2,000, mostly from Kenyan donors, in their first crowdfunding campaign on GlobalGiving.
1. Create opportunities for donors to meet you in person.
“It’s local, so you can invite your friends,” Lucy said of the benefits of local-to-local giving in Kenya. Lucy and her team focus on the power of human-to-human connections to raise funds. They hosted a luncheon at their site in Molo, Kenya, during their first crowdfunding campaign. Their team didn’t stop there! Government officials, family, other nonprofits, and their constituents were invited to the event to hear about their study of community needs. Even those who couldn’t attend could show support via donations sent in their stead. Lucy’s team spoke about their work, helping their support network truly connect to NECOFA’s programs.
2. Build trust through transparency + storytelling.
Like many places in the world, Kenyan donors want to be sure their gifts are going to trustworthy and impactful organizations. The NECOFA team build donor trust through their community-needs studies, and offered donors a detailed proposal of how their donations would be spent. “We always take the donors through how we plan to spend the money,” Lucy said.
3. Harambee helps.
During a Harambee campaign, Kenyans are more likely to give, financially or in other ways. But Harambee doesn’t always extend to nonprofit fundraising. “Many people see nonprofits as rich and that they should be the ones giving to the community,” Lucy said. How does she combat this? By giving her local donors clear descriptions of where their funds are going and showing them the benefit it brings to their community.
4. Make local fundraising a priority.
Lucy told me local fundraising makes NECOFA stronger. The key? Show local supporters how their gifts, no matter how small, can impact the lives of their neighbors. And to remember that “local giving can go beyond financial,” in the form of supplies, services, and time. “Friends want to support, even in a small way,” Lucy said.
Local fundraising follows a similar formula as international fundraising—you want to build relationships, trust, and long-term connections. In Kenya, there are some extra ways you can garner support!
Think about creating Harambee events in your local community to raise funds, or bring friends, family, and officials together for an activity. And when you do this, try using GlobalGiving’s new partnership with M-Changa to expand your supporters mobile giving options.
Featured Photo: Help Educate 330 School Orphans in Kenya by Network for Ecofarming in Africa