Addressing a challenge

Historically, there has been a lack of fundraising mechanisms and professional fundraisers in Brazil. More recently there has also been a dramatic decrease in public donations. While there are a variety of factors which inhibit the growth of the nonprofit sector and impact the public’s trust of nonprofit organizations, these are not the sole reasons why Brazilian nonprofits face challenges.

All nonprofits across the world depend on public donations and this is no less true in Brazil. In 2015, donations by individuals amounted to the equivalent of 0.23 percent of GDP – whereas the comparable figure for the US is 1.44 percent. In many cases, this is not enough to sustain an entire sector.

According to Amalia Souza, founder of CASA Socio-Environmental Fund, philanthropy is less understood by society in Brazil as a whole.

On the “obstacles” that need to be overcome to help improve the situation, she said: “First, the widespread reluctance to give to NGOs must be overcome. This is partly a matter of public mistrust of the NGO sector and partly that the work and the value of NGOs needs to be more visible.

“Second, legislation is needed to encourage a more active culture of philanthropy. Finally, Brazilian foundations have a part to play. The fact that most of them are mainly operating rather than grantmaking does nothing to promote or develop the capabilities of the NGO sector. In these circumstances, a vicious circle can be created: foundations don’t give to NGOs because they don’t have confidence in them.”

Joining forces to find solutions

Where there are challenges, there are opportunities to be found.

IDIS, The Institute for the Development of Social Investment, worked with CAF America and the United States Consulate General in São Paulo, to host workshops and training sessions for small to medium sized nonprofits in the region.

Funded by the United States Diplomatic Mission to Brazil, the training program ‘Strengthening Nonprofit and Civil Society Organizations in Brazil’ aimed to help nonprofits improve their operational capacity and ability to fundraise through a workshop and online curriculum focused around three core areas:

  1. Strategic planning
  2. Fundraising (both within Brazil and from the US to Brazil)
  3. Formation of and participation in cross-sector partnerships
IDIS and CAF America session

The teams received and reviewed a total number of 70 applications, before the list of participants was finalized. Bringing together 38 participants representing 20 organizations, the workshop in May 2018 was delivered by trainers from both the IDIS and CAF America teams, combining years of specialized knowledge and skills.

The scheme has been successful to date, with 94% of participants citing increased confidence in their ability to share their work with potential donors and to undergo validation by potential funders in the United States.

Always room to learn

One of the key takeaways of the training has been the network that it has helped create amongst the participating nonprofits in the region.

And the process didn’t just end with the workshops – there was a second phase of the project which focused on a series of online virtual trainings, thanks to a partnership with Escola Aberta do Terceiro Setor (Third Sector Open School). The material of the training was developed to fill the most common gaps in knowledge and build on common strengths that emerged during the workshop.

The NGOs met again after the 10-week online training for a follow-up session to share their new experiences. 73% of participants said they had applied some of the tools and methodologies shared during the trainings.

In addition, CAF America is planning to adapt the lessons to be able to conduct more training in different countries in the future.

38 participants

After receiving 70 applications, 38 participants from 20 organisations took part in the workshop

94% feel confident

94% of participants cited increased confidence in sharing their work with potential donors and funders in the United States

73% applying learnings

73% of the participants said they had applied some of the tools and methodologies shared during the trainings.

IDIS, CAF America and the Global Alliance

Based in São Paulo, IDIS provides consultancy and technical support to companies, families and communities who wish to invest in social projects and programs. Founded in 1999, IDIS has supported more than 200 social investors.

CAF America is a global grantmaking organization assisting corporations, foundations, and individuals to make strategic and impactful philanthropic donations worldwide. Since 2005, CAF America has awarded grants amounting to over $2,500,000 to 80 organizations in Brazil. These organizations have addressed issues such as child and youth development, environmental protection, community improvement, education, and public health.

IDIS and CAF America are partners of the CAF Global Alliance, a network of nine locally-led, independent organizations that work across six continents to affect social change impacting the lives of millions of vulnerable and disadvantaged people and communities.

CAF International

By working with with local experts, CAF International has helped make a real difference to communities around the world.

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