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Fundraising in India


Fundraising in India

Exploring the relationship between funding sources and programmes in India: how easy/hard is it to get foreign investment? How have programmes succeeded in attracting funders?

Suheil Tandon, founder/director of Pro Sport Development offers his experience in this short interview.

What advice do you have for a sport for development organisation regarding fundraising?

The first thing is to be patient – the longer you work in the field, the more your work will be recognised and the greater the chances of funding. Also, this field, in my opinion, is going to boom in India soon.

Also, I would encourage organisations and individuals to be innovative in their fundraising, and seek non-traditional routes. Crowdfunding is one example, and with India’s vast population as well as its growing middle class, it can be an effective tool.

The need to document current programmes creatively and visually, as well as being active on digital media, I believe can enhance chances of potential donors willing to partner, as they too are seeking visibility through sport and development programmes.

Lastly, a strong M&E model is important for donors. But, this is challenging for sport and development, as systems for M&E are still being tested and developed. Additionally, sound M&E programmes need expertise and hence finances. So it’s a bit of a chicken and egg problem.

Some organisations have been successful at sourcing foreign funding. Is this a good idea and is it necessary to be effective in India?

I believe it’s a very good idea. Foreign organisations and donors understand the role that sport can play in the development agenda, and are willing to fund projects that Indian organisations would find hard to fund domestically.

Moreover, along with foreign funds, Indian organisations are able to learn a lot from how sport and development programmes work abroad, what has worked previously and the best methods to implement programmes. There is a clear opportunity for knowledge transfer, as the experience of running sport and development programmes abroad far exceeds the current level of experience in India.

But, I would like to add here that it is quite tough to access foreign funding, due to India’s FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act), which prohibits NGOs younger than three years to receive foreign funding. Also, with the current scrutiny of foreign funds by the government, applying for and receiving FCRA certificates has become cumbersome, sometimes taking 8-10 months.

Can you describe one challenge and one success about PSD and finances?

The major challenge has been to convince corporations to fund programmes as part of their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), where companies above a certain threshold are mandated to invest in social initiatives. Most corporations we have approached investors in traditional development areas such as education, health, livelihoods and community development. Though sport fits into most categories, we have found it hard to convince them of the same.

The major success has been to partner with existing organisations around India, who work with youth and/or sport, and add value and provide impact to their existing youth and/or sport programmes. In effect, they become the donors, investing in their own beneficiaries and programmes, and we become the implementing partners.

We have also had some success with online crowdfunding with regards to some programmes, but this is such a new field in India, and we are still trying to wrap our heads it.

Visit the Pro Sport and Development website

This article is part two of four in a series about India's sport and development landscape.


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Tuesday, October 11, 2016 - 16:44

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