We Effect, previously known as the Swedish Cooperative Centre and established in 1958, is a development cooperation organisation applying a long-term, rights-based approach in order to effect change. Active in 25 countries on four continents, its guiding principle is support to self-help initiatives. Focus areas include rural development, housing, gender equality and access to land.
Subsidy funding for the international and national non-government sector is drastically decreasing. Furthermore, subsidy funding is now only granted based on convincing proposals, and no longer automatically on previous funding collaborations. We Effect has therefore been confronted with increasingly stiff competition in the funding sector. To face these challenges, We Effect needed to increase its effectiveness with improved writing skills, and by triggering thinking and awareness on various ways of mobilising resources.
We started by mapping various resource mobilisation possibilities and linking them with existing experiences in country and regional offices. We focused on analysing lessons learned and how they could be incorporated in future actions. To be able to demonstrate to funders what We Effect stands for and what added value the organisation can bring we mapped We Effect achievements and formulated them into key-messages. These can be used in communications with external stakeholders and in proposal writing.
For a proposal to be successful, writers need to understand and reflect donor demands in the proposal contents, matching requirements with their organisation’s own objectives and strategies. A proposal needs to be well-structured and with a logical progression. Participants learned how to apply attractive writing styles, and worked on their own current cases, preparing proposals for actual submission to funders. Skills relevant for fundraising, such as partner mobilisation, networking and effective communication skills, were also practised.
Participants for the tailored training came from two regional and several country offices - Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Malawi and Mozambique, providing a unique opportunity for staff to work together as a team and reflect on their organisation’s key achievements. Together we developed a set of key-messages on what We Effect has achieved and identified its added-value in change processes. Both aspects are essential elements of any successful proposal.
MDF Training & Consultancy had two experts to train and facilitate the one-week learning event for 18 staff members. After the training we provided online follow-up feedback on proposal developed during and after the course.
The training resulted in the following:
- We Effect staff is aware of various ways to mobilise resources and can use lessons learned from their resource mobilisation experiences. Staff members know whom to ask for advice internally for specific expertise;
- Participants developed 4-6 key key-messages about We Effect achievements and added value;
- The participants worked on seven actual proposals to be submitted to funders during the course, four of which received online follow-up feedback from trainers;
- Staff still use the proposal writing methodology and tools from the training;
- Participants shared their learnings with key stakeholders, at least one internal follow up training was implemented after the MDF training.