I have just completed the second training weekend with GlobalGiving for the Evaluation Programme. This summer I will be travelling to Uganda to visit small charities that are partnered with GlobalGiving to provide an evaluation of their organisation and offer in-person practical support. Myself and the other volunteers receive 5 days of extensive training in preparation and I can quite easily say that after our second training weekend I have come away feeling as though i learnt so much. So much so that I do not know where to begin with this blog post.
Let me start at the beginning. One task that stood out to me the most from the training weekend was when we were asked to ‘draw the ideal nonprofit’ and label key features of what makes a great NGO. Now I’ll be honest, this is something that would have struck me with fear and panic before. Having little practical experience in the charity sector, combined with an awful memory, at the most I would have been able to think of 4-5 points max. But not today…
As we will be representing GlobalGiving and must do so in a professional and compassionate manner, part of the training covers soft skills. When visiting GlobalGiving parter organisations we will most likely be mainly interacting with the CEOs as well as staff, volunteers and beneficiaries. For this reason, we discussed empathy and how important it is to view yourself in someone else’s shoes. I think this is important not only for conducting an evaluation on someone’s organisation, but also for personal situations. It is inevitable that in life I will face conflicts and encounter people that I cannot relate to (although I do often run and hide at the first sight of a disagreement) and the short exercise that we did in the training really helped me to reflect on what is important in those situations and what is not.
When visiting charities in Uganda, we will not only be evaluating an organisation we will be providing practical support. One of the areas we will be offering in-person support on are the GlobalGiving systems. As GlobalGiving is a digital platform, a lot of the interactions are done online, this means that the visits we will be doing are so important to build the offline relationship and fill any gaps in knowledge.
In the training we looked in-depth at the GlobalGiving online systems and how project leaders can make the most effective use of them to raise more funds. We covered everything from how a project leader can add a new project, amend their details and measure their effectiveness through GlobalGiving Rewards. I was also reminded of the awesomeness that if charities do not have a website that is mobile optimised they can direct donors to their GlobalGiving page which will automatically be mobile friendly! With so many people using mobile phones and tablets to browse online this is such a great benefit I had not thought of before!
There are more and more people giving online and donating on phones. This can change how people give if the charity’s website is set up effectively. In the training we covered the donor market in 2017. This is something that is constantly evolving and shifting. It is currently seen that there is a lack of trust in the charity sector. This is due to many reasons, but one way to combat this is for charities to be completely transparent. One of the great things about platforms like GlobalGiving is that it enables people to give with confidence online and know where their money is going.
To help rebuild trust in the charity sector it is important that charities do not only communicate with people when there is a fundraising ask, but if you are- you should donate! It may sound silly, but if you are a charity or an individual trying to fundraise or crowdfund for a cause you are passionate about, don’t let the campaign launch on £0. If it is a cause you truly believe your friends and relatives should contribute towards, why shouldn’t you donate some of your own money to kick it off?
This is just a tiny portion of what was covered and discussed in the GlobalGiving Evaluation training. I also learnt a lot about network mapping, traditional fundraising, finance jargon busters, charity administration costs, crowdfunding and more! There was even a section on digital communications- partly presented by MOI!
I began my journey as a volunteer on the GlobalGiving Field Evaluation Programme as the coordinator of the programme. When I started in the office in September one of my main tasks was helping review and provide feedback on audit reports written by the volunteers who were then out in the field. Just from reading the audit reports I gained a sense of what challenges organisations face and what areas are seen as a strength.
When we were tasked to draw an ideal NGO on the first day of the training, instead of panicking and trying to sneakily look at someone else’s drawing (!), I was able to successfully list a number of features that make an NGO great! This is something that I would not have been able to do as well before and proved to myself how much I was able to learn from reading the audit reports and being at GlobalGiving.
I can only imagine how much more I will be able to learn from the rest of the training days and of course getting to write an audit report myself!