What kicks off your Monday morning?

I always start my week a bit earlier than Monday, on Sunday evening already! Indeed, I like to take time to think about the week ahead and set my priorities. It helps me to have a fresh and focused start on Monday morning. Of course, I leave room for flexibility in my weekly priority setting as in fundraising you definitely cannot plan every single thing ahead.

I like to take time [on Sunday evening] to think about the week ahead and set my priorities.

What inspires you in the NGO and fundraising sector?

Actually, I am inspired by what the non-profit sector stand for as a whole. Broadly set, we all try to make the world a bit better. What I find painful however is the continuous existence of global inequalities. For example, in the garment sector in which I work, consumption has doubled since 2000. Governments in low income production countries compete harshly to get as many garment manufacturers on their land as possible. Garment manufacturers favor places where labor force is affordable and quick. Those interests combined inevitably result in poor labor, social and environmental standards. While in production countries, women workers cannot afford to send their children to school, in consuming countries people buy a new piece of garment without second thought or similar financial constraint. Even though it sometimes feels highly frustrating to see such discrepancies or negative things happening in the world, I want to be a part of the movements tackling them.

What helps you do your job well?

I need to feel the message of my organization in order to bring it across to a funder. Being in touch with the work on the ground helps me greatly in doing so. Indeed, I connect as much as I can with my colleagues and partner organizations.

I need to feel the message of the organization I work for in order to bring it across to a funder. Being in touch with the work on the ground helps me greatly in doing so.

Having a well-defined fundraising plan also helps me enormously as it enables me to stay aligned with our strategy. It helps me stick to what we stand for as an organization and sometimes turn down what the donor community offers.

What trends do you foresee for the future of fundraising?

What I do expect, and see happening already, is the increasing attention to impact from the donor community. Added to this trend, there is a growing body of research that defends the idea that less earmarked funding is key for the effectiveness of non-profit organizations as it enables them to stay close to the core of their work. I notice already when I interact with funders that it is something that they have on their agenda. However, I am hoping that this shift from earmarked to  less-earmarked funding will generalize in the future.

I am hoping that this shift from earmarked to less earmarked funding will generalize in the future.

One last trend I see is the shift of the decision-making power to the South. However, the preference to channel funds through the North still prevails in many cases.

Which organizations inspire you?

Clean Clothes Campaign‘s (CCC) work genuinely inspires me. It is a global alliance of trade unions and NGOs that started in The Netherlands in the 1980s by a group of activists. From there it grew to a global network of more than 200 organizations in garment production and consumer countries. I greatly appreciate its dedication to global solidarity and putting the South in a leading position. . Over the past decade, the power has been shifting from consumer countries (the North) to production countries (the South). I do think that CCC is quite an example of an organization that gives a real say to the South.

What do you find important when starting a relationship with a potential partner?

First of all, I think that it is essential to do your research well, to know who your partner is and what he or she is driven by. Added to this, I do find it important to be real. Do not try to engage in a relationship just because you think it will bring funding resources, while putting your values, vision and passion on the side.

I do find it important to be real. Do not try to engage in a relationship just because you think it will bring funding resources.

I also believe that in a partnership it is worth sharing both your successes and the things that did not go exactly according to plan. Indeed, this is how it works in real life: sometimes things go in accordance to plan, sometimes they don’t.

What do you consider the most important quality of a fundraiser?

I believe that thoroughly researching, carefully listening to what a potential donor is looking for as well as being able to clearly explain what your organization stands for and having a flair to connect your values with donor expectations are skills that are essential to every fundraiser. Once again, I also believe in being real, along with being patient and flexible. Relationships don’t develop over night, but over time and through multiple opportunities.

Aleida van der Wal

Grant Manager & Fundraising Coordinator at Clean Clothes Campaign

About the series

Have you ever wondered whether you had more in common with your peers than just your passion for making a difference? Through informal interviews, we explore the ultimate drives of fundraising professionals, donors and association’s leaders, as well as their secrets for successful Mondays and their insights about the NGO and fundraising sector. Grab a cup and read on!

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