Keeping the Doors Open: Developing Comprehensive Fundraising Strategies in Bolivia

Keeping the Doors Open: Developing Comprehensive Fundraising Strategies in Bolivia

Location:
Cochabamba, Bolivia
GESI Team:
Emily Fung, Kelsey Pukelis, Bria Royal, Connor Smith
Partner:
Foundation for Sustainable Development
Development Sectors:
Women's Empowerment; Education / Youth; Fundraising
Apply to the Program  
Summer 2014

Project Background

As all GESI alumni know, the most important things to keep in mind when working on a community development project are flexibility and the ability to think on your feet. The group that worked at Centro Integral Warmi in Cochabamba, Bolivia experienced quite a test of flexibility. Instead of dealing directly with the working mothers and high-risk youth the center supports, upon arrival they found out their host organization was in the midst of a major and unexpected financial crisis. With only eight weeks to attempt to help solve a problem they had not anticipated, the group went to work right away in developing sustainable, cost-effective, and easy-to-use resources for fundraising. The students worked to keep this community organization open in order to ensure the continued well-being of the women and children who use Warmi’s services. To improve the future financial stability of the organization, Warmi needed to increase engagement with donors. The center was lacking a formal system for collecting donations, so the students constructed a database for storing donor information, created template letters for fundraising requests, and made personalized postcards and calendars for donors. At the beginning of the project, the group concentrated on finding ways to generate funds from outside Bolivia, creating online donation forms, instructional documents, templates in English and Spanish, and even a promotional YouTube video. Through these channels Warmi brought in about $900 in donations in a very short period of time. The group also worked in collaboration with staff to plan storytelling workshops with the children to provide new platforms for expression. By collecting content from the children of Warmi, they were able to create more appealing promotional materials for the center. The end of the project involved training staff to use the new resources, as future success will depend on year-round staff at Warmi continuing the fundaising plan.