Independent funding should be part of the mission of every organization. Like it or not, fundraising that only relies on external assistance instead of being initiated and driven by the institution itself will not last long, especially if the party is a private party. Unfortunately, there are still many social institutions that only rely on donations from external parties. In other words, the funding of many civil society organizations is still not adaptive to the times.

In connection with this issue, Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Indonesia on Friday (2/4/2021) discussed the theme of economic independence with several speakers, namely Ahmad Rifai from Kota Kita and Sely Martini from the Vision of Integrity. In this discussion, PWYP Indonesia discussed the funding strategy of non-governmental organizations that are effective in this modern era to maintain the organization’s sustainability. Apart from strategy, challenges in funding, especially related to the independence aspect of the organization’s struggle, also did not escape the discussion.

The discussion started with a presentation from Ahmad Rifai, the co-founder of Kota Kita, an institution that facilitates discourse and dissemination of information on urban development since 2010, based in Solo, Central Java. Although it has been around for a long time, this organization only formalized its existence in 2016 by improving its website to reach the general public. According to Rifai, there are at least two things that must be considered in funding independent institutions.

First, the selling value of the institution; Independent organizations must fully understand the uniqueness and how to “sell” the uniqueness itself. For example, Kota Kita always prioritizes urban planning and participation in raising funds. Still, concerning selling the uniqueness of the organization, capable and competitive human resources cannot be ruled out.

Second, independent organizations must invest their total amount of money, energy and think in activities that campaign for the struggle. For example, as an urban planning and planning agency, Kota Kita should try to best package its activities that discuss development inclusiveness, including bicycle lanes for women. In order to reach the broadest possible audience, again, superior human resources are crucial. Thus, Kota Kita will not hesitate to spend more to finance some of its members to study in the UK in the field of urban communications. The main thing is to expand their influence on social media.

The challenge of raising funds arises when it comes to determining a specific strategy. According to Rifai, the steps taken must not lose sight of its principle nature, namely independence instead of business. He gave an example of how Kota Kita sold t-shirts and took the initiative to oversee a project in Banjarmasin to maintain the existence of the organization. By overseeing the project not only shows the commitment of Kota Kita to inclusive development but also benefits project organizers by having a party ensure that the project is not problematic in its target and utilization.

If Rifai focuses on the specific strategy side, Selly Martini from the Vision of Integrity focuses on the legality aspect with her presentation on type 3 self-management in civil society organizations. Referring to the new Presidential Regulation No. 16/2018 concerning Government Procurement of Goods and Services, civil society organizations (CSO) are the implementers of the procurement of services, while local governments function as supervisors. To carry out type 3 self-management, said Selly, the institution must be registered with the Ministry of Law and Human Rights and have a financial balance that has been audited in the last three years.

To partner with the government itself, community organizations must have a cooperation agreement. In this context, according to Rifai, the organization must be able to “sell” itself in such a way and offer specific benefits or benefits to the government before finally being able to make a cooperation agreement.
In connection with the aspect of cooperation with the government, a question arises, “How can a group of people in a community organization, who are social workers and not businessmen, be able to keep the flow of funds that support the institution going?”

The speaker explained that what had to be done for the first time was to show transparency and accountability of the institution. Independent organizations should actively report their track records from previous activities and proactively report the progress of their programs to local governments. It was done to build government trust in the institution and convince them that funding an independent institution and partnering with that institution is not wrong.

Then, independent institutions should contribute to actual and practical solutions to the issues they raise. For example, in realizing inclusive development in Banjarmasin, Kota Kita helps open road access and provides mobility tools for persons with disabilities who find it difficult to leave the house.

Fostering qualified human resources, transparency and accountability are everything in supporting the continuity of an independent organization. Qualified human resources are needed in disseminating and implementing programs, while transparency and accountability, such as a willingness to be audited and a proactive attitude in reporting programs, are needed to build trust between institutions and government as stakeholders. With trust, the government will not hesitate to help fund, which is very important for independent organizations and daily independent fundraising. (EN / AA)