ChildFund International has 75 years of experience working with marginalized children and their communities in 31 countries, working in partnership with already existing local organizations, enterprises, and parent committees (a strategy that enables them to make better use of its efforts and resources) to identify key local problems and possible solutions (health, education, micro-enterprises, etc.), all of them family oriented.
As with the cases above, ChildFund has also realized that ensuring transparency in the management of the funds is a key strategy not only to ensure their effective use but also to attract donors’ support, for which they have established an informational hotline for its projects’ supporters. This transparency also helps connect donors to their recipients emotionally, which represents an important factor for the continuation of their support. ChildFund’s case also shows that this transparency, in turn, is reliant on the extent to which the organization is capable to systematize its project (its processes and outputs). This organisation also emphasizes upon the importance of allocating an ample percentage of its income in fundraising work, that is, of investing the required resources to address the financial sustainability’s imperative.
Among the different strategies to secure diversity of funds (and as with the cases above: reduce dependency to one sole source), ChildFund a) establishes win-win partnerships with enterprises – in which enterprises promote themselves by demonstrating to their customers their support for ChildFunds’ projects; b) requests online donations in various modalities including children’s sponsorships; c) searches for grants; d) makes investments at fair value and beneficial interests in trusts; and e) matches donations of enterprises and their employees with community sponsorship programs.
Additionally, ChildFund promotes that enterprises invest in opening local cooperatives where an agreement is made with the participants that they will take care of their families and communities (e.g. bring their children to school) provided that a job is being offered to them and that there is already a buyer for their products (with fair prices). The cooperative’s surpluses are used to reinvest in the cooperative, cover the organization’s operation costs, pay the salaries of the cooperative’s employees, and invest in the community – e.g. on one of the NGO’s initiatives in that same community. With such a model, enterprises benefit with tax deductions (Corporate Social Responsibility) and ensure suppliers. The community, on the other hand, benefits by settling cooperatives that stimulate local production, promoting employment to the families, and reducing migration rates to the cities (as happens with the Tlaloc Barters Group and the Tumin Project). It also benefits from the agreement made with the participants about taking care of their families and communities, and from the investment that is done of the surpluses into initiatives that help improve its overall living conditions.
ChildFund strategies are quite comprehensive and integrative in reach because all funds collected are used to support both the sponsored child (and the different dimensions of its needs such as nutrition, medical attention, clean water, educational books, materials, teachers, etc.) and the whole community (clean water for drinking and health care). This means that all funds are combined and used to benefit all children and their community, and not only the sponsored children.
Other strategies are specifically addressed to avoid creating dependency relations. In concrete, the community sponsorship programs are intended for a specific target: ensure the community’s self-sustainability in an agreed period of time. The money to find the partner enterprise comes from ChildFund’s main office and it is recovered from the money the enterprise provides in the sponsorship budget. ChildFund is an officially registered civil organization and each of its local offices is an officially registered civil organization as well, and not a part of ChildFund’s main office. So the budget goes to increasing the community’s Civil Association’s self-sustainability through capacity building programs (training them on getting funds, managing programs, establishing cooperatives, increasing social participation, etc.). The enterprise and ChildFund make an agreement where the local Civil Association (the community organized) ensures results in a certain period of time (10, 20 years), and if there are not results (periodical evaluations are made) the funding is stopped. In short: the partnership contemplates an Exit Plan for both the enterprise and the ChildFund’s main office with the intention of ensuring a decentralized development program.