In the previous article we discussed what types of grants are available to NGOs. This blog post will cover other types of support that, while not as flexible as cash, may be just as important for NGOs to consider and apply for.
In-kind gifts are non-cash donations of goods and services. Examples include donating items like computers, and providing space for meetings and events. In-kind contributions most commonly come from businesses and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs.
Pro-bono is the phrase used for professionals who voluntarily provide their services free of charge for the public good. Common pro-bono support includes legal counsel, accounting services, graphic design, website hosting, marketing, etc. Individuals may be willing to volunteer their expertise on occasion, or some employers have pro-bono programs built into their CSR programs.
Volunteers are people willing to work for free. Volunteers can perform a variety of tasks from working at events to fundraising to regular office duties. However, dedicated long-term volunteers are very rare, so relying on volunteers too heavily can be a sustainability issue. Unlike pro-bono professionals, volunteers may not be experts and so may require training.
While not as ideal as free support, non-profits can often receive discounts on goods, reduced fees, etc. from eligible purchases. Not all companies advertise the discounts available to NGOs, so make sure you ask around before purchasing. For example, Microsoft offers discounts worldwide for NGOs.
Impact investing is a fairly new concept in the NGO sector, and it is not suitable for all organizations. Impact investing involves providing funds to organizations which result in increased societal benefits as well as financial return. For this reason, most impact investors provide loans to social enterprises, entrepreneurs, and companies positioned to achieve some social good, such as training and employing unskilled workers, helping the environment, or providing a necessary product or service to underprivileged communities. Loans are expected to be paid back with interest, albeit at lower rates and a more flexible schedule. Impact investing is typically not a good option for traditional NGOs.