A recent blog post on 101 Fundraising where Daryl Upsall gave his views on what it takes ’to go global’ in fundraising, got me thinking of fundraising’s market entry into Asia. If indeed INGOs want to head East with a new-market strategy they will do well to know a few ground realities. For INGOs especially headed to Asia, I have highlighted an APT consideration:
Analytical-Benchmarking: anyone who has done any analysis will know the importance of benchmarking. Unfortunately the INGOs already in these markets play their card so close to their chest that there is almost no sharing of information to help each other to do better and collectively grow ‘ the fundraising pie’. A recent example of this is the just concluded IWRM- Asia organized by the Resource Alliance held in India. Invitations to the CEOs/ FR Directors of all major INGOs for an ‘Asia focused INGO Forum’ to share and compare and identify ways to do better at local fundraising, resulted in the session having to be cancelled as most were not keen to engage in this discussion. That being said, I regularly study some of the key markets in Asia to gather and share insights that may be of help to INGOs entering these markets.
Practical-Staffing: Supply of highly skilled local fundraising managers with specific methodology experience is extremely limited despite INGO head-offices willing to pay premium remuneration (by local standards) to attract the right caliber of fundraising strategy leaders. While INGOs lament the lack of skilled local fundraising staff, I do not see concerted efforts to address this challenge. The negative effect of this is that fundraising staff turnover rates are high, with ‘pouching’ of staff by INGOs from local NGOs and by bigger INGOs from smaller INGOs. Thus resulting in the inability to retain quality managers over the long term by any of these entities.
Technical-Methodology: If your main ‘focus’ is face-to-face fundraising (which seems to be the ‘get rich quick’ plan of many INGOs in most Asian countries) you could be at the mercy of a single vendor who may or may not choose to work with you based on how ‘difficult THEY think your cause is’.
INGO users complain of being ‘held at ransom’ by the limited vendors in most of the markets. A serious review of the situation is needed to collectively address the gap in the market and the investments needed to tackle the challenge is not being done.
Your market-entry strategy is likely to be informed by many different factors. I hope the above points illustrate some of the fundamental considerations in this area.