Twenty-six Hivos Southern Africa staff recently received training on financial resilience focussing on traditional and new financing models for the organisation. Funding for civil society has been diminishing in recent years, forcing organisations to open up new avenues of funding for their programmes.
Globally, Hivos is in the process of radically changing its business and financing models with a focus on further diversification of revenue, including revenue from sources other than grants.
Against this background, the purpose of the four-day training was to enhance the financial resilience of the Hivos Southern Africa Regional Office in order to strengthen its ability to realise strategic goals.
Ellen Sprenger, founder and executive director of Spring Strategies, took the staff members through their paces, mapping current and future scenarios that will enhance financial sustainability. She used various training tactics including video presentations, personal reflections, Q&A sessions, and group work to elicit contributions and discussions on how to model financial resilience in the regional office.
It emerged during the training workshop that a new way of positioning Hivos in the changing funding landscape is required, for which Ms Sprenger used the analogy of a barbecue.
"We are busy barbequing the meat, but we should be more concerned about the longer term and where our meat will come from in the future. It is about finding the right balance and division of labour. How do we ensure we deliver in terms of programme implementation and meeting contractual obligations and securing a pipeline with more diversification?” said Sprenger.
"It was my first time to attend a financial resilience workshop; I found it very enlightening and eye-opening. We are living in an unpredictable era, so we need various ways to make sure that we sustain ourselves," said Memory Hwengwere, a Projects Officer.
Reginald Mapfumo, Green Society Project Manager (SE4ALL), said that the training helped him to widen his perspective of where potential funding for green society projects could come from.
“Following the training, I now understand that there is a vast world of funding opportunities that we are yet to explore. My biggest take away from the workshop is the need to cultivate long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with potential funders,” said Mapfumo.
According to Sprenger, the key to achieving financial resilience is a strategic map to guide the organisation through the process. Just like a Strategic Plan that ensures an organisation’s activities reflect and meet the mission, a Financial Resilience Plan ensures that resource mobilisation, external communications, strategic finance and internal systems and capacities complement and mirror the organisation’s vision, mission and core values.
A key outcome of the training was that for the Financial Resilience Plan to be effective, it must be strategic and realistic, implemented and updated, tracked regularly (weekly/monthly) and measured against the stated goals and objectives.