Organizational effectiveness/Learning center/Resource mobilization
This is a page about a strategy included in the organizational effectiveness learning center.
Use this page as part of the organizational effectiveness tool.
Resource mobilization is about gaining and using the resources your organization needs to do its work. Resources may include money (donations, grants from institutions, money earned through fees), in-kind resources (for example, office space or materials to do your organization's activities), and pro-bono services (professionals donating their time to your organization for a specific purpose, who would normally charge for that service). It is important to consider your organization's reputation as a key resource your organization can leverage in its work. Those partners investing resources in your organization are also building a relationship with your organization in addition to offering your organization money, in-kind services, or pro-bono services. Volunteers are also a resource since they give your organization time, but they are considered through other strategies.
Recommendations for resources
If your organization wants to get better at resource mobilization, here are some concrete recommendations that may help your organization build capacity in this area. Some of these recommendations may be more or less applicable depending on your organization’s strengths and gaps in this area, and your organization's context. We realize many organizations are already using strategies like these.
In-kind donations and pro-bono services
- Make a list of all the physical resources you need to execute your activities to assess what in-kind contributions would be most useful to your organization. For example audio-visual equipment, meeting space, transportation, or other resources. Share that list with your membership or wider network to get creative ideas for how to secure those in-kind resources, or to make connections through your membership base.
- Identify organizations that can provide non-physical resources such as expertise in an area where you need help or guidance, or pro bono services. For example, businesses in your region (or related to your thematic focus) may have corporate citizenship programs that involve sharing professional skills, and organizations may exist that pair nonprofits with professionals willing to share their skills. In some places, it is common for accounts, lawyers, and other professionals to volunteer pro bono services for a certain number of hours each year.
- Think about organizations, networks or institutions that might support specific projects (either through in-kind or with funding) based on their interests in a specific topic area. For example, a project that involves getting more content on Wikipedia related to female choreographers, might be of interest to the Ms Foundation or other funders devoted to women’s issues, or even to a local dance clinic.
- If you have a Board, ask them to get involved with fundraising or securing in-kind donations from personal or professional networks. For some Boards, raising funding is a condition of service.
Grants and institutional donors
- Make a list of all grantmaking organizations (international and local) that express interest in funding projects or organizations that align with your mission, or that have funded similar projects in the past, including information about how and when to apply for funding and whom to contact. Include a way to note when you have had conversations with certain funders or applied for funding, so that you can track your progress over time.
- Set an goal for how many new funding sources you will pursue each year.
- Clearly define roles for staff and volunteers involved with applying for funds.
- Prioritize making funding requests that are compatible with your organization’s priorities and that you may have success with.
- If you work with a volunteer who is responsible for writing grants for your organization, ask that person to write a short guide so that knowledge and process can be shared with others who can help.
- If you have volunteers who already have skills in grantwriting, organize a training so those volunteers can teach others. This can also be done online, if it is difficult to meet in person.
- Organize a grantwriting challenge or contest among your volunteers to share ideas.
- Track the time it takes to write grant applications and secure in-kind resources, and monitor your progress. Consider how to most efficiently invest your resources in funding prospects that are likely to get results.
- Keep a record of how funds are brought into the organization, including a list of donors. If your organization uses a CRM, track interactions with your donors there. If not, you may consider tracking them in a spreadsheet.
- Track how much funding comes in from each source to establish a baseline that you can use to understand your organization's progress from year to year.
- Track not only how funds come in, but how funds are spent, so that you have a clear idea of which grants are funding which projects. This may be a requirement of some donors, especially for larger grants.
- Seek funder-partners that can offer your organization more than funding, to increase funders' involvement with your organization. For example, many funders offer non-monetary resources and some may be interested in becoming involved with your organization's programs or connecting your organization with other partners.
- Make a list of contact information for people at your donor organizations who can serve as a strong reference for other grant applications. In some grant application processes, a reference is requested.
- Consider opportunities for collaborating with other partners (including other Wikimedia organizations) to apply for funding.
Alternative fundraising models (crowdfunding, earned income, fee-for-service models)
- Consider lessons learned by other organizations that have successfully used crowdfunding or other online fundraising mechanisms to see if those methods can be applied in your organization's context.
- Consider writing or applying for a challenge grant, where a funder will match all money raised through an online campaign.
- Consider whether it makes sense for your organization to earn income through a fee-for-service arrangement (and be sure you are complying with local regulations for nonprofit organizations in your country). Services might include delivering lectures on open knowledge, or other areas of expertise.
- For help with earned income strategies (activities where your organization makes money that it can then use to do its charitable work), or fundraising, contact the administrative or career services offices of local business schools and nonprofit management academic graduate programs. Many masters programs now have “capstone” projects that pair qualified and creative students with organizations for semester-long projects.
Wikimedia organizations with expertise in resources
If your organization has expertise in resource mobilization, please list yourself here and briefly describe your expertise that others wanting to build capacity in this area can contact you:
- Wikimedia UK has a range of experience as regards working with volunteers and welcomes contributions from Wikimedians further afield to our discussions
- Please add your organization’s name here, with a description of your expertise.
Here are some learning patterns related to this strategy. Create your own learning pattern here, if you have learning to share in this area.
Ongoing challenges in the area of resource mobilization
If your organization would like to share an ongoing challenge in this area, that is or is not addressed in these recommendations, please write it down here as a starting point. We can try to build resources in this area or help different Wikimedia Organizations connect to address the challenge together.
- Please add a description of your challenges in this area here.
Please add useful resources you know about, whether created by the Wikimedia movement or in another context.
- [ 10 steps to prepare for making a fundraising plan
- Do you have the right revenue?
- Fundraising self-assessment from the Society for Nonprofit Organizations
- Packard Foundation recommendations around fund development
- Taproot Foundation pairs nonprofit organizations with professionals who provide free advice, training and capacity-building; for a list of countries where Taproot operates, go to
- Check out Grantspace for webinars and other training on fundraising:
- Examples of open-knowledge-friendly grantmaking institutions include Soros Foundation/Open Society Foundations, Omidyar Network, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation
- One online guide for understanding fee-for-service
Create a capacity building plan for resource mobilization
If your organization has decided to prioritize capacity building to improve your ability to resource mobilization, please create a table like the one below. The steps in this table can be part of your organization’s master capacity building plan, as suggested in the User Guide.
If you would like to share your capacity building plan publicly on Meta, you can use this button to create your capacity building plan.