Knowledge and Insights from Youth: Open Space (October 2023)

Published by AYF Secretariat on

On October 29th, 2023, AYF hosted its seventh Youth: Open Space and presented our two networks that shared their experiences regarding fundraising for activism. They are Kieran Li Nair from Malaysia and Vu Duc Huy from Vietnam. Both of our networks have come from different backgrounds, Kieran Li Nair has a background as a Finance Researcher and Climate Advocate, and Vu Duc Huy is the founder of Your Unique Understanding.


Navigating the Principles and Challenges of Nonprofit Fundraising

By Kieran Li Nair, Malaysia

Kieran shared insights from the Malaysian Youth Delegation’s (MYD) fundraising journey, emphasizing the importance of clear strategies and transparency. The organization has a clear budget breakdown, ensuring donors know exactly where their contributions are going. Accountability is key, and MYD provides deliverables and incentives for funders, such as on-the-ground reporting and post-event reports.

Crowdfunding is the main fundraising method, supported by an extensive network of partners and collaborators. MYD leverages social media, word of mouth, and direct outreach through cold emailing and networking events to expand their reach. Kieran emphasized the importance of adapting communication to make their cause accessible, especially when dealing with complex topics like climate policy.

Challenges also come in the form of corporate expectations. Many businesses seek something in return for their contributions, which necessitates caution to avoid compromising their mission. MYD has learned that corporations often prefer project-based funding, allowing them to tailor their efforts to corporate missions and demonstrate a tangible impact.

Kieran's presentation offered valuable insights into the world of fundraising for youth-led climate organizations. It's a challenging, time-consuming endeavor, but it's a crucial aspect of their work. Fundraising serves as a reminder that more people care about these causes than one might realize. 


Finding Resources to Strengthen Your Community Organization

By Vu Duc Huy, Vietnam

Youth-led organizations are making a significant impact across the globe, addressing diverse issues and bringing about positive change. One such organization, Your Unique Understanding (YUU), is a non-profit dedicated to supporting indigenous communities in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. YUU's work spans education, career development, and cultural preservation. However, these initiatives require funding, and YUU has successfully navigated various fundraising approaches.

Huy, a representative of YUU, shared their experiences and valuable insights into fundraising. Here's a breakdown of their strategies:

  • Building Credibility: For youth organizations, establishing credibility is essential. When approaching potential sponsors, it's crucial to make them trust in your cause and organization. Demonstrating that you stand out among other youth projects is key to securing funding.
  • Diverse Fundraising Channels: YUU divides its fundraising into five areas: partnerships, sponsorships, grant applications, crowdfunding, and alumni connections. Each of these channels requires a different approach, but they can all contribute to the financial sustainability of the organization.
    •  Partnerships: Collaboration with local enterprises is often a win-win situation. YUU           partners with local businesses to help them with marketing, data collection, and more. It's not just about receiving support but also offering something in return, making the relationship more sustainable.
    • Sponsorships: Sponsorships can be an unequal relationship, but they often work when sponsors believe in the value your organization brings to the community. YUU emphasizes that sponsorships aren't limited to financial support; they can also include tangible goods or services.
    • Grant Applications: YUU recommends grant applications for working with non-profit organizations. It's crucial to understand what they want and how your project aligns with their goals.
    • Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding is an effective way to start funding your projects. YUU has run successful crowdfunding campaigns multiple times. It not only raises funds but also builds a sense of community and teamwork among volunteers.
    • Alumni Connections: Organizations that have been active for a few years often have a significant number of alumni. These connections can be valuable for networking, mentorship, and even fundraising. Maintaining strong relations with alumni is key to the organization's sustainability.

Fundraising for youth organizations requires a deep understanding of the organization's strengths, goals, and resources. Each channel has its unique advantages, and the choice of approach depends on the organization's priorities and objectives.YUU's experiences demonstrate that with determination, creativity, and a clear vision, youth organizations can successfully secure the funding needed to drive positive change and make a lasting impact in their communities.

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