Fundraising – Looking back, and the road ahead

December 14, 2021
Category: People Profile

By Nandini Sethi, Fundraising Lead @JWB

Editor’s note: Calling all volunteers! If you would like to help us with donations, corporate sponsorships, hosting events for your networks, or volunteering on the fundraising team, please reach out to Nandini at JWB was built on the strength of our supporters and we look forward to joining hands with you in 2022 to increase access to justice for victims of labour exploitation and human trafficking. 

Our Fundraising Lead, Nandini Sethi, organized our annual online fundraising trivia competition together with our dream team of staff, volunteers and partners on 17 November. She took time to share her journey into leading fundraising initiatives for not-for-profits below.

I spent several years in the education non-profit sector before I transitioned to my current role at JWB. I would often think through the Head, Heart, Hand Model for Learning. While I continue to believe that it is an effective learning tool, I think the same model can be applied to our approach to fundraising. The Head relates to critical reflection, effective matching of funds to organisational needs, and reporting. The Hand relates to our engagement with our donors, the pro bono hours that they extend and the events that we plan for them. The Heart relates to the relationships we share with them. These relationships are not driven by transactions, but by shared values, a sense of empathy and a responsibility to help those who have chosen to take care of us and our families, often at a cost to their own back home. 

At the end of the year, I am excited to share our reflections from 2021 and our plans for 2022 as we apply our head, heart and hand to raise essential funds for victims of labour exploitation and human trafficking. 

1. COVID-19 accelerated the need for our services.

With borders opening, we anticipate an influx of cases as more migrant workers make their way back home. We need more frontline stakeholders with the knowledge and know-how to take on this increased need so that nobody falls through the cracks. This means ensuring all our programmes are fully funded by the end of the year and that we have a good start on next year as well. We reached out to our existing network of supporters and asked for their help through grants, corporate donations, individual donations and sponsorships. As we close the year having met our goals, I feel a deep sense of gratitude for our supporters because we truly could not have done this without them.

In 2022, we hope to partner with a diverse mix of organisations, and not just law firms, to enable more organisations and households to extend their support to migrant domestic workers seeking to access justice.

2. Key to outcomes with impact is having the right talent in the right roles.

This year JWB brought on their first full-time Fundraising Lead (and I am so happy to be here!) and expanded the country teams. Nearly 70% of our annual budget is in our people. While this may seem high to some, it is a standard ratio for NGOs that are service-focused like ours, and particularly for legal-focused NGOs.

In 2022, we hope to expand the fundraising team by bringing on volunteers and building internal capacity to meet the need for accelerated work and building efficiency in outcomes. 

3. Our annual fundraiser, Happy Hour on a Mission 2021, welcomed over 100 supporters to our online trivia quiz.

We were overjoyed with everyone’s enthusiasm and humbled by their generosity. It showed us that social distancing may have limited our ability to meet in large groups, but that the strength of our community is limitless.

In 2022, we hope to do more events that can bring our community together. We would like to partner with our supporters to host events for their personal and professional networks. We had one such event with one of our corporate supporters this year and hope to partner with more next year!

4. We value the relationships we share with our supporters.

As we work to strengthen our relationships and avenues of support, feedback is critical in our reflection and planning process. We reached out to some of our supporters and it was so insightful to hear from them. We learnt a lot about how they view their partnership with us and ways to meaningfully engage in the future. 

In 2022, we hope to incorporate some of this feedback and build a deeper understanding of leveraging our community’s power in support of greater impact for our mission.