The Art of Asking: Young Liberals Learn
Money makes the world go round — and when it comes to politics
that seems to be especially true. At the same time, people involved
in causes of politics and advocacy often find it harder to raise
funds due to public cynicism about politics. Fundraising for liberal
causes is therefore faced with serious challenges all over the
globe, making this an area where international learning can be
most beneficial. For this reason, the Young
Liberals and Democrats of Asia (YLDA)
started 2007 with a
workshop on fundraising with the support of the Friedrich Naumann
Foundation (FNF) in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from January 17-21, 2007.
Twenty-three participants from nine countries attended the workshop
to learn more about the strategies and instruments relevant to
the fundraising of political youth organizations.
The resource persons were drawn from a broad international spectrum,
and they looked at various aspects of the topic: general
principles of fundraising, strategic approaches and instruments,
technical issues of proposal writing and actual
national and international experiences. The governor of the Central
Bank of Sri Lanka, Nivard Cabraal, gave a concise overview of
the topic, while Siegfried Herzog, the resident representative
of the FNF in Manila, looked at key elements of fundraising strategies.
Emil Kirjas from Macedonia, the former president of the International
Federation of Liberal Youth shared his experience in fundraising
for a political network, and Dil Prasad Shresta from Nepal gave
a detailed account of how to write good proposals. In addition,
three of the member organizations of YLDA shared their own innovative
techniques – from organizing dance parties in Nepal to selling
raffle tickets in Hong Kong!
“What emerged clearly was the need to address different
potential sources with specific approaches: tapping a
growing membership base, soliciting funds from supporters
and donors and earning money through commercial activities.
These all require specific skills and approaches,” said
Herzog. “However, what is more important is to clearly communicate
what the money is needed for,” he added. “Many
organizations tend to think that fundraising
needs to come before action; in reality,
it is a clear purpose and a track record of action
that creates the conditions for successful fundraising,”