AMAIDI Volunteering in India

Portal for international volunteers, interns & professionals

"Where do I find new sponsors?"

  • Spread the word – Let people know about your organization and your goals.
  • Talk to your elected officials – MPs, councilors and others . Write letters to explain your group, and invite them to come see the area you are concerned with.
  • Get letters of support. A letter of support from a politician will put your sponsor’s mind at ease when it is time to hand over the money.
  • Establish relationships with other groups that can help you, depending on the activity you are planning. If you are planting trees or naturalizing a municipal park, maybe the local gardeners club or a scouts group can help.
  • Find out about awards, and get yourself nominated for anything relevant. A few plaques will make your group look competent and well-established!
  • Release press statements to the local newspaper. If you don’t have anything newsworthy to tell them, invent some news – arrange a tour of your site or give a talk to your local high school (and don’t forget to invite your elected officials to these too).
  • Find other ways to get your information spread around. Most local radio, TV or cable stations have time slots set aside for community events, and are looking for ways to fill them.
  • Create a binder with press clippings and a video with interviews that will make you look active and credible.

Preparing the home front

  • Appoint a contact person and have a clear a mailing address. Having a group spokesperson who can answer questions and provide more information will help in media relations
  • Establish an executive or advisory board – appoint a chair, a treasurer, and a secretary, and have the secretary keep notes of meetings.
  • Look at your group members and put together a list of skills – sponsorship is complemented by the time, skills, and expertise of the volunteers. This will help explain to a potential sponsor what value-added services you bring to the table.
  • Set-up a web presence – this will help provide information that you cannot transmit orally or through PR materials

Do your homework

  • Carefully look at who you’re approaching, research your target sponsor to find the right fit
  • Look at the sponsor’s previous philanthropic activities and its programmes/projects, and align your request around them
  • Put a case-for-support paper together, something that shows where there is a role for the sponsor to play
  • Remember volunteer initiatives run on persistence, enthusiasm, and community spirit. Sponsors run on numbers. Sponsors want to see a measurable benefit, and are ultimately accountable themselves.

Moving forward

  • Look for ways to establish a stronger, more permanent presence in your community.
  • Explore procedures to become a registered nonprofit group.
  • Decide to register your own domain name on the internet. Much like a mailing address, a permanent domain name lends a certain credibility to your venture.
  • Develop brochures, posters, and interpretive books as an effective way to raise community awareness.
  • Seek support for information and ideas with NGO networks and coalitions – nationally and internationally

(Courtesy http://www.gdrc.org/ngo/funding/finding-sponsors.html)

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Filed under: charity, finance, fundraising, social networking, , , ,

AMAIDI Child Care Center

Children in the AMAIDI Child Care Center

Care taker with a number of children from the Cuddalore slums

The slums in Cuddalore O.T. : some 1000 families live under deplorable circumstances with open gutters, giving rise to various intestinal diseases, a high unemployment rate, omnipresent alcohol misuse and a high crime rate and domestic violence that go with it. Children – especially the younger ones – and women are the victims: malnutrition, school drop out-ism and lack of awareness in the field of education, hygiene, legal rights and work opportunities.

AMAIDI Foundation, the offshoot of AMAIDI Volunteering in India, wanted to do something about this. Being near to Cuddalore and knowing the local situation very well, AMAIDI Foundation started in May 2009 using the unused ground floor of a community building in Cuddalore O.T., at the backside of St. Philomena School (for girls) at Pensioner Line’s Street. The first floor is in use as accommodation for volunteers (especially in January when teacher trainees flock Old Town for a traineeship in St. Davids Matriculation School nearby).

Lisanne, the first volunteer to work with the starters’ group of 15 children and a warden, was so touched by the work, that she decided to give the AMAIDI Child Care Center, as it was being called, a colourful face-lift. With merry colours and picto’s on the wall, inside as well as outside, and a lot of games and toys plus some tables and chairs, she transformed the center into a safe haven and heaven for the children and their care taker. With only one toilet for all the children and staff, the need to build an additional sanitary facility was badly felt. A proposal to get subsidy for such a toilet – a drawing has already been made – has been sent off. It will be a so called ‘Ecosan’ toilet: ecofriendly in the sense that the faeces will be kept away from the soil in a sealed container above the ground to ferment into compost after a while. When we manage to create a small ‘kitchengarden’ with veggies and other edible plants, the compost will come in handy. And the natural circle is closed, a perfect example of how you can preserve our nature and resources in a small but effective way.

Lisanne is now – together with her mum, Machteld and Corine, all from the Netherlands – actively fund raising to enhance the quality of the service given to children and parents in the ACCC. ‘Femmes d’Europe’ is one of the donor organizations they’re contacting for a subsidy to supply more play material, better nutrition and a better infrastructure. Wherevertheneed UK through the help of Bless in Cuddalore are also sought to help financially and materially. In the future local shop- and restaurant owners as well as traders will be asked for a contribution to this newest of the private child care centers in Cuddalore.

At present the ACCC is open on weekdays from 8.30-12.30. Around 10 the children – numbering 15 at present – get a healthy snack and at noon a healthy lunch. Something they had to fore go when they were still at home with their (impoverished) mothers.

AMAIDI Child Care Center in Cuddalore O.T. wants to create a replicable model for other slum areas in Tamil Nadu and Puduchderry.

For more information, mail us at info@amaidi.org

Thanking you,
Camille van Neer
AMAIDI Foundation

Lisanne at ACCC in Cuddalore Old Town

Lisanne, first volunteer and sponsor, at the entrance of ACCC

Filed under: Bless, charity, Uncategorized, volunteering in India, , , ,

Social Networking

Social Networking

There's no way around it (for non-profits): social networking is here to stay

In 2020 the number of NGO’s in India applying for foreign donations will be half the number we have now. Why? Because the other half is still not – or never going to be – social networking. Using the ‘social web’ or ‘web 2.0’ as it is being called, is increasingly going to be critical in acquiring attention (and who doesn’t get it, doesn’t get it) from ‘important others’. And, lets be honest, this is all that matters for local NGOs who want to implement their social projects for the beneficiaries they serve in the villages and urban areas in India since many years. We have to rephrase the term ‘digital divide’ in ‘social divide’. Not necessary to insert the term ‘digital’ anymore, as the ‘real’ world and its ‘digital’ representation on the Internet are increasingly interwoven. Take public health services, tax payments, agricultural news, marketing and interpersonal communication. More and more people will either ‘also’ or ‘only’ use social networking as a communication tool.

In other words: whether we like it or not, we have to jump on the bandwagon called ‘Social Networking’, get down to the specs as how to use it in our particular (hyperlocal) community.

Here’s a few leads to get yourself started: Social by Social – a Guide to Social Network, How to manage a Facebook group?How Non-Profits Can Use Social Media

Go ahead!

Camille

AMAIDI Volunteering in India

Filed under: article, charity, information, social networking, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , ,

Donating to projects

More and more volunteers, once here or already planned before departure, want to donate money to support the projects they’re working in. Or guests at AMAIDI Guesthouse decide to make an ‘on the spot’ donation.

If one makes a ‘one time donation’ (school-uniforms, books, cycle, a goat), that’s that and on returning home a photograph of the happy receiver sits quietly in ‘Thousand Splendid Suns’, awaiting praise and joy on arrival.

But what to do if a motivated and kind-hearted volunteer wants to contribute to the construction of a community kitchen? This calls for ‘process engagement’ with all the hurdles to success that come with it, especially in the area of communication and monitoring from afar.

I personally advise volunteers to either:

a) make a one-time donation and taste the pleasure of seeing the result of it while still here; and/or:
b) engage in contact with a reliable NGO that operates in the area where the receiver lives.

The problem with option b) is that reliable NGOs tend to be too busy with their ‘own’ projects, whereas NGOs that do have time, might not be reliable enough. A prisoner’s dilemma?

I do believe that donating money to support a project can do good, but one has to think carefully before giving and – once decided – one has to make sure that agreed arrangements are kept after one has gone home. AMAIDI, at present, has a rol as advisor and is in no way involved in the implementation process.

Filed under: charity, donating, finance, international volunteers, reliability

‘Voluntourism’

Found the next statement on a blog:

“Voluntourism”, the international development charity points out, is a growing market in which increasing numbers of school leavers are paying commercial companies for the privilege of working for nothing in some of the world’s poorest communities. In return, they get a good line for the resume, a clutch of traveller’s tales and a warm feeling created by the sense of doing something worthwhile while getting a key “life experience”.

What do YOU think?

Filed under: article, charity, choice, donating, holiday & volunteering, projects, solidarity, understanding, volun-tourism

"Increased confidence amongst charities" (The Guardian)

More staff than ever employed by charity, volunteer organizations
(from The Guardian)

Charities are signalling their confidence in the future of the voluntary sector by employing more staff than ever before, according to a new voluntary sector salary survey. Despite the number of high-profile charities that have announced redundancies in the last 12 months, the Annual Voluntary Sector Salary Survey 2004 showed that 40 per cent of charities are likely to employ more staff over the coming year. This is a sharp increase from last year’s survey that showed only 25% of charities predicting a rise in staff numbers throughout the year.
Published by survey specialists Remuneration Economics in association with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), the salary survey points to an increased confidence among charities towards recruitment and retention of staff. Traditionally a volunteer-led sector, approximately one in three charities now employ paid staff, highlighting the increasing professionalism of the work of not-for-profit organisations in the UK.

Although this article per se is outdated, its significance is not. Especially if you consider that this article was written and published *before* the 2004 Tsunami, with in its wake the enormous amount of money made available to existing and aspiring funding agencies in the West who had to spend all this money through local NGO’s. And they still didn’t finish the job!

Filed under: article, charitable business, charity, confidence, donating, finance, not-for-profit organizations, voluntary work

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AMAIDI Volunteer in an evening school

AMAIDI helps out evening schools in teaching the children English

AMAIDI Foundation

The AMAIDI Foundation is AMAIDI's latest offshoot. AF is meant to support (ex)volunteers in their funding and implementing projects they support during or after their stay/work in India. For partners in India it is also an instrument that enables them to find (new) sponsors and donors to invest in their projects. And for donors to find the implementing agencies they need to realize their social targets/harvest their profit/social ROI

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