National Fund Development and Communications Manager SOS Children's Villages in Botswana
photo: © 2018 Stefan Lechner Photography
Find your Why, then the How will come easily
My story is about a successful fundraising partnership that started with a small donation, and through purposeful donor nurturing a long-term partnership developed. It all started when I assumed the responsibility of fundraising. Having worked as a program social worker before, I was at an advantage to tell the SOS story because I had had personal contact with different children´s stories. One incident in particular left a huge mark on my life and influenced my everyday work ethic.
Thinking and acting in an emergency situation, and finding your reward
A few weeks after joining the organization as a social worker some years ago, the village director was on leave, and I received a call which was a desperate request for admission of a very sick and malnourished child into the SOS Children’s Village. The village was at full capacity at the time and we had just completed the construction of an additional house; waiting for the occupation certificate from the municipality.
My efforts to speed up the inspection process in order to obtain the occupation certificate proved futile. Upon realization that every second counts for the life of the child, I knew that I needed to make a quick decision. I asked the social worker to bring the child despite the situation; and I made a temporary arrangement for the child to be received in one of the family homes.
Upon arrival, I realized that the child was in critical condition. I immediately took the child to hospital, and her treatment was followed by different therapy interventions. It took some months before the child could fully function like other children. Amazingly, a child who arrived in a devastating condition recovered beautifully and blossomed into a wonderful young lady today.
From the story of that girl, I knew that I am involved with an organization whose impact is immeasurable. That caused me to wake up every morning dedicated to do my best to change more lives, not only for the children in SOS Children’s Villages but everywhere where I can make an impact.
Fast-forward to six years later when I assumed the position of a fundraiser. The story of that baby girl and of many other children whom I received into SOS Children’s Villages stayed with me and is the reason why I tell the SOS story with so much conviction. I believe truly that when the WHY is strong, the how is easy. I tell the SOS story all the time and have never met someone who hears the SOS story and is not touched and moved to help in some way.
From donations to lasting partnerships
One day I met a lady and we started conversing. I shared with her the story of SOS Children´s Villages and she was truly moved. A few days later she still could not forget our conversation and she visited my office and donated a few used children´s clothes. I thanked her profusely and immediately added her into our database and started sending her updates. Despite the fact that she made a small donation I treated her with much appreciation. After some time of constant communication, the lady introduced SOS Children´s Villages to her in-laws, who happen to be one of the high net worth families in the country. I got to meet the mother in-law who, after hearing the SOS story from me, couldn’t keep it to herself. She pulled all her strings and used her influence to mobilize supporters and resources for SOS Children’s Villages Botswana. Every year the funds they raise from their personal donations and their networks for SOS Children’s Villages increase.
Today the relationship has turned into a partnership and annually the family contributes over 150 000 dollars towards clothing, school uniforms and Christmas gifts for our Francistown SOS Children’s Village. Through continuous sharing of our unique story the relationship has opened more strategic fundraising partnership opportunities. Currently there are three high level fundraising projects that this family is helping SOS Children’s Villages on.
Learning and Improving from past partnerships
All this became possible because an SOS story was told. We used the lessons learned from this partnership to form other meaningful partnerships. One of these helped us to fully digitalize all our three SOS Children’s Villages. I targeted an employee, shared the SOS story and that influenced her decision to fund SOS Children’s Villages Botswana for the full digitalization of our three SOS Villages.
is Fund Development & Communications Manager, in Fund Development and Communications at the National Office of SOS Children’s Villages Botswana.
In her role she interacts with the public and shares the story of SOS Children’s Villages. For her, each team member stands for this story and is equally important.
Agnes comes from a family of five children. Her family is her stronghold, a well-knitted safety-net. She left home early and her family sees her as the adventurous one. She now has two boys who are ten and eight years old. In her leisure time Agnes derives pleasure from developing individuals in her community. She runs a cycling club for underprivileged children. To give them exposure and to build their confidence, they even compete in national competitions. Agnes was raised in a small village not far away from the capital city Gaborone. Because of the village’s proximity to the city, she grew up experiencing both: the traditional lifestyle of farming as well as the city-life. She constantly witnesses developments in her country. Botswana is also rich in wildlife and the beautiful Okavango Delta, which is one of the Wonders of the world, is the country’s pride.
Video Harvesting Workshop 2018