FIRE Journeys around the Globe
In 2021, we completed an evaluation of our transformative partnership with the Ford Foundation and 46 organizations around the world. 100% of the organizations who completed our survey indicated that FIRE met or exceeded their expectations and that they would recommend it to others. More than half of organizations are already generating new funding since embarking on the program, while rates of confidence, application of (and success with) new tools and practices, and collaboration all improved dramatically. You can read some of the impact stories below.
Kota Kita (Indonesia)
Kota Kita—a city for all—is an Indonesian civil society organization that began its FIRE Journey in late 2019. The Kota Kita’s team learned to assess their own financial health, build more capacity, and shifted from a mindset of saving to a strategy of investment. They are now working to proactively diversify their income and focus their strategy, including communications efforts, to grow in influence and impact. Through income diversification, their dependency on Ford Foundation has lowered from 72% in 2018 to 38% in 2020.
Akili Dada (Kenya)
Akili Dada became comfortable asking funders for what they needed, and relationships shifted from purely transactional and project-based, to transformational, and became grounded in an exchange of ideas and mutual learning. The team was able to build a strong financial position, resulting in a series of multi-year grants with few restrictions, healthy reserves and ownership of real estate.
Legal Resources Centre (South Africa)
In recent years, this landmark organization struggled to stay financially healthy and keep up with their funding requirements. In 2019 a new team emerged that developed a plan to re-ignite the organization with a focus on a new strategy and goals, a reputation-building communications strategy and a new integrated financial infrastructure with clear benchmarks and financial health indicators. Through this work, the LRC has turned itself around and is returning once more to be a leading and dynamic public law organization.
The initial in-person gathering of over a dozen organizations in the FIRE cohort in Mexico in February 2020 was the start of ProDESC’s inspiring journey. They were impressed with not only the variety of models and fundraising strategies that were shared by others but also the generous spirit of the group. ProDESC quickly moved forward with new confidence to further diversify their income sources by raising funds from individuals and began to shape a new internal culture without silos, working as a larger team.
Action for Hope (MENA Region)
Action for Hope entered the FIRE program with questions about how to fund their growth. How could they create the reach and impact needed in new communities in a way that maintained the grassroots integrity of their original work? Taking their direction from their organization’s financial dashboard, Board and staff worked together to chart a path forward. Action for Hope took bold action to build their first capital reserves, strengthen their fundraising capacity in the hiring of a Grants Manager, and develop a powerful new resource mobilization strategy.
Coordenadoria Ecumênica de Serviço (Brazil)
The FIRE program helped CESE realize how their own fears and assumptions were preventing them from building greater financial strength. The notion that ‘questioning funders is risky’ kept them from recovering their full costs, especially indirect program expenses, or ‘overheads’. They realized that they had a mindset that hindered their growth and a culture shift was required. With an all-new vision and set of tools, they developed more confidence in relating with funders, were able to develop vigilance around recovering indirect costs, and also worked on a reserve fund policy.