Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sustainability vs. Tangibility (Nicole Wilken)



When facing the big problems that exist in the world, it is hard to know where to start. To identify what will do the most good, people and organizations often gravitate toward funding projects with the most tangible results. The last two SALT campaigns have funded the construction of a well in Kenya (2012) and a schoolhouse in Tanzania (2011). As I have mentioned before, the decision of SALT’s WRC project is made between all the members of SALT. Despite this apparent preference, we judge the projects each year in terms of sustainability, not exclusively on tangibility. But this does bring up an interesting phenomenon: why do we – fundraising professionals and donors alike – tend to gravitate toward more tangible projects? It is important if you are working on these projects to make the project relevant to the donors. Allow them to see how their contribution is a part of the larger project. Last year, in our publicity of the WRC project, we calculated the amount needed to fund each meter of the well. However, it is necessary to understand that the development of sustainable programs is also important. SALT’s WRC project from 2007 funded recipe trials using local foods that can be mass produced in a community of Uganda. Successful programs cannot exist without a stable infrastructure. Both construction projects and program development are necessary in the creation of sustainable change.

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