Small NGOs (SNGOs, <15 employees) in Europe are facing rising operating costs in terms of new skills to acquire, accelerating competition for public funds, and shrinking government support, particularly in countries suffering from nationalism and restricting laws. SNGOs are facing higher operational costs and worse visibility (particularly with regards to refugee support).
At the same time, in 2018 the EU Commission launched a plan to protect European values having a special focus on NGOs, launching a new Justice, Rights and Values Fund aimed at strengthening civil society facing several threats in several member states. In fact, as also the Fundamental RightsAgency stated in the same year, European civil groups are far from reaching sustainable long-term financing – this is expressed in short-term projects or in not-qualified personnel doing the fundraising. As such, every year SNGOs face to quit as they cannot plan ahead – this is transversal in Europe and particularly evident in Southern states.
The project regards particularly to the dramatic data regarding financial and digital education – 1 out of 3 adult Europeans are not sufficiently equipped to reach satisfactory digital competencies or with sufficient financial literacy.
e-PATTERNS (e-learning platform for up-skilling in fundraising practice, financial digital literacy in NGO management) wants to support poorly- ICT-equipped SNGO practitioners (30+ years old) who need to be up-re-skilled in ICT & financial literacy (budgeting, planning ahead, choosing products (brand) and using independent advice) to develop strategic competencies in fundraising, crucial for the development of any social project. Gender makes the situation even more dramatic, both in Italy and in the rest of the partner countries.
Fundraising (as financial literacy) requires a broad approach – entrepreneurial techniques, financial analysis, digital knowledge and branding are required for social projects. Differently, SNGOs often see fundraising just as limited tool to finance something, and not a permanent strategic activity that regards entrepreneurship strategies, financial and digital positioning as well as digital marketing techniques.
e-patterns aims to up-re-skill adult SNGOs practitioners (30+ years old) to support their work in fundraising and strategic digital positioning through new technologies, developing a web-platform to help strategical planning and to incubate projects in a sustainable way, creating also a self-assessment tool to analyse the state of digitisation within the organisation.
The project wants to support concrete SNGOs projects in each partner country, improving also working flexibility of adults in SNGOs which face the hop-in/hop-out problem with regards to job market.
e-patterns aims are to
- Train low-skilled adults and develop their competences in financial literacy/fundraising through simplified ICT tools developing a Step-by-Step Educational Framework connected to Open Badges System (OBS) to be tested/complete through two specific training sessions during the project lifetime;
- Support local projects incubating them through fundraising preparatory actions (or through crowdfunding, partnership building, budget planning etc.) during the project enhancing the impact of SNGOs (C1,C2);
- Create a web-platform hosting an interactive online step-by-step web tool to guide target group users in learn financial basics to make a fundraise plan, where they can train/consult FAQ/orienteer better. Learning qualification will be issued through Open Badge System.
- Define/develop a self-assessment tool for digitisation of SNGOs in order to define areas of work and training patterns within organisations.
The project main aim is to empower at local level SNGOs and to improve the project management, implementation and delivery of them in order to keep them alive within the European democratic system.