How To Get Foreign Funds For Your NGO And Why It Is Important

Charity may begin at home, but if we were to pay heed to recent statistics, more and more NRIs are actively supporting Indian NGOs with generous contributions. According to reports by the Ministry of Home Affairs, foreign funding to Indian NGOs has increased by 83% in the last two years. Indian NGOs raised Rs. 10,900 crores as the foreign donation in 2012-13 which almost doubled to Rs. 22,000 crores in 2014-15. In fact, a 2015 Impact India report states that even if the 2 million Indians in the US contributed 40% of their philanthropic income to Indian NGOs, the total sum could actually surpass the US foreign aid to India.


This rise is urging more and more NGOs in India to get the FCRA certificate that allows them to accept foreign donations. Yet the number of NGOs with an FCRA today is still very low at around 13,000 from over 2.5 lakh NGOs operating in India.


Here’s how foreign funding can help your NGO:


Foreign contributions can help multiply your NGO’s impact

Indian NGOs receive the highest donations from USA and UK followed by Germany, Italy, and Netherlands. The currency difference means even a small donation from there could be a large addition to your funds. These foreign contributions can help you expand your projects and put your plans into action much sooner.


Expand your donor base

Most NRIs donate based on loyalty to an NGO or a cause. This is partly because of the few number of NGOs they can donate to, and partly because residing far away, they share a relationship of trust with the NGO. They also respond to consistent progress in the cause that they support. This gives you a chance to expand your donor base drastically.

Achieve more with consistent donations

Unlike Indian donors who donate erratically, NRI donors are more likely to donate consistently over a period of time. The culture of giving is given huge prominence and now with the introduction of #GivingTuesday, more and more NRIs and PIOs are consciously giving towards causes they support. This ensures consistent funds that you can bank on.


However, attracting International donors to your organization can be a daunting task. Here are some ways in which you can attract foreign donors, once you have an FCRA.

Be Transparent

Establishing trust is crucial. Not only should you be open about your certification and licensing but also about how the funds are utilized, the areas you cover, the programs you run and the impact you’ve created. The more you tell the donor, the more he will come to understand and trust your work.

Use the Internet

The physical miles between you and the donor can be compensated by the internet. The internet is a powerful tool for the donor to get to know you. Have a massive internet presence. Keep your social media updated with news, activities, and results. Make your website mobile-friendly, send an e-newsletter, tweet, upload pictures – go the whole mile. It gives the donor confidence that the funds are reaching the right people.

Partner with a Crowdfunding platform

Crowdfunding helps you get small donations from those NRIs who can’t donate in large numbers yet. Usually, crowdfunding platforms already have a dedicated donor base from various countries which can help increase your exposure. Plus, these platforms follow a due diligence process and donors tend to trust NGOs who are on it.

Request funds for a specific project rather than the organization in general

Over the last 5 years, NRI donors are observed to have been more enthusiastic towards donating to a specific project rather than an organization. Goals, targets, and initiatives not only incur more trust but create a sense of direct impact with the donor – who is sitting miles away – as he can directly see what his funds will be used for.

You can now also offer tax incentives

While Indian donors get tax benefits on their donations with the 80G certificate, NRI & PIO donors usually have to donate to India chapters of organizations who have an International presence to get these incentives. Indian NGOs that only exist domestically cannot offer tax benefits and therefore often lose out to the bigger international ones. Impact Guru’s partnership with GlobalGiving – the largest global non-profit crowdfunding platform – allows you to give tax incentives to NRIs and PIOs in the UK and USA.

Click here to know more about how Indian NGOs can provide tax benefits to their US and UK donors on Impact Guru.

Also, here’s how to apply for an FCRA, in case your organization doesn’t have one.

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