Sponsorship By Wasta

الخميس 16 تشرين الأول 2008
Written By: Elena Abuadas I am one of the founders of a local NGO in Jordan. The NGO was created out of the initiative of several young people hoping to, maybe, change something in Jordan. We have been active for five years now, and we actually have had a successful record of achievements. Most of our funds come from the European Commission (EC), and sometimes we get funding from embassies in Jordan. Since government aid for NGOs doesn’t exist in Jordan, every year we go through the battle of finding local sponsors to support part of our activities, or, complement the funds that come from the EC. Usually the EC funds around 80%, expecting that it is easy for NGOs to mobilize the private and public sectors to fund the missing 20%. It is always the same story. We are frequently asked by potential donors questions such as, “where do you come from?” and “who is your wasta?” We are frequently told: “we don’t finance such development projects”, or “we only finance parties and music events”, “we are short on money”, “get Nancy Ajram and we will sponsor you”, etc. However, what is worse is that when you send the sponsorship package to multi-million dollar companies – such as telecoms, logistics, and pharmaceutical companies – they don’t even bother to acknowledge receiving your email, let alone answering you. Moreover, when I do manage to catch their PR or marketing department by phone at any moment of the year, they always claim to have “just ran out of money”. We always guarantee high visibility for our sponsors – putting their names in press articles, their logos at the sites we work at, distributing their brochures among our beneficiaries – but since our development projects always target disadvantaged areas, and people with less opportunities (as they should), the sponsors are not interested in visibility among poor people. Their sense of social responsibility is actually a nicely packaged marketing plan that is tied directly to sales. This makes me wonder: where is the corporate social responsibility in Jordan?
  • ‘we only finance parties’. Oh please, this reminds me of ‘let them eat cake’.

    I’d like a list of these kinds of companies to boycott and call to account.

  • ‘we only finance parties’. Oh please, this reminds me of ‘let them eat cake’.

    I’d like a list of these kinds of companies to boycott and call to account.

  • Elena Abuadas

    Exactly, and actually most of the companies told us that!!! Disappointing

  • Elena Abuadas

    Exactly, and actually most of the companies told us that!!! Disappointing

  • That is quite interesting, yet unexpected knowing the perks of doing business in the Middle East…

    But seriously, what is wrong with getting Nancy Ajram (or any other artist) for fund-raising?

  • That is quite interesting, yet unexpected knowing the perks of doing business in the Middle East…

    But seriously, what is wrong with getting Nancy Ajram (or any other artist) for fund-raising?

  • 100% my case here as well 🙁

  • 100% my case here as well 🙁

  • “the sponsors are not interested in visibility among poor people”

    the organization i’m part of is a cultural organization, and some of our activities include alot of PR, and they still treat me the same, don’t worry, its not about serving poor people, its more of a conceptual thing apparently!

  • “the sponsors are not interested in visibility among poor people”

    the organization i’m part of is a cultural organization, and some of our activities include alot of PR, and they still treat me the same, don’t worry, its not about serving poor people, its more of a conceptual thing apparently!

  • Elena Abuadas

    Rami, there is nothing wrong with Nancy Ajram. however let’s see what we can do with the 200,000 JD that she charges.
    We can build competences for 5000 women in any village, or create solidarity shops to feed 100,000 family, we can raise awareness of 1 million people about water, environment, domestic abuse,…etc
    We can fix a school for God knows how many generations … and the list can go on, it’s really all about priorities.

    So I say no to Nancy Ajram.

  • Elena Abuadas

    Rami, there is nothing wrong with Nancy Ajram. however let’s see what we can do with the 200,000 JD that she charges.
    We can build competences for 5000 women in any village, or create solidarity shops to feed 100,000 family, we can raise awareness of 1 million people about water, environment, domestic abuse,…etc
    We can fix a school for God knows how many generations … and the list can go on, it’s really all about priorities.

    So I say no to Nancy Ajram.

  • There has to be the incentive for the companies. There is no such thing as corporate social responsibility. In the west, the only reason they do it is for the tax breaks they receive. Any donations or sponsorships to charitable organization/NGO’s are tax deductible.

    I am not sure if we have such a thing in Jordan?

  • There has to be the incentive for the companies. There is no such thing as corporate social responsibility. In the west, the only reason they do it is for the tax breaks they receive. Any donations or sponsorships to charitable organization/NGO’s are tax deductible.

    I am not sure if we have such a thing in Jordan?

  • Elena..

    I was thinking along the lines of approaching artists who work as “good will ambassadors” maybe, or even arrange a concert where you get enough sponsorship money to cover the costs, and you make a cut of the profit..

    It is a tough commercial world after all… but then again, that’s just me 😀

  • Elena..

    I was thinking along the lines of approaching artists who work as “good will ambassadors” maybe, or even arrange a concert where you get enough sponsorship money to cover the costs, and you make a cut of the profit..

    It is a tough commercial world after all… but then again, that’s just me 😀

  • You may want to play around with tweaking ur approach a bit.

    1. This is a perfect time to pitch for budgets and sponsors and partners to plan you into 2009. Whatever you’re proposing this month and next should be abt next year’s activities to give them time to budget and plan, and for you to convince.

    2. Find out who the Ad and PR agencies of the target sponsors and meet with them. Agencies don’t like to be cut out, and if they get ur pitch, they are helpful in getting the client on board.

    3. Create new ways of value for the sponsors. Create new types of stories to run in the press where the sponsor name can appear, not just the template corp press release – people stories that move – use names and details that connect people.

    4. Put up a social network for your NGO. a place where news and pix and events and progress and challenges can be added, and also a place where the sponsors see themselves and each other. You can do this free and very easily on ning.com – use a social network tool, not a regular website as it allows people to build a community and get engaged.

    5. Give them numbers. Talk about how many people benefit from the work. Talk about the immediate numbers impacted, as well as the accumulated. Talk about results and achievements in stories that travel with the sponsor part of these stories. Talk about the good stuff that’s been achieved, even if tiny – yes there’s tons of work ahead, but everyone wants positive stories – it’s what motivates us to keep going.

    6. Hold a public event they can wallpaper their brand to that still benefits ur cause. Maybe a photo exhibit. One of the local photographers can volunteer to take some great pix. Enlarge a few, put them up somewhere and make it a public event for your sponsor. This costs you nothing if you get a photographer to volunteer a couple days work and some prints. You can put up the large poster size images in the neighborhoods you’re working in, and get the sponsor, invites, press to come there.

    7. Make little films – short emotional stories that you and the sponsors can use – on sites, in presentations, etc. Again with this you can find a couple of emerging filmmaker volunteers to make a couple shorts for you for free.

    8. Get the sponsor to come to your events with the community and be part of the program. Create a day where they can come and talk about their business or anything they want. Invite the press to cover.

    9. Get the sponsor to hold a masterclass or workshop that they are experts in for the benefit of some in the community who may be interested. Or get them to take some of the community to visit their workplaces and tour their shop floor. Basically find a way where the sponsor can talk about their own biz. Get the press to be part of it too. Get them to offer two internships to the community or smtg like that.

    10. Create a badge for your cause and sponsor – smtg they can use on their communication, anytime.

    11. When you talk about your NGO and work, never hold back from sharing the name of the org and what you do and who is benefiting from the work and who has been supporting. I’m assuming you didn’t add it here so as not to appear that you’re indirectly promoting it, but get over that. Use every single chance to talk about it and identify it – if you’re confident about the work and your approach and your sincerity, then name the NGO and describe the work. Nobody wants a generic entity – there’s no emotion in that.

  • You may want to play around with tweaking ur approach a bit.

    1. This is a perfect time to pitch for budgets and sponsors and partners to plan you into 2009. Whatever you’re proposing this month and next should be abt next year’s activities to give them time to budget and plan, and for you to convince.

    2. Find out who the Ad and PR agencies of the target sponsors and meet with them. Agencies don’t like to be cut out, and if they get ur pitch, they are helpful in getting the client on board.

    3. Create new ways of value for the sponsors. Create new types of stories to run in the press where the sponsor name can appear, not just the template corp press release – people stories that move – use names and details that connect people.

    4. Put up a social network for your NGO. a place where news and pix and events and progress and challenges can be added, and also a place where the sponsors see themselves and each other. You can do this free and very easily on ning.com – use a social network tool, not a regular website as it allows people to build a community and get engaged.

    5. Give them numbers. Talk about how many people benefit from the work. Talk about the immediate numbers impacted, as well as the accumulated. Talk about results and achievements in stories that travel with the sponsor part of these stories. Talk about the good stuff that’s been achieved, even if tiny – yes there’s tons of work ahead, but everyone wants positive stories – it’s what motivates us to keep going.

    6. Hold a public event they can wallpaper their brand to that still benefits ur cause. Maybe a photo exhibit. One of the local photographers can volunteer to take some great pix. Enlarge a few, put them up somewhere and make it a public event for your sponsor. This costs you nothing if you get a photographer to volunteer a couple days work and some prints. You can put up the large poster size images in the neighborhoods you’re working in, and get the sponsor, invites, press to come there.

    7. Make little films – short emotional stories that you and the sponsors can use – on sites, in presentations, etc. Again with this you can find a couple of emerging filmmaker volunteers to make a couple shorts for you for free.

    8. Get the sponsor to come to your events with the community and be part of the program. Create a day where they can come and talk about their business or anything they want. Invite the press to cover.

    9. Get the sponsor to hold a masterclass or workshop that they are experts in for the benefit of some in the community who may be interested. Or get them to take some of the community to visit their workplaces and tour their shop floor. Basically find a way where the sponsor can talk about their own biz. Get the press to be part of it too. Get them to offer two internships to the community or smtg like that.

    10. Create a badge for your cause and sponsor – smtg they can use on their communication, anytime.

    11. When you talk about your NGO and work, never hold back from sharing the name of the org and what you do and who is benefiting from the work and who has been supporting. I’m assuming you didn’t add it here so as not to appear that you’re indirectly promoting it, but get over that. Use every single chance to talk about it and identify it – if you’re confident about the work and your approach and your sincerity, then name the NGO and describe the work. Nobody wants a generic entity – there’s no emotion in that.

  • Oh, AND – don’t forget to thank those super special people/orgs who got the picture and joined you with that 20%. Without them, that 20% would be 0% right now. Thank them every single time. Mention them as much as you can when relevant. Do something for them even if their support term is over. They were there for you when clearly no one else has been. Their good news can be contagious.

  • Oh, AND – don’t forget to thank those super special people/orgs who got the picture and joined you with that 20%. Without them, that 20% would be 0% right now. Thank them every single time. Mention them as much as you can when relevant. Do something for them even if their support term is over. They were there for you when clearly no one else has been. Their good news can be contagious.

  • Dalia

    It’s unfortunate, but corporate social responsibility doesn’t exist here for the most part. The main reason is that those who do exercise it, have created their own programs because it makes more sense. Otherwise, having so many royally endowed ngos and service oriented organizations means they’re having the biggest piece of the funding cake.

    I agree that you might have to tweak your approach. One small suggestion would be to look for partnerships with corporations instead of funding. It doesn’t have to look very different.

    Wasta exists everywhere in some way, shape, or form. It’s an unfortunate reality.

  • Dalia

    It’s unfortunate, but corporate social responsibility doesn’t exist here for the most part. The main reason is that those who do exercise it, have created their own programs because it makes more sense. Otherwise, having so many royally endowed ngos and service oriented organizations means they’re having the biggest piece of the funding cake.

    I agree that you might have to tweak your approach. One small suggestion would be to look for partnerships with corporations instead of funding. It doesn’t have to look very different.

    Wasta exists everywhere in some way, shape, or form. It’s an unfortunate reality.

  • Sorry to hear how hard it is to get support in this country..the sad thing is that I remember back in Highschool, our PROM committee didn’t have any trouble at all getting big companies to sponsor them (& yes, I went to Highschool in Jordan). I really wish people would get their priorities straight and understand that giving money to help atleast one person in need is more fruitful than giving money to already rich kids to throw away on what is only a party in the end..

    If your looking for any volunteers on any future projects, please tell me how I can get involved. It’s time to break the cycle!

  • Sorry to hear how hard it is to get support in this country..the sad thing is that I remember back in Highschool, our PROM committee didn’t have any trouble at all getting big companies to sponsor them (& yes, I went to Highschool in Jordan). I really wish people would get their priorities straight and understand that giving money to help atleast one person in need is more fruitful than giving money to already rich kids to throw away on what is only a party in the end..

    If your looking for any volunteers on any future projects, please tell me how I can get involved. It’s time to break the cycle!

  • That was a pretty timely post for me… and Nadine… thanks a million for your comment… that was helpful 🙂

  • That was a pretty timely post for me… and Nadine… thanks a million for your comment… that was helpful 🙂

  • By the way Nadine: do you fundraise for NGOs? 🙂

  • By the way Nadine: do you fundraise for NGOs? 🙂

  • Mais – I don’t really fundraise, but I produce things. Which means getting them funded too. If you have something I can contribute to, I’m more than happy to learn more. Contact me anytime.

  • Mais – I don’t really fundraise, but I produce things. Which means getting them funded too. If you have something I can contribute to, I’m more than happy to learn more. Contact me anytime.

  • Elena

    Thanks Nadine for all the tips, they were quite helpful, but rests the application

  • Elena

    Thanks Nadine for all the tips, they were quite helpful, but rests the application

  • Elena

    By the way, the NGO’s name is Tatawor Association, and our office is in Abdali, +96264655976, E-mail: [email protected], and we need volunteers to do training in some areas like Sahab, Ashrafieh, and Wadi Sir and raising awareness of the population on health, human rights, labour rights, drug abuse, …
    Ofcourse along with financial sponsorship 🙂

  • Elena

    By the way, the NGO’s name is Tatawor Association, and our office is in Abdali, +96264655976, E-mail: [email protected], and we need volunteers to do training in some areas like Sahab, Ashrafieh, and Wadi Sir and raising awareness of the population on health, human rights, labour rights, drug abuse, …
    Ofcourse along with financial sponsorship 🙂