Stories from "The Field"…

Have you ever wondered how our busy Field Officers in Colombia work with our local Partners? Well, with our new website, blog and facebook page, we hope to give you all a much better idea of our work not just in the UK but in Colombia too… Throughout 2011 (and beyond) we hope to be able to blog lots of interesting and exciting news from Colombia – direct from our lovely Field Officers, our Partners and even the children. So do keep checking our site, and let us know what you think of the stories. We love to hear from our supporters.

So, here is the first of our stories from “The Field”… I hope it provides an insight to the day of a COTA field officer – and indeed a COTA Partner.

Children of the Andes has two field officers in Colombia, Barbara Inglin in Cali and Gina Ortiz in Bogota. They work closely with our local Partners, helping them to strengthen as organisations and to maximise the support they give to the children. As well as ongoing accompaniment and support, Gina and Barbara sometimes hold workshops and meetings for the partners to come and share their ideas and experience.

This month, they held their first ever “End of Year Meetings” with our Partners (1 in Bogota, 1 in Cali), and we wanted to share a little about what they all got up to. The focus of the meeting was fundraising, a common concern amongst our many co-workers in Colombia.Barbara

Our partners discussed what did and didn’t work from their fundraising experience, and how they could better plan their fundraising strategies in the years to come. Four of our Partners, who have been particularly successful with their fundraising, Formemos, Fundación Restrepo Barco, Fundamor and Carvajal then gave presentations, and each organisation outlined simple steps they aim to take as part of a fundraising plan.

Here are some of the things our Partners discussed during the meeting:

What works in fundraising?

  • commitment of the Board of Trustees to fundraising
  • support from volunteers
  • word of mouth – making the most of every opportunity to tell people about our work
  • events with a clear fundraising focus

What doesn’t work?

  • applying for funding without reading the guidelines carefully 
  • approaching corporate donors with a range of requests instead of analyzing and prioritising requests according to corporate profile/interests
  • events – an event that has been successful once won’t necessarily be successful forever (context and people change)

After lots of discussion, presentations and learning, our Partners have decided to look into:

  • designing a strategy to present to the Board of Trustees the need of a fundraising expert/professional
  • recruiting student interns that can help research fundraising resources
  • strengthening the role of the Board of Trustees in supporting fundraising activities
  • identifying and analysing potential donors in the local and neighbouring regions
  • activating networks and alliances with other NGOs

They also proposed ideas for future Partner meetings with COTA, saying they would like to know more about:

  • Strategies for supporting children who have drug problems
  • Sharing methodologies/strategies on Family support / Outreach work
  • Sharing experience of supporting children in care back to living with their families
  • COTA’s own fundraising experience and recommendations on how to present a strong proposal

The End of Year Meetings have proven to be a great success, and have left all of us at COTA with a really positive feeling about our work and relationships with all our Partners. Thank you for being part of this success.

From all of us at Children of the Andes… Have a great weekend and enjoy the snow!

This entry was posted in Children Change Colombia's Plans & Strategy, Projects & Field Office Reports and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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