The Funding Business: Build Capacity to Interest Funders

LPN Consulting LLC, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs organized a workshop on Wednesday, October 14, to provide Diaspora entrepreneurs, small and medium-size enterprises (SMSEs) and nonprofits with the major elements for securing funds, enhancing collaboration and maximizing relationships with funders and investors.

Workshop Leaders:

  • Lena Prince Nchako, Principal and Strategic Advisor, LPN Consulting LLC
  • Mary Frances Stubbs, Ph.D, Director of Development, Howard University, College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Sciences, (CEACS)
  • Hannibal Hopson, George Washington University, International Affairs, ’17

The lightning session, a 90-minute workshop consisted of three activities and focused on a solution to the critical issue of limited or lack of funding: 1) a contextual overview of stakeholders engaged in the funding space and their roles as direct funders, enablers, conveners, beneficiaries or interlocutors; 2) three presenters that shared technical information and a toolkit; and 3) a discussion of the participants’ experiences with funders.

LPN Consulting LLC designed the content and activities to provide participants with some applied knowledge to understand where they could add value to their current efforts, structure their operations, where gaps currently exist in their operations, and what they could do to develop capacity within those gaps based on what they learned in the workshop and the resources in their respective operations.

The workshop shed light on the type of funding that exists, developing funding relationships, securing integrated, unrestricted, income, modeling a robust fundraising strategy and integrating all the parts. Also, we provided tips and strategies for approaching funders and fundraising with limited capacity, diversifying and focusing implementation strategies, and involving others such as volunteers and board members. At the end of the workshop participants took time to reflect on ‘action items’.


Outcome of the Workshop: The participants resolved to prioritize raising funds for specific areas, such as programs and thematic areas as well general funds and specific project funds.

Follow-up on the ‘action items’ in the past three weeks have shown that some of the participants are already constructing crowdfunding presence; working on organizational infrastructures; and reaching out to others to develop programs, proposals, marketing and solicitation materials such as their case for support and direct fundraising activities. They also seem resolved to be more focused on their leadership roles in planing and implementing fundraising strategies as well as developing their structures, pipelines and monitoring models for their businesses and nonprofits.

We limited the number of invitees to encourage more in depth knowledge sharing, information flow and to develop concrete output and outcomes that are actionable and could be modeled, implemented and monitored.

Achieved target audience: 20 Diaspora businesses owners, entrepreneurs and non-profits operators. 12 were business owners & entrepreneurs; 6 nonprofit operators/presidents/founders; 1 IdEA representative (partner); 1 U.S. Department of State representatives (partner). Sub-categories: 8 were women: 3 business owners and 5 nonprofit founders and presidents. Age range: 21 – 65 years old; average experience – 20 years mid-level or upper-level management in business, academia or government, or a combination of the three sectors; operating their businesses or nonprofits for between 5-15 years; background included SMSE and nonprofit leadership; fundraising; strategic planning; resource mobilization; government , academia and NGO experience. We have followed up with 12 of the 20. Follow-up consisted of meetings, brainstorming sessions, phone calls, mapping relationships and solutions and analyzing concrete implementation strategies.

Special Feature
Establishment of a capacity building model to link policy, advocacy and Diaspora interests in funding; and to engage the Diaspora in concrete ways relative to SMSEs, academic institutions, Diaspora communities and governments in support of development in Africa.

The workshop also:

1. Gauged stakeholders’ interest in a forming partnerships for cooperative engagement in identification of implementing partners for teaming arrangements as well as build t relationships early in the process of engaging with funders.

2. Developed an enhanced Diaspora engagement model around implementation and funding to generate the type of collaborations as well as competitive structures and relationships necessary to mobilize resources for higher-impact Diaspora engagement in Africa.

Outcome: Established a capacity building model to link policy, advocacy and Diaspora interests in funding; and to engage the Diaspora in concrete ways relative to SMSEs, academic institutions, Diaspora communities and governments in support of development in Africa.


1) Recommendations to ensure that the participants will use the toolkit provided at the workshop and they are proactively working to improve business outcomes and support policy priorities. 2) Follow-up activities: series of training sessions in road show format, meeting to develop collaboration among those with mutual linkages, interests and abilities and a blog to stay connected and build awareness and share knowledge generated. 3) A highlight from our event was the interest of the participants in working together to increase the impact of their individual and organization’s efforts in meeting policy goals relating to Africa through structured efforts to mobilize resources and apply them through systemic implementation initiatives. One initiative that has begun is working together on capacity building, seeking integrated funding and building strategic relationships that produce measurable results within the next six months.

Next Steps: LPN’s objective is to work with the partners to model this workshop for replication in ways that will achieve mutual goals among partners.

The ebook delivers the message of delivery and also reports on the outcomes and outputs and the video shows real time engagement.

We discussed in detail the keys to:

  1. Categorizing and sourcing capital
  2. Financial adaptability and sustainability
  3. Mapping relationships
  4. Outlining the roles of state and voluntary sectors in which SMSEs and nonprofits operate.
  5. Understanding how the funding business works
  6. Understanding how the funders think about funding and its place as a business

The workshop provided useful tips for developing strategic frameworks and integrated funding strategies to implement Diaspora projects and programs.

We wrapped up with a discussion of our experiences with solutions to problems of sustainability and growth — inadequate funding, the lack of technical know-how and impactful partnerships.

Hannibal Hopson

Hannibal Hopson, George Washington University, International Affairs, ’17