Toward financial resilience for partners

Woman in front of post-its

By Yvonne Heselmans

Yvonne Heselmans is Manager of the Projects Department at Wilde Ganzen. She has gained extensive experience in the peace and human rights movement. Before this, she worked mainly in Africa with among others the peace organisation Pax, Plan Nederland, and the International Educational Debate Association (IDEA). In addition to her work at Wilde Ganzen, she is the current chairperson of the foundation Open UP! Let youth be heard.

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In a rapidly changing world, organisations must be self-reliant and resilient. This also means that they must be financially strong and mature. In the coming years, we want to support partner organisations that want to improve their financial management.

Self-reliant and resilient organisations are rooted in the community they work for. They stand up for the people and represent the community by listening and being up to date on the latest issues. The same organisations are aware that ownership of initiatives and change processes ultimately lies with the people of the community itself. Those organisations are facilitating communities in their desired change. As a result, these organisations need to be trusted by the community and by other players such as donors and the government. This trust is the basis for sustainable change in a community.

No trust without good financial management

Trust takes years to build and seconds to break. One example of lost trust is when organisations do not have their financial affairs in order. Just as the building of a school, a training course for women or the construction of a water pump is set up systematically, the financial planning, realization and accountability must be right towards their own organisation, towards the community with whom they work and towards donors. Otherwise, money does more harm than good. Money is scarce globally. And everyone knows how scarce goods could be a polarizing force. Money could accomplish plenty good iniatives, but where it is not managed well, it often provokes jealousy, conflict, broken relationships, disappointment and much pain. I have encountered this plenty of times, especially when it comes to organisations that are doing great work but do not yet sufficiently understand the need for sound management of funds.

Not every organisation has what it takes to get financial management right while supporting the community. This can be quite complex for starters for instance. People need to know what the financial processes are and how to organize them so that they remain fair and respect ethical codes. They have to keep track of expenses and handle receipts accurately. And what do you do when no receipts are issued?

Financial management is a profession in itself

Organisations in the non profit sector face many challenges. For instance, each donor often requires a different method of reporting. That could be a burden for the organisation for instance because there’s no time for addressing all those diverse requirements. How can you keep an overview? Or how do you keep track of all those revenues, expenses, deficits and profits? Not to mention the legal requirements of banks and the government. It’s a profession in itself, in which someone needs to be trained.

Wilde Ganzen supports partners in financial management

The work in the community for children, sick people, farmers, you name it, is already very demanding for many partners and it requires to be the first priority. Fair enough. Nevertheless, parallel to the changes in the community, it is important too that impactful organisations are externally as well as internally strong to sustain the good work. Often we see that quite a number of organisations could lack time, money or capacity to keep their finances in order. Fortunately, a lot of organisations recognise this and are open to expand their knowledge in this regard. And they can! Wilde Ganzen attaches great importance to organisations handling money ethically, as we

realize that this is not always easy. But it is necessary. Our motto is ‘accounting but supporting’. That is why we want to work extra hard in the coming years to support partner organisations that find financial management difficult so that they become better and better at it. We believe that this is of the utmost importance to remain trustworthy towards the community, attract other donors and essentially for the sustainability of the organisation itself.

For example, over the past year, we have been working on a new, user-friendly manual that outlines our regulations and procedures and explains how to complete our formats. There is a new format that guides partners through the process of completing the project budget and final financial report. Please read more in the following blogs:

Let’s tackle this together

We hope to work together towards better financial management. We are looking forward to it since it will contribute to a solid network of strong organisations rooted in the community that initiate sustainable change. And it creates autonomous, resilient and self-reliant organisations!

Tip: Check out the Change the Game Academy! You can find supportive toolkits such as: