Our Fundraising Approach

While some NGOs operate with large budgets and huge programs to address a broad base of internationally recognized issues, CatComm operates with a small and flexible budget, with focused aims to meet unmet needs at a local level, and yet still achieves broad impact. We do this for one simple reason: the needs of the community command our work. Due to the fast changing environment of Rio de Janeiro, and the challenges that face communities in this context, the needs of communities and the support they ask from us also change at similar speeds. We also have worked with over 200 communities, all unique, and with varying challenges. We are required to be flexible in order to respond to their localized requests.

What We are Not

The funding model of the conventional internationally funded NGO is typically driven by goals and objectives set at the international institutional level (e.g. Millennium Development Goals). From these internationally set goals, funding is sought and attributed, and programs and services are delivered.

This diagram broadly explains the flow:

Traditional NGO Funding Model

The results are often a heavily funded collection of services that are often concentrated in internationally recognized areas of need (e.g. HIV, education, hunger, maternal health), and are sometimes disconnected with other day to day needs of communities (Note: this is not to discredit the efforts and efficiency of these highly funded programs). However, within this model it is difficult to be flexible and create responsive programs that are relevant to urgent, timely and often politically charged needs of the community.

What We Are

CatComm’s model is responsive, flexible, and listens to the demands of communities where needs are unmet support is needed fast. We only work where it is requested of us and when local communities feel they need support. It is important to mention that communities are strong groups of people with their own strengths, agencies, and empowerment potential.

Our approach is broadly like this:

CatComm Small NGO Funding Model

Example of Our Model in Action — CatComm held a workshop with community leaders and a small group of active residents from Vidigal in November 2013 as part of our strategic workshop trainings on Gentrification. Due to their experience and connections with their community, community leaders felt this should be opened up to the wider public. As a result, over several months and ongoing through June 2014 CatComm has worked with the Residents Association to hold a series of community-wide debates, the first of which was held on March 18, 2014 with over 250 members of the public participating. This would not have been possible with funding tied to the quantitative target of delivering a set number of workshops regardless of the outcome. Having a broader funding mandate where the organization can respond to community requests for support allows CatComm to have a deeper and more empowering impact, committing itself to see impacts rather than simply delivering trainings or services.

Dependable Individual Donors

Income CatComm

In 2013 all our resources came from sources that permit flexible programs: 59% ($60,374.84) from private donors, with donations ranging from $5 to $10,000; 32% from our Educational Community Visits and University Talks; and 15% from the endowment. For a full breakdown of our funding click here. With this diverse, broad, and committed network of supporters we are able to constantly innovate and expand on the work we do. Our supporters’ generous contributions help create effective change in much-needed areas. It does however, mean that large-scale resources are much harder to obtain as a smaller organization working with a large network of flexibility-providing private donors, than is the case for the handful of large NGOs with staffs dedicated to and attracting large grants.

We also work with flexible and small-scale foundations and grantmakers that share our values in a non-competitive and collaborative capacity.