Fundraising in Africa

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Fundraising, it has been said, is one of the great areas of pain between Westerners and Africans. The book African Friends and Money Matters by David Maranz ISBN 1556711174 “...explains the reasoning of both African and Western logic in the entire area of money and friendship and can save many a heartache even for those who are long established workers in Africa” customer review from

Sarah Lanier, author of Foreign to Familiar ISBN 1581580223 recommends this book, stating: “It also explains why so many times Westerners give money for projects upon request from the African leader, only to hear that the money was used for something else. This book explains that the idea of designated funds is a Western concept, and that for the African, if the money has arrived to build a school, but it is needed to pay bills, then the money is used to pay bills. The money for the school will have to come when it's time to buy the bricks. To not use the money to pay the bills would be irresponsible. How can he or she have $2,000 in their hands, with a debt of $1,000 for back rent, and not pay the debt? We, in the West would call that fraud. So the judgement against the African becomes severe.”

Differences in values
Living by the moment, rather than saving for the future are differences of values that need to be acknowledged and worked with by the Westerner. Otherwise, the power connected with the finances, will be held by the Westerner due to lack of trust, rather than because it is the way that money is handled, at least on the lower economic levels in Africa.

Foreign giving needs to be monitored by people in Africa who understand the dependency issues the money creates, the tendency to imbalance local economies by taking away business and jobs from locals, the empowering through finances of persons who do not hold the position of power in the village, and on and on.

Other recommended reading:

  • The Wolf Shall Dwell with the Lamb by Eric Law ISBN 082724231. Eric Law is Chinese. He explains the difference in perceptions of power in various cultures.
  • People raising by William P. Dillon ISBN 0802464475. Review from People Raising helps clarify the key needs/questions that donors often need answers to do before they decide to invest in a ministry or non-profit. I also appreciated the book's intentionality with incorporating social media into each section. This will continue to be a critical communication skill needed for fundraisers in the future.
  • Funding the Family Business by Miles Wilson ISBN 0955332001. “Having worked with YWAM for some years and now being in so-called normal jobs, we have seen both sides of this process... this fantastic resource will help those who raise support do a better job of building true partnership with their supporters.” Mark and Tracey Books, Gloucester.

For other Africa focus pages, see YWAM Africa.