Investing for Social Impact

Written by Steve Blacket on Friday, 04 August 2017. Posted in About Fulcrum Aid

How can supporters of community development be confident their time and money is being used effectively?

Investing for Social Impact

It’s a confusing time for donors. An explosion of small not-for-profit organisations compete with mega-charities in a rapidly changing industry called international development.

At a recent Fulcrum Aid event I asked people what questions they ask when considering whether to give their time or money to a project or an organisation. Their responses addressed concerns such as:

  • How much of the money actually gets there? How much is lost on administration, publicity and travel?
  • How can we be confident the project is actually helping to address the root causes of poverty, and not just providing a short-term “band-aid”?
  • Will it cause communities to become increasingly dependent on foreign support and undermine local leaders and systems?
  • Will the introduction of western ideas and systems damage the local culture and established community leadership?
  • Does the organisation use children as a commodity to generate donations?
  • Is the dignity of the poor and vulnerable respected?

Questions such as these have helped to shape the core principles of Fulcrum Aid’s work. For example:

  • 100% of project donations are delivered to the specified project. Fulcrum Aid doesn’t deduct administrative costs or publicity expenses from donations to projects. We don’t even deduct the cost of visiting the project for our planning and evaluation. All of these costs are met through other funding channels so that our supporters can have confidence their donations are used to maximum effect.
  • Fulcrum Aid only supports projects that empower communities to lift themselves from poverty and suffering. We recognise there are situations where emergency intervention is needed, and we respect organisations that provide this. But Fulcrum Aid’s focus is on long-term resolution of the causes of poverty.
  • Every project supported by Fulcrum Aid is initiated, designed and managed by leaders of the community where the project is based. We offer our expertise to ensure the project is evidence based and implementing best practice, but we do this respecting the rights of the community to determine the shape of their own future.
  • We work as friends with our partners. We don’t degrade them with publicity that portrays them as victims to be rescued, and we don’t use pity or guilt to manipulate supporters.

No doubt you will have your own criteria for determining which development organisations or which projects are worthy of your support. Asking a few discerning questions can mean your valuable time and money will be used to achieve the maximum benefit and avoid causing unintentional harm to vulnerable communities.


About the Author

Steve Blacket

Steve Blacket

Steve is the Managing Director of Fulcrum Aid, an organisation dedicated to sustainable freedom from extreme poverty with partnerships in four countries across Africa and the Asia-Pacific. Steve’s urban ministry in South Australia led to lifelong friendships among the South Sudanese refugee community who requested Steve’s assistance with community development in their homeland. Working with a faith-based organisation Steve initiated and managed various projects in South Sudan including Darfur refugee support, training and resourcing Traditional Birth Attendants, an intervention program for war affected children, a Midwives Training School, a program for girl’s education, and a community agricultural enterprise. Steve also initiated education projects and social enterprises among the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh. Steve returned to Australia in 2013 with a vision of how a small, non-aligned aid organisation committed to assisting early stage, locally initiated projects could make a difference. Partnerships and project opportunities continue to grow, including slavery rehabilitation in South Sudan, social enterprises in Bangladesh, independence schemes for vulnerable young women in Uganda and South Sudan, holistic care for HIV affected children in Bangladesh, and resourcing a Nurse and Midwife School in Juba, South Sudan. Steve’s vision drew support from across Australia and in 2014 he led the founding of Fulcrum Aid, dedicated to supporting in-country leaders and harnessing Australian partners and resources so that local communities could move towards sustainable freedom from extreme inequality and poverty. Today Fulcrum Aid has a dedicated team of Directors and an expert staff including Business, Project, Publicity and Research consultants, supported by Steve in his role as Managing Director.

Contact Steve by email here.


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