Richard Brewster, Executive Director of NCNE, delivered a three-day training workshop on introducing earned-income initiatives to a group of NGOs principally concerned with supporting democratic institutions and acting as watchdogs over government institutions in Romania. There was considerable enthusiasm for the subject and we've recently received some feedback on how organizations have progressed since the training. The local project manager reports:
“Experience on this topic was accumulated, difficulties encountered, enthusiasm and resistance accompanied the decision making process. As an outside observer it is very interesting to see how this idea is gaining support within individual organizations and within the sector.
Some organizations decided to invest time and resources in order to educate their membership (some sort of economic socialization) and postpone the final decision on starting earned income activities until most members feel comfortable and secure with it. Other organizations started the earned income project with limited prior preparation and they had a strong feeling that the newly created division was hijacked by the professional hired to conduct it. Other organizations - like one who wanted to develop a direct mail department - started to think about the opportunity costs and conducted an additional feasibility study on a different idea. Other organizations started to advertise their current services to new customer segments they never approached before to see if this works or not.”
In other words the dilemmas and challenges faced by those looking to earn income are similar to those faced by nonprofit people in the US.