The story behind Business English for NGOs…
I grew up in a family where community participation, neighborhood involvement, and civic engagement mattered as much as academic achievement. One of the most important values in our home was to connect with something larger than yourself, and to follow your passion in life towards meaningful and purposeful actions. My parents also encouraged me to learn about, discuss, and speak out on social issues that concerned me; and to build relationships with people from different backgrounds and perspectives.
As a university student, I met young people from Central and Eastern Europe before the revolutions of 1989. I admired their passion and optimism as they committed themselves to helping their home countries transition from old regimes to new democracies. Five years after the Velvet Revolution, I travelled to Europe for the first time. The Czech Republic and Poland were among the first places I visited. The people and communities throughout the CEE region continue to hold a special place in my thoughts and actions.
Organizations need resources to achieve their goals. But organizations also often face a difficult choice between taking a risk on new and unfamiliar strategies, at the expense of losing their stability; or focusing on their existing efforts at the cost of ignoring additional support. This is especially true for NGOs dependent solely on government funding, charitable contributions, or small donor support.
Diversification of funding helps to ensure consistency in difficult times, and positioning for success in good times. Yet NGOs face increasing demand for their services and decreasing availability of traditional funding. These challenges are particularly intense for NGOs and social enterprises that are limited in their English language abilities.
Many potential resource channels are ignored, overlooked, or underused by groups that lack the time, skill, or knowledge to access funding and support that is often available only (or primarily) in English language formats. Limited information, unfamiliarity with strategy options, and lack of confidence in moving outside comfort zones leaves too many good groups vulnerable changing circumstances.
I aim to increase the level of access to existing and emerging funding. I hope to position more organizations towards greater long-range stability, growth, and success. Ans I seek to expand the perspectives around the value of NGO work, social enterprises, and philanthropy across the CEE region.