On May 27, 2010 a conference dedicated to the sustainability problems of NGOs brought together 60 representatives of Georgian and Eastern European NGOs to discuss the most pressing challenges and to find possible solutions. Being part of a larger initiative, this event aimed at exposing Georgian non-governmental organizations to the knowledge and skills essential for sustainability and experiences of the Eastern European countries in fundraising, volunteerism, legislative development and social enterprise creation.
Implemented by the OSGF’s Civil Society Support Program in cooperation with the East/East Network Program the NGO sustainability initiative had several components: study tour to the Czech Republic and Slovakia for 15 Georgian participants in January 2010; April 19 and May 27 conferences on sustainability issues. Within the framework of the initiative publication of conference materials is also planned.
The May 27 conference featured leaders of civil society organizations from Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia and Czech Republic that offered their insights on how to become successful and financially sustainable; what are the opportunities and threats for NGOs in transitional countries. Speakers inspired lively discussions, encouraged participation and provoked deeper thinking.
“The Conference provided a different perspective on what sustainability means”, “provided new ideas on how to attract volunteers”, “we learned about the innovative fundraising mechanisms and roles and responsibilities of professional fundraisers”- said the conference participants -“we will take many of these ideas and implement them in our work.”
The OSGF hopes that the conference will lead to new thoughts and innovative ideas for solving critical challenges and these ideas will be turned into real action.