The idea of an Arab Foundations Forum (AFF) began as an initiative of a number of Arab foundations, growing from the need for a networking structure for existing foundations in the Arab world. With initial Ford Foundation support, the AFF achieved a set of objectives by successfully completing activities for establishing and institutionalizing the AFF.
AFF Members agreed that AFF should go ahead and start developing the organization strategically, by choosing a set of achievable goals that would advance the further development of AFF from an informal initiative to a professional sustainable organization. This will be achieved by creating a strong governance structure, developing the secretariat and an effective program including funding and communication strategies. The main concern and challenge that has been facing the Forum so far is brining financial resources and sufficient income. This is due to the current global financial crisis.
What We Planned
In order to develop and sustain AFF, the following funding ideas are being considered:
Develop a Five-Year Strategic Funding Plan with the aim to secure the financial sustainability of the forum.
Commission a consultant to locate funding sources, explore new income channels and give guidance on how to implement the strategy.
Raise the yearly membership fees from USD 1000 to USD 3.000; members are welcome to make special donations or to fund special activities.
AFF activities cost a fee (AFF members pay less).
All AFF members are encouraged to help extend the AFF membership base.
AFF Members agreed to increase the membership fees from $1000 to $3000. They are also actively engaged in expanding AFF membership and generating adequate funds for the sustainability of the Forum.
The Defining Moments
AFF members‘ strong belief in the Forum and their initiative to be totally engaged in advancing the mandate of AFF forward by contributing the necessary finances and implementing major activities such as the image and branding of AFF (including new logo, stationary, website), outsourcing consultants for specific jobs, translating AFF by-laws into Arabic and volunteering their human resources when needed.
What Did We Learn?
Members’ dedication, sense of ownership, engagement and commitment were the most important factors in strengthening and sustaining the Forum.