Board Development, Fundraising Practices, and Fiscal Sustainability of Ukrainian Non-Profits: Research and Recommendations

Jon M. Johnson, School for International Training


Non profits everywhere have issues with their sustainability. To ensure that an organizations become fiscally viable to ensure fulfillment of their mission a diversification of funding sources are essential. It is my opinion that an active and engaged board of directors is vital in setting up such a structure and ensuring long-term sustainability. They can assist in all aspects of developing the funding structure of a non-profit.

Since Ukraine gained their independence in 1991, most no-profits have been donor driven since the fall of the Soviet Union. Governments and foundations put money toward developing an infrastructure and a civil society for Ukraine. That money and support has been steadily leaving the country as the priorities of these donors shift. Support for Ukrainian non-profits has dwindled over the years and competition for grants have become more intense causing some organizations have closed all together.

What this study attempts to do is find out what some organizations are doing as grant support becomes more difficult to get. Are they setting up the infrastructure necessary to sustain themselves? Are they diversifying their revenue stream and funding base? What laws exist that may inhibit their abilities to do so?

Within this capstone, topics that relate with fiscal diversification including building the board of directors, writing grants, hosting special events, practicing face-to-face solicitations, establishing a social enterprise venture, and creating corporate partnerships are covered. Also the professional environment, attitudes and beliefs of non-profit executives, and future prospects are touched upon.

It is recognized that this capstone is in no way meant to broad-brush Ukrainian non-profits. The sample is small in comparison to the number of non-profits registered in country, so the conclusions and recommendations should take this into account. With that being said, I am convinced that the organizations whom I was in contact with are representative of the non-profit field as a whole, and appropriately reflect the general mindset, challenges, and short comings of this sector in Ukraine.

Finally, it is conceded that my personal biases could have influence the presentation and interpretation of the data. I tried hard to be objective, but the questions I posed and the discussions that I had with representatives of this sector may have been influence by my culture, education, and personal biases towards fundraising as a professional endeavor.