An award-winning Man of Excellence, nature-loving, dog dad...meet IFCo India Director, Jim De...
Tell us about your career in a snapshot
I studied project management in Europe that taught me the core concepts of managing a non-profit. I also studied my MBA from Australia. However, having been exposed to poverty and the poor quality of life of children in India, I chose to work in the development sector. I became a director for a non-profit at the early age of 29 and continued there for two decades. Along with that, I also worked as a consultant for a few international charities, guiding and assisting them in managing their projects in India and other parts of Asia. A few years ago, I moved into professional fundraising. My work led me to receive the Man of Excellence Award in 2022, as well as the Mahatma Gandhi Award in 2020 and 2021 for my work with young people, and also for humanitarian work during the pandemic.
What led you down this path?
I spent more than 20 years in the field of social development. I was trained in Europe in Project Management and that gave me a first-hand experience of the North South Divide and how funding is sparse and often difficult to come by in the South. While I continued to work in the development sector, I equally felt the constant need to support others find valuable resources to help find solutions that were local to the environment. Eventually, I studied fundraising to understand more about the practicalities of its management and approach and that got me started in a professional manner in the field of fundraising.
Why International Fundraising Consultancy?
The uniqueness of IFCo is that it is a combination of both the North and the South! While we have directors in the North of the world, we also have directors in the South. This brings greater understanding of both perspectives, and the opportunity to learn from one another. There is such a vast knowledge base within IFCo.
What are the fundraising challenges in your region?
I see two major fundraising challenges:
1. The fact that a country of over 1.3 billion naturally has no shortage of challenges, and the fight to bring in funds to alleviate problems - is highly competitive. Therefore, there is a need for a localised approach in combination with international fundraising.
2. Donors and funders rarely if ever, give funds to an organisation to develop their own fundraising capacity, which limits them to be highly dependent only on the donor world. This creates a catch-22 situation and unless we find ways to help organisations become innovative towards small steps of fundraising, the highly dependent formula on the North will continue to be the only source of funding.
How has the global pandemic affected not-for-profit organisations in your region?
The global pandemic actually saw a large inflow of funds, which was wonderful and well received. Any calamity has impact, but the Covid-19 pandemic has seen something beyond the ordinary in over the past 100 years. However, funds that came in for the pandemic are over now, and organisations have to go back to their core activity and work. Overall, there hasn't been a great impact or drop in funding.
What does the future hold for charitable fundraising?
Charity has been defined in various words and ways around the world. What was relevant as a charity in the 19th and 20th century is probably no longer valid today. Charities are now expected to find professional solutions, and no longer participate in simple humanitarian efforts. However, as long as we live in a world of disparity, human challenges will exist. Until Governments are able to resolve all the challenges, it is charities through civil society that can respond quickly to smaller, but equally important, needs of groups of people and a society. Fundraising will need to find better ways of sustainability and growth. Dependencies need to be reduced in fundraising. Political environments play a crucial role in the field of international relationships and fundraising too. Therefore, finding local resources is the way one needs to proceed.
Jim De is voted in as a world leader…what’s the first thing you do?
What an interesting question! I wish I had the power of the Almighty to end suffering for all living beings! But on a more realistic note, I think I would focus my attention towards investing in human relations and creating a positive energy world where we can all live in harmony, peace, love and compassion. I would equally love to spend time investing in the care of voiceless animals as I am a crazy dog lover, while I love all animals!
Tell us a fun-fact about yourself
I enjoy driving to the mountains and spending time in nature; a good cup of coffee, and time with my dogs!
If your organisation is based in or has a link to Asia and you would like to find out more about how Jim and IFCo India could help you and your organisation reach its goals, then get in touch with Jim today.