Fundraising Radicals [00:00:03]:
Hello, and welcome to this new episode of the Fundraising Radicals Podcast. I'm your host, Craig Pollard. The Fundraising Radicals Podcast is about turning the world of fundraising upside down by sharing and exploring fresh global perspectives on nonprofit, fundraising and leadership. These unscript conversations with friends and colleagues, old and new, ordinary and inspiring people who are fundraising and leading community projects causes charities and social enterprises in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America, and beyond the traditional boundaries of the nonprofit sector. I hope today's conversation challenges and inspires you to think differently about the world of fundraising and your place in it. I hope it helps you to reflect on your own fundraising practice and leadership. But now it's time for another dose of global fundraising ideas and inspiration. Today's guest on the fundraising radicals podcast is Emilyta Monville oro. Emily is the Philippines country director and Asia director for IIR, the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction. Emily qualified and worked as a pediatric nurse for nearly a decade before making a shift into public health and international development without even knowing what an NGO actually was, she knew she wanted to grow her impact and address systemic issues. So moved into advocacy, which she has now been doing for 25 years now, Emily is a natural storyteller. She loves to talk. They're her words.
Fundraising Radicals [00:01:41]:
And she loves to sing videokey. She always wears her heart on her sleeve. Her vulnerability, kindness, closeness to the cause, her passion and deep care for her staff and community set a wonderful example that shines through in every single conversation I have ever had with her. And these are also the things that donors respond to. Emily is a graduate of the very first cohort of our Fundraising leadership program. Six months into the program, she raised an unrestricted donation of $320,000 from a wealthy individual in Manila and established a brand new corporate partnership. Today, she'll share how she went about raising this large, unrestricted donation and how funding for her core costs has enabled her team to invest in innovation. I know our conversation is going to be helpful for any organization that is seeking development funding from international institutions, from aligning agendas with donors to the importance of visibility and positioning to receive funding. I have learned way more from Emily about leadership than she has from me about fundraising. So I've no doubt that there is going to be a lot of brilliant ideas and thoughtful, practical guidance here that you can put into action and make sure to listen to the end. If you want to find out from Emily how to survive the relentless job that is fundraising, I know you're going to really enjoy meeting Emily today.
Craig Pollard [00:03:05]:
Thank you so much for joining me. It's lovely to see you.
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:03:09]:
Thank you. Thank you, Craig, for the opportunity.
Craig Pollard [00:03:12]:
Where are you? Let's start there.
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:03:14]:
I'm at home. So after COVID, we had this hybrid type of work. I think that's one thing that we learned from COVID So we go to the office whenever we are most needed. So it's like a hybrid. And I think people are productive, they are responsible, they know their deliverables. And as long as you have a monitoring system in place, I think it worked out well so far.
Craig Pollard [00:03:45]:
That requires trust.
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:03:48]:
Definitely. Well, I think as of now, especially, we are working in development. I believe that it takes a special kind of values and personality to be doing this kind of work. And I believe that my staff have them, so I have to trust them because otherwise you always live in suspicion and all. And that will not be healthy for me and also not healthy for them if I am always on their box and looking at. But we do have good systems of planning, and we ensure that we have that in place. And in fact, I just finished going around our field sites, so we did our planning with our partners, with our technical team. I brought them in our learning sites. So once they have that, then they can just go on and implement whatever programs we have agreed.
Craig Pollard [00:04:50]:
Yeah. And where in the Philippines are you based? Is home in Manila.
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:04:57]:
Our campus, the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, the center campus is in Silang Kavita, and I live in Tagaitai, which is like 30 minutes drive from the campus. So we have a nice place here. It's actually sunny today. It's cooler compared to Manila. So on weekends, people come here to enjoy the small volcano within the lake. And a bit cooler temperature than Manila, right?
Craig Pollard [00:05:31]:
Yeah, it's hot. So tell me a bit about you, about how you because obviously you're country Director for the Philippines, and you're acting Asia Regional Director for IIRR, and your focus is on nutrition advocacy. But I just wonder, where did that come from? How did you get into nutrition advocacy? Because it is not an easy thing to do and to get funding for. So I was wondering what led you what started you off on this path?
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:06:01]:
Yeah, I think it's also linked to my background. I graduated Bachelor of Science in nursing, so I practice nursing. I actually worked in a private hospital for eight years. And I think this is a pediatric hospital and combination of medical surgical cases. And that allowed me to really do this. Not even a profession, but it's like a service, I think, when you take care of sick people and all. But of course, in the hospital, people are grumpy, they're not feeling good and all. And it's also sad if somebody dies and you're not able to help them recover from their illness. And I think when I shifted gears and joined the development, I also had my public health. I shifted also from a more therapeutic to a more health promotion. Because in public health, why do you have to go to hospital? Can you not be healthy? Can you not eat the proper kind of food so that you don't have to spend so much in medicines? Especially nowadays, it's so expensive to get sick. And the most affected are the poor people because they don't even have medical insurances. They don't even have extra money. And I think that background and that realization that, hey, we can actually do something. But why people are still sick? Why are they still not eating the right kind of food? Maybe they don't know the implications of the food that they are eating. Maybe they don't just have access to the nutritious food because marketing is there. And we have been influenced by what we see on television and all the promotion of processed food and all. So I thought most probably that is where that advocacy is coming from. And I am thankful that at least there are global programs that are pushing for sustainable and healthier diets.
Craig Pollard [00:08:31]:
I remember Starkly in the Philippines, traveling with my sort of young son, visiting my sister who lived in Manila for a while. Just the sheer volume of sugary food snacks and how hard it was to find healthy nutritious food in Manila, in the center of Manila. And we were really shocked by that.
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:08:54]:
Yeah. And our non communicable diseases is really on top of cause of deaths and sickness, illnesses, morbidity and mortality, diabetes mellitus, heart hypertension, cardiovascular heart diseases. And it really points out to our diet, unfortunately, I think in Southeast Asia, where among our neighbors, we are the less vegetable and fruit eaters, and we have observed that those who are well off, they are actually the ones conscious about healthier diets. But when you talk about vegetables and fruits, it's also expensive. And there are a lot of studies that we have also been doing about fruits and vegetables. We have a new project now with Biodiversity Alliance, and it's on fruits and vegetables for sustainable, healthy diet. And it really aims to understand about motivations preferences and how we can really increase production of fruits and vegetables so that there is access to it.
Craig Pollard [00:10:10]:
And that's funded by the Biodiversity Alliance.
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:10:13]:
Yeah, it's a global program now we have the One CG program, and some CG organizations have developed this longer term programs, and one of that is the Fresh Project. And we're fortunate to be a partner of the Alliance Biodiversity and Seed, as they are like, also co lead of this program with World Vegetable.
Craig Pollard [00:10:46]:
Where does your funding come from?
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:10:49]:
Well, I've always mentioned this to you even before I had my fundraising radicals training, that it's. It's really a challenge. It's so competitive nowadays, fundraising, definitely. There are a lot of organizations, big or small, here in the Philippines, in the region, and donors actually has their own agenda, and you have to fit into that. And I think that happens when most of the funding that we have are program based or project based. And I can still say that maybe more than 50% 60% of our funding still come from that category. So we develop proposals from international donors.
Craig Pollard [00:11:42]:
Funding specific programs and projects.
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:11:45]:
Yeah, from international donors. There are donors that focus on research type of projects and since we are doing evidence based work, we conduct action research. So that is one type of donor that we have some more research based projects. And this is where partnership with CGR I was telling you about and with IDRC Canada for example, because they really focus on research and there are donors that look at funding implementing programs or projects and these are based on some different themes. For example, there are those that fund disaster risk reduction and humanitarian organizations. Unfortunately in the Philippines we're like very high risk when you talk about disasters and climate change. So definitely we have to integrate that in the programs that we are doing. So it's like tweaking your particular program so that it also aligns with the priority agenda of the donor so that there is a match there. So we are helping them achieve their agenda while we are also implementing our own vision, mission goals. And I really like the new trend now of the philanthropic organization. And you've mentioned about trust and the trust based giving is really something that I would want to pursue more because one, they're looking at unrestricted grants, although you will be asked what you wanted to do, what do you want to deliver, but you control the funds on how you use them, where you use them, and when you use them. And I felt like this is where the mature organization is being respected in terms of our capacity to make decisions. And yeah, one big example of course is the AVPN, the Ishaventure Philanthropic Network and Craig, I have a second grant from them.
Craig Pollard [00:14:14]:
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:14:15]:
Craig Pollard [00:14:15]:
Because you were on stage you were on stage talking about trust based philanthropy, weren't you?
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:14:21]:
Yes, this is donor relationship and I really appreciate that they are providing us opportunity to share our work because I can imagine that there are a lot of great work but they are not being shared and they are not being heard. But there are donors like this. Actually most of them, I got invitation through their learning workshop, through educating their donors and I grabbed every opportunity to be able to do that because track record is very important. But visibility is much more important. Even if you have that good work, if you are not able to share it in any other medium, whether in your website, in the social media, in the conferences and all those materials that we produce, policy, brief, publications I think this allowed you to reach as many people, as many donor as possible who would be able to support the work that you are doing.
Craig Pollard [00:15:31]:
And that's a huge challenge. There's obviously a huge sort of mutual reinforcement between communications and fundraising. But many smaller organizations, particularly have to make that choice. Do we focus on the visibility of our programs or do we focus on building partnerships with potential donors? How do you make those decisions? How would the smaller organizations, for example, make those decisions around whether to invest in communications or fundraising or a blend of those?
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:16:01]:
Yeah, actually I really invest in my devcom person. It's a development communication person. But I think for small organization, I don't think it's really a choice, Craig. It's a requirement. And you don't also really need to have a specialist. But how you integrate and mainstream communications into your fundraising work. Marketing is fundraising. Sharing your work is fundraising. Documenting your outcomes and sharing it to others, especially those donors, are very much critical to your success in fundraising. So I would really encourage every organization to look at how they can strengthen their communication strategies or marketing strategies. And it is just, in plain and simple term, it is just sharing the good work that you are doing, whether you are speaking to an individual donor or you are presenting in a conference or a workshop, or whether you are just writing or tweeting, something like that. And there are so many platforms already, it's like there at your fingertips.
Craig Pollard [00:17:29]:
What so true.
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:17:31]:
You just need to be creative. You don't even need some resources sometimes.
Craig Pollard [00:17:35]:
And I remember having a conversation with you maybe a year or so ago and we were talking about how when presenting your work, everything you do is part of your case for support. Everything you put out there into the world is potentially an opportunity for a donor to learn about your work, for somebody with influence and networks to connect with you. And that has its downsides as well because there are risks to that. So it's super important, I think, from what you're saying around having this clarity of the communication, but also ensuring that fundraising is in everything we do sort of runs right through the core of the organization. Because essentially what you say fundraising is just communicating your work. It's just for a slightly different outcome. It's just to secure more resources, right?
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:18:24]:
Yeah, that's right. Of course you need to be convincing in the first place. I know people also need some special skills. I think. Me, I like to talk, I like to tell stories, what I'm doing, I'm a bit of animated and all, but I think when you have that passion, when you have that inspiration and determination, I think it shows with the people that you talk to, with the stories that you share. And if you are like sharing from your heart and sharing from the experiences, you don't really need to think of the words that you have to say. It comes because it's something that you have experience and it's something that you are longing for, something that you want to achieve and you want to communicate that and you want to ask for people's help and support. But maybe not everyone can be like that. But in the organization you just also select people who may be able to help out. Because there are some people who are maybe.
Craig Pollard [00:19:48]:
What you said was really important. There around sort of passion and determination shining through. And I do feel like that so many people who are successful at getting their projects funded and turning them into a reality have that passion and that grit and determination. Where does that come from for you?
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:20:14]:
Well, I've been with the Institute with this kind of development work for almost 25 years coming July. And I think that mission becomes your life. And that passion, it's because you're living your life and your mission and you feel very happy and the team is very happy whenever you have new funding or new grants that you have gotten. And for us, new resources, additional resources would allow us to do more work. More work would mean helping more people. For us, we have been working uplift the lives of the rural poor, especially the smallholder farmers, the fisher folk. Usually they are the marginalized one, right? They are the ones always being affected and not a lot of people are there to help them. I've been to the field and I think I've seen conditions of the people. And for us, when we have more resources, we have more programs. So the more we are able to help those who needed most help, the marginalized children are so powerless. Right. They are dependent on us adult. And if we will not be advocating for their right, their right to food and their right to proper nutrition, who will? Yeah, so I think I've been to this. It's not something that I plan for. I'm like in the hospital working 8 hours, night Juty, morning jute and all of a sudden, hey, I don't know, I just wanted to shift and I didn't even know what an NGO is. But I was led there. So I think this is something that I am called for. Yeah. Sorry, Craig. I'm always emotional.
Craig Pollard [00:22:31]:
No, of course. But when you're living it and I think when you're in it and it becomes so personal and it's from your heart and it's about passion, it is your life. Can I ask how you sort of it's not your job, it is your life. How do you manage and sort of protect yourself from what is an overwhelming challenge?
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:23:03]:
Yeah, it's also a big challenge for us, like being a director. I think there is a lot of responsibility, accountability and fundraising. You just don't stop because projects would end. And before the project ends, you have to ensure that there are new projects coming in and the balance is very important. I am actually trying to make sure that I have rest periods. Going for a holiday, even for three days, going to the beach with the family, recharging. I think that is most important. I'll make sure that my weekends, as much as possible is non work. We can have some time with friends, go out with the family, just dine out. I hope I can sing more. In the Philippines, we have video care, right? So we can sing our hearts out. And I have found out that whenever I sing, it lowers my blood pressure, so it relaxes me and all. And this work is stressful. And it's really unfortunate that sometimes your health is affected when you work late night, you are not able to sleep well because you have a deadline for your proposals and all. So yeah, that we have to remind ourselves that we need to have a balance. There should be a time for relaxation and all. And I also go to church and I think it's also part of your humanity that you also take care of your spiritual, your mental health. Yeah, I'm saying this, but it's still a challenge for me. I still need to do more of this balancing. And decentralizing, I think, is important because it's not just you. And fundraising is also a team effort. There are things that I really delegate to some people. If we need to bring in some consultants who can help us and capitalizing on the strength of our technical team also.
Craig Pollard [00:25:45]:
Yeah, it's not easy. I remember having that conversation with you about how fundraising, particularly, it's sort of a beast that is never satisfied. No matter how much effort and time you put into it, it just demands more.
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:26:08]:
I like your term beast.
Craig Pollard [00:26:12]:
It's never satisfied. And I think we have to remember that. And it's incredibly hard to do when we feel deeply passionate and connected to our causes. But we must remember that often, if we fall over, there's nobody else to do that, to bring in the resources that our organizations, that our causes and charities need to do that work that we feel so passionately about. So not only is it sort of spiritually important, mental health, spiritual health, physical health, having a life beyond the project, but I feel like it makes good sense in terms of management as well, and leadership to make sure that everyone in your team, because you have a big responsibility for many people. How do you cascade that within your culture, your trusting culture, to make sure that particularly in an age where it's hard to switch off and everyone's always available and we can just talk across borders like this, how do you build that culture and lead so that people within fundraising and with other areas take responsibility and do look after themselves?
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:27:25]:
Yeah, I think I am also one person who would invest in team building, in bringing the team in one place where they can relax, they can just establish relationships, especially now. I was telling you that hybrid model, there was time where you have consultants also, you haven't seen them. They have done work for you, but it's really different when you spend some time face to face and all right? So once a year we really have team building event. For example, we bring all the staff and have those sports activities, games so that they can relax, establish also camaraderie. Sometimes this I realize that when you are communicating, for example, by email, sometimes you misinterpret messages and all, but when you talk face to face, and also when you understand that personality of that individual, you come to understand him or her. Even if it's something offensive when you are hearing it for the first time. But because you understand that person always is really like that. He will come around. So all this are resolved, all the conflicts are resolved. So that, one, we have activities and platforms that allow staff to relax. Second is whenever they ask for leave, whether sick leave or holiday, it's something that we really allow and they know that it should not interfere with the schedule of their activities. During one on one discussion performance appraisal, I always tell them you're the one doing your activities, you're the one planning it. Insert time so that you can have time to have your holiday or your time with your family, especially those for us Filipinos, there are important events, family events, reunion, birthdays and all. This is not a big issue for me if they really have to take that time off because it's important for them. And that would also be critical for how they perform it's because they know that the supervisor or the organization, it's not just valuing the work that they are doing, but them as a person and their health, as well as how they can be happy. So that's important to me also.
Fundraising Radicals [00:30:30]:
If you're enjoying this conversation and would like to hear other global perspectives on fundraising and leadership in the nonprofit sector, then please do subscribe using the links in the show notes. If you want to find out more about our work, please do visit our website, fundraisingradicals.com. Now back for the conversation.
Craig Pollard [00:30:54]:
Does this sort of culture of trust and support that you're building? Is that why it works so well when you bring donors in? Do they personally respond to that and feel part of that culture? Do you sort of extend it to them and bring them in?
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:31:11]:
Yeah, I believe so. And this is really true to program managers, because I can say now that I have established mid level leaders, see, they are not directors, but they are managing their programs. Been with us for like five years. And in the past I always make sure that I am there when there are donors, big or small. But now I can already make decision wherein I will not be there. I think you can handle it. And there are already instances like that. For example, we have a foundation with whom I already have established some relationship and my manager who had implemented the project with them, they already knew. And I know that my manager knows more about the technical than I am. And I have seen how they also made presentations, good ones. We comment on those so that they can improve later on, how they talk, what they should emphasize and all. Yeah, I had some sharing. I told you about what I learned also in the fundraising radicals, to them, the tools that we had. So they have to start somewhere. I started somewhere. Maybe I learned the hard way when I didn't have any training. Right. It's just some testing of the things and all reading. But I think it's really the experience, the opportunity to test it out that would allow you to learn. I mean, whatever trainings, whatever books, at the end of the day, it's how you execute these things. And you can only assess yourself if you have experiences. So I allow that particular opportunity to my senior staff. I call them the managers or the mid level, and I'm happy because they're the ones who will be I won't be in the institute for the rest of my life, too right. So there should be like second liners, leaders who can continue on. So there is sustainability for the organization.
Craig Pollard [00:33:39]:
Also interesting, I think having the training is important, I guess, as a benchmark to know you have the tools at your disposal right, to do high value fundraising. But I think high value fundraising is one of those things you can only do you can only learn by doing it. You can learn the theory. It's important to have a sort of grounding, but you don't need much. You need to understand the core basics of how to do this. But then going out and actually putting this into practice and having real life conversations with donors, I don't think there's nothing that can sort of prepare you for that, because every single conversation is so different. Every partnership has a different journey, and every person fundraising is the same. It has a completely different experience as well. It's very different for me and you. We could meet with the same donor and have very different experiences because of who we are and because of that interaction.
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:34:36]:
Yeah, that's correct. Craig but having said that, I really appreciate cases, I really appreciate stories of success, and I think it allows you to learn from those experiences and to strategize. But this is my own context. What would I do if they did it this way, given their own context? So there is really a lot of room for creativity, I think, innovativeness, to develop new ways of doing things. But definitely there is a lot to be learned from the experiences of those who have succeeded. Why reinvent the wheel, they say, right. But it's a combination.
Craig Pollard [00:35:22]:
I think, as somebody who has raised a large chunk of unrestricted income from a wealthy individual, can you and in terms of sharing your experience, because I think this is actually incredibly helpful for people to hear about sort of raising funding within your country from wealthy individuals. Can you talk tell me a little bit more about some of the non institutional, non international donors. So wealthy individuals, companies, et cetera, that have funded your work in the Philippines, who are based in the Philippines?
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:35:58]:
Well, we do have not a lot individual donors. They contribute to the work that we are doing in the Philippines. Few Filipinos, but there are also like international meaning they just knew about the organization and believe in the organization and what we are doing. And I'm also amazed how they can be continuously providing support. I think ten years or more. And every year I was thinking, will they still fund this year? But it's like every year we need to think about what we are doing and what we want to do more and how it will excite them as contributor to our work or as a donor. I think it's really important that what we do results to something very tangible. Results in terms of reaching children, being able to educate their parents, the women, the school gardens that we have established for the feeding program and to what extent we can really look at that advocacy for nutrition, the right to food and the right to proper nutrition. I think when you excite them, then for them, they are part of our success. And I think that is important that most of these people are philanthropists. They also would want to give back, given what the blessings that they have had. And if you become like a platform by which they can do that, I think they also appreciate that and then that they are contributing to a valuable work.
Craig Pollard [00:38:14]:
That's super important. That's super important. Right? I think it's often mistaken that fundraising, the value flows sort of from the donor to the organization. But I think it's super important to recognize that donors, when they donate, get a huge amount of value out of that experience, that connection, that impact.
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:38:37]:
Yeah. And one thing that I also noted is they appreciate it when we bring in other resources together along with their contribution. So they are not just the one funding it and they know that we are leveraging their funds to be able to bring in bigger funds. Of course, individual donors sometimes will not be very big, but a combination would be good. But what I liked about it, it's actually unrestricted per se. You'd be able to use it to fund the staff that you need to support, to be able to do the work that you have committed. And that time allows you to talk to more donors, to other organizations, so you bring in more resources, so you can do more. And the whole thing is like the result of their contribution also, even if that contribution is just part of. The whole big thing.
Craig Pollard [00:39:45]:
But that's a sort of maybe under recognized impact of unrestricted funding is the freedom that it gives you to be able to put the money where it's most needed, where the resources, but also that mentality of being able to go out freeing you to go out and raise more funding without having to tie that effort to a specific project or a specific program. You say a big unrestricted donation that is so hard to deliver. And I'm really interested in understanding a little bit more about that journey, about from the start. Where did that donor originally come from, how long did it take for them to donate and how has that conversation evolved over the years?
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:40:33]:
Well, I think one of our individual donor is also a member of our board. But he recognized, I mean, there is really an intention to help the Philippines because he's also a Filipino and he had seen the work that we are doing in the past and I think knew about the organization, of course for a long time and believe in the work that we are doing. But of course some people will just give one time, right? Once or twice. But the mere fact that it's like continuously giving for the last ten years I think would indicate that there is that partnership, that relationship that have already been built with him. And every time that we had proposed activities, he gets excited because we are also using the funds in terms of developing new ideas. So it's like an innovation fund for us since it's more or less there is already flexibility. I think it's really the trust also to the organization and believing in what the organization does. The other donor that we have is also like that whenever we report on the things that we have done, they are so appreciative and then commit again to provide some more support.
Craig Pollard [00:42:15]:
You talk about unrestricted funding. I don't really believe in unrestricted funding. I feel like, you know, this every bit of funding is restricted in some way and it's just basically a continuum about finding the balance between what the donor wants and what the organization wants. And obviously the less restriction, the more valuable that is because they have all of the added benefits of freedom and confidence and trust and that builds within a nonprofit. How in your experience do you move somebody from funding a program or a project to funding your purpose to, I guess restricting their funding instead of program or a project to the purpose of the organization? Because that's essentially what unrestricted fundraising is.
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:43:07]:
Yeah, and actually the big funding that I got from the trust based giving experiment that they're doing, I can say it's not fully unrestricted because as I've mentioned, you still have to tell them what programs, what kind of outcomes are you delivering out of that particular program. So I think what's happening is you are given more leeway to make decisions on where to allocate the funds. Situations change from the time that you do your proposal to the time that you are implementing and that flexibility allow you to make those adjustments in the budget allocation. What I also like about the unrestricted fund is it allows you to look at covering your core cost, your overheads, which are actually real cost, and it is needed for the organization to move on or to operate. But even in the restricted fund, I can imagine that you are asking them to look at your purpose as an organization. Because I think in the proposals that we are developing, we also looked at our own goals and objectives. What kind of impacts do we want to see at the end of our programs? Not projects, so it's more longer term. We already know that we would want women to be economically empowered and we will be able to do that through a lot of strategies like asset building, providing them livelihoods, capacity building, et cetera. So I would say that all these programs, proposals that we are developing are really translations of the purpose of the organization. Achieving the purpose of the organization.
Craig Pollard [00:45:30]:
I mean, fundraising for advocacy work, for nutrition advocacy work is extremely challenging. And you said working in the Philippines is regarded internationally as a high risk with the governance. How do you manage that relationship with the government? How do you find that balance between working with them as an enabling partner but also holding them to account with your nutrition advocacy work?
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:45:57]:
Well, very interesting. And I can say I am enjoying really being part of the scaling up nutrition movement, civil Society network and our alliance in the Philippines. We just finished our strategic plan for 2023 2025. So we have energized and we want to have this plan executed. And I really like it that there is a big push for the right to food and nutrition. We just finished our sanja. The scaling up nutrition joint assessment in the Philippines. This has been organized by the National Nutrition Council which is the sun government lead in the Philippines with Dr. Apeta Yang Hirang. She's also an amazing advocate for nutrition, leading the National Nutrition Council and even very much engaged at the global. That's why I like her, because I'm also like that it's not just Philippines. There is the region and the global because I thought this are linked when sometimes what's happening around influence the inside. And we also have this in the work in the community that we do. You do not confine yourselves within the community. You have to let them look outside and see what people are doing. And I think it's the same in the country and in the Philippines. It's part of our advocacy to make sure that the Philippines also look outside the Philippines and see what other leaders are doing, why others are moving better than we are in terms of nutrition and I think this is what we are bringing in in our advocacy. And then it allows you to facilitate that reflection. Why did they do well? What is it that we are not doing well and what can we do more? So that's 1 second is you really have to have good working relationship. I mean, at the end of the day, that's why sun is looking at multistakeholder platform. It didn't say that UCSO just try to put pressure and all so that the other stakeholders would invest in attrition and be accountable. But it's that idea of working together, that idea of making them understand your viewpoint and compromise on what can be done and making sure that at the end of the day you are looking at the same outcome and you would want to contribute that. I think what I also realized that the government value contributions. But at the same time for us we should maintain our role. And our role is to make sure that things are moving well, because sometimes commitment would be there, but after a year it doesn't happen. Somebody has to say that it didn't happen. So what happened? And I think the different networks in the Philippines, I like it that there is already the sun business network in the Philippines there is the development partners.
Craig Pollard [00:49:39]:
That'S linking with the private sector.
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:49:42]:
Yeah, the private who are interested, who.
Craig Pollard [00:49:44]:
Have an interest in nutrition advocacy too.
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:49:46]:
Yes, and they have resources and they are also willing to support the work that the civil society is doing. These are not big companies, these are more foundations. Corporate social responsibility in the Philippines is very strong now and like we just have the sanja and there are priority agenda for the next year. And I thought I like it because it has been derived from consultation participatory approaches. We spent like two days together to be able to assess our work and plan and agree on the priority. But I as a civil society suggested so what do we do with this priority? Each priority has to have plan and let's have a technical working group so that after a year there is really something that we are able to achieve because sometimes the momentum gets lost. So I think this is part of our advocacy to ensure that that momentum is not lost and we continue to sustain the efforts and everybody has to contribute either resources, their expertise and their authority, because the government would have that level of authority to bring together the other stakeholders.
Craig Pollard [00:51:21]:
Also really interesting, because you mentioned the private sector network, do you see increasing opportunities for funding partnerships with companies within the Philippines?
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:51:35]:
Well, I have seen the sun business network composition. Most of them are foundations and I don't know if most of them, but I can see that they also have development goals, this corporate social responsibility and foundation. And not all of them are food companies because there are conflicts when you talk about food and beverages. But I can see that they are saying that they have resources but they don't actually have capacity. Like they don't know which work in terms of programs and project. And this is where the civil society can come in. So there is also a matching of where they work and where we work. So we're doing some mapping and all and I think the government also wanted that and we're also developing some subnational sun networks. I mean at the regions that we have here in the Philippines, we have started doing that so we can engage more local organizations which are the ones doing work on the ground. So I like those progress that we are doing and we're looking at developing package of interventions as civil society. So this is what we are recommending, given that we have tested it and we know that it worked. It has evidence of benefits for food security and nutrition. And then bring that to the Sun Business Network so they can think about supporting some of this. Bring this to the local government units because they also have their own funding and then they are the ones implementing the projects on the ground. So it's like bringing together all this knowledge and resources and looking at how this can be implemented at the various level. So I think that can work.
Craig Pollard [00:53:52]:
But it's extremely challenging. It's extremely challenging because you're constantly having to find a line when it comes to funding and others about because your advocacy targets and your audiences are also the potential funding audiences as well.
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:54:11]:
Yeah, it's true and it's really different level, but our challenge is to bring in the different organizations to our network. Like for now, the civil society network that we have are a bit restricted to mostly national and international organizations in the Philippines that has nutrition as their program. But that's why I'm a big promoter of an advocate of nutrition sensitive programming. Because when you talk about nutrition sensitive programming, you're talking to all people that they can integrate nutrition in their programs, whatever you are doing. That's why if there is one thing that I would do even on my own, maybe that's just one thing, nutrition sensitive programming, because it brings investment, big or small for nutrition. And anyway, the most important for people is really what you eat, that you are alive and gives you whatever. Otherwise you cannot enjoy this beautiful world.
Craig Pollard [00:55:26]:
In the hierarchy of needs. It's pretty foundational.
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:55:30]:
Craig Pollard [00:55:31]:
Thank you so much for your time today, Emily. I know I've really enjoyed as always talking to you and you've shared such interesting experiences and deeply relevant experiences as well that I think a lot of other people will enjoy listening to. So I massively appreciate your time today. Thank you so much.
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:55:55]:
Thank you. Thank you, Craig. I hope there is something into whatever I have shared, but yeah, that's great and thank you so much for the opportunity.
Craig Pollard [00:56:12]:
It feels like trust sort of weaves through every single thing, every part of your work and your interactions, your conversations, whether it's with staff, with donors, with government, is such a fundamental part of what you do. And I think, to be honest, I think that's your ability to build trust and through stories or whatever, I think is one of the foundational elements to why you've been so successful with your fundraising.
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:56:40]:
Yeah. And I think relationship building plays a big part of it, and you cannot do it short term. So if you want to do fundraising and want to for me, you really have to invest time. You really have to invest time because it takes time for somebody to trust you and for you to trust somebody. So that's most critical.
Craig Pollard [00:57:06]:
Yeah. And just showing up, constantly showing up, and being there, and being that sort of consistent, passionate, determined person.
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:57:17]:
I'm happy with what I'm doing, Craig, so far, even after 25 years, actually, I was like, thinking, oh, shall I retire from IRR? Because it's already 25 years and now we actually have a new project with IDRC. Canada, just on our Concept Note has been accepted, and it's more or less 2 million card because it's a consortium based for like 42 months, I think. But it's like, again, they know us. They believe that we can deliver. And we have brought in a lot of partners. So it's not just us that they are funding. They are also funding the universities that we have brought in. And I think they liked it. And because of the combination of inputs, the Concept Note was like, even rank highly by the panel. And it's an invitation. It's not a very competitive not a.
Craig Pollard [00:58:33]:
Very competitive that's a fantastic position to be in.
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:58:36]:
Craig Pollard [00:58:39]:
You think about retiring, then all of a sudden these incredibly exciting new programs and projects and just enough to keep you.
Emilita Monville-Oro [00:58:46]:
That's why I said, hey, how can I retire? This is another four, three to four year project and I've now committed to it. But anyway, God knows whatever is given to me. Thank you very much, Craig.
Fundraising Radicals [00:59:04]:
I told you that you would enjoy meeting Emily today. We've talked about the importance of trust in fundraising. From actively trusting our teams to do the work they've been hired to do, to trust based giving so that donations are less restricted and under the control of the nonprofit and all of the things that this allows us to do. We've talked about the idea of creating a philanthropic organization that is fit to receive funding and how trust based leadership can build a positive organizational culture that extends out to and welcomes in donors, and how all of the parts of your organization are critical to fundraising. And Emily has offered guidance on something that every single fundraiser needs. How to find the balance between the endless and relentless job that can be fundraising, and the stress of running a large team with targets while also maintaining the wellbeing of that team and our own spiritual, mental and physical health. Our own wellbeing is often an overlooked foundation of fundraising success. I hope you've enjoyed listening to this episode of the Fundraising Radicals podcast and that this conversation has challenged, informed, and maybe even inspired you and your fundraising leadership practice. Please do check out the show notes, subscribe to the podcast on the platform of your choice, and do visit Fundraisingradicals.com to find out all the ways in which we're working to empower, equip, and engage fundraisers all over the world.