Fundraising

Highlights

Often when asked to disclose the secret to my successful track record infundraising,I say that one has to be committed to the cause you are raising funds for and be thorough in researching into the intricacies of the issues involved and the concerns of the stakeholders.

My metric for success in fundraising is whether I have managed to bring on board yet another strong ally for my cause. Money follows on it’s own. Winning partners and friends for my cause is where I seek fulfillment…

I have multiplied funding and diversified donor base for a variety of causes ranging from Children, HIV AIDS, Inter-Ethnic issues, Women’s empowerment, Refugees, Road Injuries, Global health etc.

  • Diversified and enhanced the funding portfolio of the Geneva Health Forum within six months of joining the organization. Led the shift from ‘donor’ to ‘partner’ concept in fundraising.
  • Initiated UNICEF Malaysia’s engagement with the private sector, which led to high profile fundraising.
  • Conducted a detailed mapping exercise of Singapore’s fundraising potential for UNICEF’s Private Sector Fundraising Division, Geneva.
  • Increased the donor portfolio of the Centre for Refugees and Forced Migration Studies from mono to multi and diversified.
  • Increased ECMI’s donor portfolio ten folds in Macedonia within 2 yrs and established multi-year framework agreements with bilateral and multilateral donors at the field and HQ level.

Details of my fundraising portfolio can be read here

What ?

sector

Where ?

When ?

With whom ?

Mapping fundraising prospects and partnership support for UNICEF+
Mapping fundraising prospects and partnership support for UNICEF

Sector?

Child Rights, Humanitarian emergencies

What?

Fundraising;Assessments & Evaluations; Strategic Planning, Strategic Communication; Strategic Partnerships

Where?

Singapore

Why?

The global leadership of UNICEF wanted to explore the feasibility of setting up an operation in Singapore. Amendments to laws pertaining to the functioning of charities and foundations in Singapore were a trigger to these explorations.

When?

2007

What exactly?

In 2007 I conducted an in- depth mapping exercise for possible support to UNICEF in Singapore. To enhance the possibility of a quick and informed decision by the senior management, I produced a short video documentary capturing the essence of the mapping exercise. Directed by Sunanda Asthana, an Associate at ProCube, this documentary proved to be a valuable tool for decision-making.

With- whom?

UNICEF

Government of Singapore

What happened?

This report allowed the senior management of UNICEF to quickly reach a decision on how to engage with Singapore.

“ I have been together with Dr. Verma in negotiations with potential donors, senior government officers, ambassadors and partners. He thrives in creating genuine win-win arrangements without leaving any scope for ambiguity or misunderstanding. He prepares thoroughly for each negotiation and is able to step back and see things from the perspective of the counterpart. ”

Dr Slim Slama
Co-Founder
Geneva Health Forum

Helping an international inter-governmentalorganization become a recognized brand leader+
Helping an international inter-governmentalorganization become a recognized brand leader

Sector?

Minority Issues, Conflict Resolution,

What?

Strategic Communication;Fundraising; Resource Mobilization

Where?

Macedonia

Germany

Kosova

Why?

An intergovernmental think tank headquartered in Germany, ECMI wished to enhance its profile as premier action oriented organization in the field of conflict resolution and transformation in Europe and to expand its portfolio of donor governments. It wanted to harmonize the profile of its field operations with that of its headquarters.
In 2003 I was commissioned to develop a strategy for communications for the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI).

When?

2003

What exactly?

I conducted focus groups and surveys within and outside the organization to understand the prevailing practices and perceptions. I identified bottlenecks and defined target audiences. Then I conceptualized and developed a range of strategic communication products. Tools developed for this purpose were:

  1. Strategic Communications document: once presented to the senior management, consensus was built on the recommendations. This document served as a roadmap for implementation of changes.
  2. Mission Statement development: the mission statement was re-phrased to reflect the aspirations and expertise of ECMI. It was phrased in a clear straightforward way leaving no scope for ambiguity.
  3. Webpresence: the central web site of the organization was completely re-structured to reflect a wide range of programs that the organization was running and the impact that it was having on its beneficiary
  4. www.ecmi.de
  5. Project/Country web sites: Web sites of individual projects and country offices were restructured and harmonized. A delicate balance was reached between the needs of individual projects (multilingualism, technical features for beneficiary usage etc.) and the need to present one corporate identity.
  6. E-Newsletter: Processes were established for information gathering from all of ECMI’s field offices in a timely and organized fashion to be compiled into a monthly E-Newsletter. This newsletter was in a format that allowed the receiving party to connect to the online version which was graphics enabled.
  7. Newsletter: Monthly hard copy version of the newsletter was printed for targeted distribution to ensure visibility of the organization and to meet the needs of project beneficiary at sites where the Internet connection was limited.
  8. Brochures & Flyers: New brochures were developed from a scratch for the organization, for the country operations and for individual projects in a way that would present a cohesive image without compromising the individuality of the projects.
  9. High Profile Events: Conceptualized and organized a high profile international meet under the patronage of the President of Macedonia titled “Minorities in Democracies”. This event turned into a landmark annual event of ECMI in South East Europe, which brought together politicians, policy makers, academicians and practitioners.
  10. Road shows: Conceptualized ECMI’s first road show in Berlin 2004. Organized in the form of a Round Table discussion meeting, it gave the funders and decision makers in Berlin an opportunity to interact with ECMI’s brain trust

With- whom?

European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI), Germany

What happened?

The result was a cohesive brand image that attracted long term and framework donors to ECMI.

“ Combined with a strong analytical approach towards problems and challenges he is faced with, and his ability to adapt to almost each and every social context, I have seen Sunoor win immediate trust from the different stakeholders he was dealing with, be it NGO representatives from remote rural areas, government officials, or diplomatic representatives. ”

Matthias Siegfried
SwissPeace
Project Coordinator
Mediation Support Project, Switzerland

Setting up a Think Tank on refugees and forced migration studies+
Setting up a Think Tank on refugees and forced migration studies

Sector?

Refugees; Internally displaced; Humanitarian emergencies

What?

Institution building; Confidence building; Fundraising; Think Tank set-up; Strategic planning; Strategic partnerships; Strategic communications

Where?

Macedonia

Why?

Within the first ten years of its existence, two major refugee influxes impacted the Republic of Macedonia. Support of the international community helped the country cope gracefully with these humanitarian emergencies. Acknowledging the inherent volatility of the region, it was vital that the know- how generated in the country in dealing with displaced populations is institutionalized and capacity be built systematically for emergency preparedness.

When?

2000, 2001

What exactly?

I conducted a needs assessment and a mapping of potential partners. I then developed the project proposal and fundraised with donors to set up the Center for Refugees and Forced Migration Studies (CRFMS) at the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje. The aim of the Center is to become a leading regional resource center in its field; to foster a regional network of similar research centers and to promote standards of excellence in research on Refugee and Forced Migration related subjects. Set up with seed funding from UNHCR, I led vigorous fundraising andexpandedthe portfolio of donors. Ialso set up and mentored the project management team of the centre. The project was implemented from February 2000 to September 2001.

With- whom?

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR

Skopje University Ss. Cyril & Methodius

Institute of Sociological Political and Juridical Research

BPRM USA Government

Royal Norwegian Foreign Ministry,

DfID,

Brookings Institute

What happened?

  1. Set up of an active, well functioning research centre on refugee and forced migration issues
  2. Established a wide portfolio of donors thus enhancing the sustainability of the centre
  3. Management staff was trained to take over the management of the centre
  4. Well functioning resource center with a specialized library
  5. Internationally networked program on refugee studies was established

“ Sunoor Verma always underlines the importance of local ownership. He may have a lot of knowledge and expertise, but he always ensures that his visions are closely connected to reality on the ground. ”

Peeter Kaaman
Adviser, Human Rights & Democracy
Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida),
Department for Europe, Division for South Eastern Europe.

The first global assessment of the needs of Macedonia’s Romani population+
The first global assessment of the needs of Macedonia’s Romani population

Sector?

Minority issues; Roma;

What?

Capacity Building; Fundraising; Project development; Dialogue Management

Where?

Macedonia

Why?

Roma remain the most marginalized group in many parts of Europe. Numerous programs have been implemented in the name of the Roma, however sustainability of these has been poor or non-existent. One of the main reasons of this failure has been the lack of consultations with the Roma in identifying their needs and understanding what interventions would be compatible with their aspirations and life style.

When?

2003

What exactly?

In his capacity as the Regional Representative for the European Centre for Minority Issues, Sunoor led the consultation with donors on the importance of launching this mapping. Sunoor also led the project design process and the building of necessary partnerships with Roma leaders. Fundraising and supervision of the project implementation was Sunoor’s responsibility too.

With- whom?

European Centre for Minority Issues ECMI

Sida Sweden

What happened?

The first global assessment of the needs of Macedonia’s Romani population was conducted. The project was implemented and led by Dr. Eben Friedman.

“ Sunoor Verma played the leading role in establishing ECMI as an organization, which conducts informed and relevant initiatives to further the integration of Romani populations in Europe. ”

Dr. Eben Friedman
Regional Representative
European Centre for Minority Issues

Building and managing a 70 NGOs coalition in Macedonia+
Building and managing a 70 NGOs coalition in Macedonia

Sector?

Inter-ethnic issues; Civil Society; Peace building

What?

Dialogue management; Fundraising; NGO management; Track II diplomacy; Conflict resolution

Where?

Macedonia

Why?

The armed conflict of 2001 in Macedonia left a society divided along ethnic lines. The fragile Ohrid peace agreement required quick measures for building confidence in the communities.

When?

2001, 2002, 2003, 2004

What exactly?

In the midst of the conflict I set out to establish an inter-ethnic network of NGOs along with the European Centre for Minority Issues.

I travelled around the country meeting with communities, citizens and villagers to find those NGOs that were truly committed to improving inter-ethnic relations in the country. The ECMI NGO Network for Improvement of Inter-ethnic Relations in Macedonia was launched with a core group of 17 NGOs from across the country and ethnic groups. Gradually the network grew to a 70 member strong group that engaged in joint design and implementation of grassroots projects. Sunoor headed an umbrella grants program, administering and monitoring 50–70 community projects each year. The project carried a strong capacity enhancement component with emphasis on ethics for the participating NGO Managers.

This project benefitted very much from the guidance and commitment of Farimah Daftary of the ECMI. When no international expert was willing to travel to Macedonia due to the armed conflict, Farimah headed to Macedonia to meet with stakeholders and do a direct assessment of the ground realities. Her research and reporting were instrumental in the project receiving its seed grant. Dr. Eben Friedman succeeded Farimah Daftary at the ECMI as the focal point for Macedonia and maintained the high standards set by Farimah.

Farimah and Eben have contributed to civil society development in Macedonia in the most low profiles yet most effective way. Both heroes!

With- whom?

European Centre for Minority Issues

Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Secretariat for Peace and Stability)

Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Sida Sweden

DfID

What happened?

  1. Established the first truly multi-ethnic network of NGOs in Macedonia consisting of 70 NGOs committed to improving inter-ethnic relations.
  2. 50–70 community projects generated and implemented each year jointly by NGOs members of the Network.
  3. Network becomes reference point for good practices and NGO ethics in Macedonia.

External Evaluation of “ECMI NGO Network for the Improvement of Interethnic Relations in the Republic of Macedonia” 15-19 April 2003

“ In the words of Regional Representative Dr. Sunoor Verma, the Regional Office in Skopje aims to be a model office in terms of professional standards, transparency and accountability. The evaluator gained the impression that the office very much lives up to this goal. The Regional Representative, Dr. Verma is obviously a perfect choice: he is not only very committed to the success of the Network, but also very competent. His critical view of the donor-driven character of much of the NGO activities in Macedonia, especially in the realm of improvement of inter-ethnic relations, helps to make the ECMI Network genuinely innovative in that context. He maintains close contacts with relevant donor and other institutions, and is respected by the member organisations of the Network. ”

DR. ULF BRUNNBAUER
Department of Southeast European History, University of Graz
Graz, Austria

The integrated analysis of the needs of the Romani population in Serbia and Montenegro+
The integrated analysis of the needs of the Romani population in Serbia and Montenegro

Sector?

Minority issues; Roma;

What?

Capacity building; Fundraising; Project development; Dialogue management

Where?

Serbia, Montenegro

Why?

While there was widespread recognition among donors that a variety of initiatives should be launched to support the development of the Roma in Europe, no studies were available to tell us what the ground reality was.

When?

2003

What exactly?

Dr. Eben Friedman performed an integrated analysis of the needs of the Romani population in Serbia and Montenegro. Sunoor Verma led the fundraising and negotiations with donors and provided management support to the project through his teams based in Macedonia.

With- whom?

European Centre for Minority Issues

Sida Sweden

What happened?

A strategy for Swedish International Cooperation Agency ( Sida’s) work with Roms in Serbia and Montenegro was developed. This strategy was in turned used by Sida for their programming and funding decisions.

“ Being genuinely engaged and knowledgeable in the area of work makes Sunoor Verma a successful fundraiser. ”

Ulrika Lindberg-Labasauskas
Head of Development Cooperation
Embassy of Sweden in Skopje

Romani expert groups for Romani integration in the Republic of Macedonia+
Romani expert groups for Romani integration in the Republic of Macedonia

Sector?

Minority issues; Roma;

What?

Capacity Building; Fundraising; Project development; Dialogue Management

Where?

Macedonia

Why?

Until the launch of this initiative most initiatives aimed at the Romani population of Macedonia were being implemented by non-Roms. This often led to poor participation of the Roms and virtually no transfer of skills or know-how. Through my work with Roms in Macedonia and many Roma NGOs I could see that there is availability of talent and experience in the Roma community. The lack of formal education was a barrier to the advancement of these potential experts. The Romani experts project was launched to prepare a pool of Roma experts who have the skills, knowledge and commitment to work on Roma issues.

When?

2003, 2004

What exactly?

I think I played a key role in conceptualizing this initiative, developing the project proposal and getting donors on board. Dr. Eben Friedman, a leading authority on Roma issues, led this project. I was also responsible for monitoring the implementation of the project and fundraising.

With- whom?

European Centre for Minority Issues ECMI

Sida Sweden

What happened?

Four Expert Group organized around the core areas of education, health, civil rights, and employment were established.
The Expert Groups generated and compiled usable reports with the data necessary to provide a basis for the design of policy not only for Roms, but also by Roms.

The success of this initiative lies in three things that came together at the right time:

  1. Understanding through extensive fieldwork: for projects aimed at the Roma community to succeed, they need to be implemented by people who are part of the Roma community.
  2. Representatives of Sida Sweden who were committed to undertaking initiatives that other donor designate ‘risky’ if they saw long term value in them. Annika Palo and Peeter Kamaan of Sida Sweden were unique in their untiring quest for sustainable solutions for the people of Macedonia.
  3. Dr. Eben Friedman who led the project is not one of those first world experts for whom the Roma community is an exotic experiment from a distance. Eben has dear friends in the community with whom he has lived and has understood the challenges that they face. Eben’s commitment and dedication to the Roma cause ensured that the capacity of Roma experts in built to a level where they can take charge.

I salute the work done in Macedonia by Eben Friedman, Annika Palo and Peeter Kamaan.

I first met Dr. Verma in Skopje, Macedonia where he made an outstanding effort to bring together that country’s various ethnic groups by emphasizing common concerns, i.e., clean water, garbage collection and good education. Dr. Verma’s success in Macedonia is attributable not only to his practical approach to problems, but also to the fact that he concentrated on getting to know key individuals personally and he made an extraordinary effort to engage them in resolving the country’s ethnic tensions.

Dr. Gary F. Collins
Senior Adviser (Judicial Reform)
DANIDA, Bangladesh

Creating an online platform for fundraising and donor liaison+
Creating an online platform for fundraising and donor liaison

Sector?

Civil society; Minority issues; inter-ethnic issues

What?

Fundraising

Where?

Germany

Why?

As the organization was growing rapidly and expanding in new countries coordination was needed in the way donors were being approached.

When?

2003

What exactly?

I conceptualized software that allowed all field offices and headquarters to coordinate their fundraising and project proposal writing processes. As it was my baby I also supervised the development of and later the implementation of the software and compliance by field offices

With- whom?

European Centre for Minority Issues

What happened?

Headquarters gained improved access to negotiations led by field offices and field offices gained access to real time information on ongoing dialogues with donors and partners. This saved time and allowed the organization to achieve Framework Funding from donors over piece-meal project-by-project funding. This also improved accountability within all units of the organization.

Sunoor Verma understands the concerns and goals of donors — what is important from their perspective — and he is able to articulate persuasively the positive and sustainable impact that programs can achieve.

Michael Szporluk

Expert, Civil Society Development

Mercy Corps

Being genuinely engaged and knowledgeable in the area of work makes Sunoor Verma a successful fundraiser.

Ulrika Lindberg-Labasauskas
Head of Development Cooperation
Embassy of Sweden in Skopje

Setting up a think tank on health policy with the government+
Setting up a think tank on health policy with the government

Sector?

Global Health; Child rights; Women

What?

Capacity building; Strategic partnerships; Fundraising; Assessments & Evaluations

Where?

Malaysia

Why?

Malaysia has a network of nine National Institutes of Health under the Ministry of Health. One of these is the Institute of Health Management in Kuala Lumpur. A joint review by the Prime Minister’s Office (EPU), Ministry of Health and UNICEF presented the need for a think tank in the area of healthy policy, finance and management.

When?

2006-2007

What exactly?

With- whom?

UNICEF

Institute of Health Management (National Institute of Health, Ministry of Health) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

What happened?

Set up a UNICEF collaborating centre at the Institute of Health Management (National Institute of Health, Ministry of Health) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The mission of this health policy centre is to provide accurate and timely information to health care decision-makers, analysts and providers, so that they can offer services, which are effective and efficient in improving the health of Malaysians.

“ Sunoor Verma’s work in the field of development stands out in its attention to detail, its constant innovation, its involvement of stakeholders at all stages of project design and implementation, and, most important, in its sustainability.”

Dr. Eben Friedman
Regional Representative
European Centre for Minority Issues

International conference on minorities+
International conference on minorities

Sector

Minority issues

What?

Dialogue management; Peace-building; Strategic partnerships; Fundraising

Where?

Macedonia

Why?

The Ohrid peace agreement signed in 2001 marked the end of the armed conflict in Macedonia. As part of confidence building measures it was important to highlight the position of minorities in democracies. South Eastern Europe had much experience to share and learn from each other.

When?

2002, 2003, 2004

What exactly?

I negotiated a strategic partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Germany to advance this conference jointly. Andreas Klein who was the Director of this foundation and was posted in Macedonia was that rare breed of expatriates who knew what was happening and what was hurting in the country. Equally comfortable with the grassroots as with the political elite, Andreas ensured that there is a strong buy-in from the office of the President of Macedonia for this initiative. Marc Weller, the Director of the ECMI was quick to see value in the initiative and as a global authority on this subject galvanized a star studded line up of international experts for the conference. Florian Bieber, Eben Friedman and Tom Trier all with affiliations to ECMI and a deep commitment to the region provided cutting edge content and moderation. The South East European university had collaborated in the past with the ECMI and was an excellent partner for this initiative. Among other things I was also responsible for raising funds for hosting this conference. The ECMI team in Macedonia led by the Office Manager Gordana Cvetkoska managed the invisible backend of this huge logistic challenge as always without any show of fatigue or stress.

With- whom?

Office of the President of the Republic of Macedonia

Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Germany

European Centre for Minority Issues

South East European University, Macedonia

What happened?

An annual dialogue forum “Minorities in democracies” has been established which brings international and regional south-east European experts to debate on the position of minorities in democracies. The first two editions saw the late President of the Republic of Macedonia HE Boris Traijkovski deliver the opening speeches before his untimely death in an airplane crash.

“ Sunoor’s insatiable desire for critical and meaningful dialogue has profoundly influenced the format and content of the Geneva Health Forum, pushing us to consider new rules of engagements, and new ways to frame and debate global health topics. ”

Dr Slim Slama
Co-Founder
Geneva Health Forum

Avian Influenza- risk communication & preparedness+
Avian Influenza- risk communication & preparedness

Sector?

Humanitarian emergency; Women; Child rights

What?

Strategic communication; Capacity building; Fundraising; Project development; Negotiations; Dialogue management;

Where?

Malaysia

Why?

The Avian Influenza epidemic in South East Asia prompted UNICEF and the Ministry of Health to look at areas where health communication with the citizens could be improved? Risk communication expertise was non-existent in the country.

When?

2006

What exactly?

Having worked closely helped withthe Ministry of Health and knowing UNICEF’s strength in communications identified the gap in risk communication expertise. I formulated a capacity building- quick implementation proposal and secured funding for it. I selected international consultants for conducting a series of workshops on risk communication. Along with Ministry of Health counterpart I supervised the implementation and evaluated the outcome.

With- whom?

Ministry of Health, Malaysia

UNICEF

What happened?

Following this workshop the Ministry of Health integrated Risk Communication in its strategic communications tool-box and used it in other emergency situations. Participation from all states of Malaysia in the workshop ensured that there is a nationwide utilization of the tool-box.

“ Through his extensive network of contacts, Sunoor Verma has built a keen understanding of the various concerns of potential donors and addresses them proactively in his project designs. Additionally, Sunoor Verma is quick to address new concerns as they arise. In this manner, Sunoor Verma maintains a high level of confidence on the part of potential donors, greatly facilitating budget negotiations in so doing. ”

Dr. Eben Friedman
Regional Representative
European Centre for Minority Issues

Geneva Health Forum+
Geneva Health Forum

Sector

Global Health

What?

Strategic planning; Strategic partnerships; Strategic Communication; Fundraising; Dialogue management; Project development;

Where?

Geneva, Switzerland

Why?

I was brought in to the GHF to expand its reach, funding base and help re-strategize so that the forum becomes sustainable.

The Geneva Health Forum is not just another conference on health. By looking to the future, it brings vision and thrives on all participants’ unique experiences and in depth insights on topics and initiatives generated and implemented all over the world. At the GHF it is believed that pooling intelligence will bring value and challenge common ideas to explore new territories of freethinking and build on inter-sectorial approaches to solving the problems of our time.
As it is held in Geneva, a city where all the major actors in Global Health are located, the Geneva Health Forum provides a unique opportunity to meet and shape tomorrow’s agenda on major health issues. Organized by the Geneva University Hospitals and the University of Geneva in partnership with the other main Swiss academic institutions and Geneva based organizations and key players in health, the GHF offers ample opportunities to debate freely on current health issues.

When?

2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011

What exactly?

I mapped, negotiated and implemented a three-tier partnerships strategy for the sustainability of the Geneva Health Forum (Content, Thematic and Geographic partnerships). This involves establishing Public-Private partnership arrangements without jeopardizing credibility. More about the GHF can be read on it’s website www.genevahealthforum.org
I conceptualized and negotiated inter-institutional linkages for the implementation of a robust communications strategy for the Geneva Health Forum. This effort links academic, research and teaching institutions with multilateral and bilateral donors, foundations, private sector and media.

With- whom?

Hospitals of the University of Geneva (HUG)

University of Geneva

Swiss Development Cooperation Agency (SDC)

Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Swiss Federal Office of Public Health

What happened?

Over the last four years the reach of the GHF has multiplied and it has established itself as an important event on the global health calendar. It attracts close to one thousand practitioners, academia and policy makers to Geneva to search for solutions in health.