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When I met Anna, I was 6 months into founding Uplifters, an NGO dedicated to online education of migrant workers in South East Asia. We were a volunteer organisation, and most of the capital came from my personal savings and individual donations. I was fully dedicated and passionate about my mission but it was difficult to find funding to evolve into a staff-led structure. Individual donations were irregular and not enough to pay office rent and hire permanent staff without whom, in the long run, I knew I could not sustain. Anna gave me an in-depth insight on the types of donors I needed to approach to ask for core funding and what was vital to prepare in advance in order to pass the first stage of contact making to being invited to a personal meeting. At that time, I did use a synthesised pitch deck for all my fundraising endeavors, and a basic project budget. Within the coming months, Anna actively supported my fundraising efforts, advised and prepared strategic background documents such as our theory of change and engaged in donor research. She coached me through donor meetings which gave me more confidence to defend my cause. She was an amazing support when it came up to budgeting and finances: thanks to her ability to make complex tasks less difficult, I set up an overall 3-years organisational budget and disposed of several necessary tools to be prepared to run a staff-led organisation. When I was finally introduced to the right donor, I was ready to convince, receive and manage multi-year core funding and shift to a staff-led organsiation. Today, we are a small but well-known and reputable ally for the empowerment of domestic workers in Hong Kong and South East Asia.
When we decided to apply to the 2019 Call for Proposals of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), we consulted with Anna to proofread our concept note. We wanted to make sure to have the highest chances to pass this highly competitive first stage in the funding application process in order to be invited to submit our full project proposal. Our timeframe for Anna was really short, but her comments were provided on time and very pertinent. She primarily looked at the logic that connects the project’s main elements, which was very useful. Very clearly, she provided both general and detailed comments in writing and orally during a video-conference. We updated the concept note accordingly and were really pleased when we received the invitation to submit a full proposal.
At the second and full application step, we called on Anna again, to help us fine-tune our application on the home stretch. She did not only proof read the whole 35-page narrative proposal with the eye of a donor and provided as with relevant feedback in a limited timeframe, but she assisted us in perfecting our Logical Framework, writing some of the missing sections, and reviewing the budget. Again, her advice was instrumental in strengthening the logic and consistency of the project description. Anna was not only helpful to give this grant proposal the highest chance to be approved, but also very helpful for our own organisational learning. With her support, we were able to submit a solid and successful application. Eventually, the EU awarded the grants to a very few number of NGOs (4 or 6), including the APT for a 1.3 mio EURO grant.