Human Capacity Q&A transcript from Twitter

In an effort to share learnings with our broader community, Inyathelo hosted a Twitter Q&A with our experts on Human Capacity as part of the 10 June "Get Resourceful" session.


Q: How do you know how many staff you can reasonably hire in terms of size of organisation?

A: Depends largely on your budget and priorities. Plan your people around contract you agreed with donor. Typically programme staff are paid slightly more as rest of staff considered "support staff."  Look at the Avril Ryder survey of salaries in NPO sector.


Q: What is the role of NGOs like Inyathelo to lobby donors to shift from focussing on funding programmes only?  

A: Inyathelo ensures that every project pays its way, and includes overheads in every proposal. Overheads are part of project costs, not separate. (See Dan Palotta TED talk) There is no valid reason for 10% of the budget being allocated for overheads. Negotiate with donors.  Donors have to give money. We need to stop underestimating the power we have to change the dynamic between donor and NGO. We need to campaign.


Q: Can you explain Advancement and why we are talking about the importance of staff?  

A: Advancement is about how an org positions itself in its external environment to attract resources. Advancement is done through the different skills and approaches of internal staff.  


Q: What skills are essential for an Advancement operation?  

A: Match your skills recruitment to specific Advancement needs, eg. networking, prospect research, donor stewardship & communications


Q: Is it better that directors fundraise or is there a place for external consultants?

A. Fundraising should be an organisational function that looks beyond just the act of raising money. It is about building relationships and long term sustainability - see advancement inyathelo.org.za/what-we-do/wha…


Q: How do you combine skill sets when an organisation only has the funds to employ a small number of staff?  

A: The Executive Director will take on most of Advancement responsibility and employ multi-skilled staff for proposal writing & project management. 


Q: What role does the executive director play in Advancement?  

A: An Executive Director should drive the organisational strategy & planning, ensure the organisation is visible, and build high-level relationships and networks.


Q: Is having a dedicated proposal writer and prospect researcher critical?  

A: No. Someone should do research into potential prospects but the Executive Director/ project lead can write proposals


Q: What’s the best way to recruit staff in an organisation?  

A: Recruit people who fill a skills gap, not simply to fill a role you think you should have. Hire people with multiple skillsets to save funds  


Q: Who is responsible for building relationships on behalf of the organisation?  

A: The Executive Director should grow high-level relationships but all staff can develop support via donors, NGOs, individuals, media, and corporates.