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Brazil: A Great Potential in Fundraising

Resource Center - Foundation

The AFP First Course in Fundraising, paired with the AFP Fundamentals of Fundraising Course, is sweeping the world. A modified version is now offered in Nicaragua, Egypt, Hong Kong and Brazil! For the first time ever, a combined version of the two courses was translated to Portuguese and offered in Brazil in the Summer of 2013. The need for fundraising education drove Custodio Pereira, general director of Faculdade Santa Marcelina, to work with AFP to conceptualize the material, scout supporting partners, work with a translator and ultimately educate 22 budding fundraisers.

Brazil ewire

Undoubtedly, fundraising is seen positively in Brazil, and there is a huge potential for growth. However, we still have very few works of literature—lperhaps only five or six books on fundraising in the Portuguese language. In addition, there are only a few people professionally engaged in fundraising activities.

There are certainly many volunteers willing to learn, but unlike the U.S. where there are specializations, masters´ degrees and doctorates in fundraising, courses for training people in Brazil for this work are still rare. Aside from being rare, fundraisers are limited to specifically targeted areas of culture or social action. There are also few experienced teachers who can share their experiences and teachings in fundraising.

All of these difficulties could make Brazil a non-fundraising country, but instead we choose to see the great potential for growth in this occupation. Fueling the need for fundraising, Brazil , as other emerging countries, has a number of causes and faces problems like street populations, elderly and abandoned children, lack of sustainability, illiteracy and financing for educational institutions. These causes require more intense and effective work in fundraising.

As a leader of a university and a volunteer for more than 15 years at a large philanthropic organization that assists an average of 15,000 people, I can feel this great potential, despite the difficulties we face.

Brazil’s Fundamentals of Fundraising is Born

Thanks to the important and unconditional support of AFP,we had the opportunity to train dozens of people in 2013 through pairing the First Course in Fundraising with the Fundamentals of Fundraising. The course translation was sponsored by the Rotarian Foundation in São Paulo, including additions from the Fundamentals in Fundraising Course, which was translated into Portuguese by Miro - Argemiro Severiano da Silva.  The translation and addition of the Fundamentals of Fundraising Course was a huge challenge that took a year to fully translate.

As a Director of SEMESP—the largest Syndicate for the Colleges and Universities in Latin America, located in São Paulo—we received a full sponsorship for translation and currently have their full support in promoting the course throughout Brazil by the Higher Education Magazine and on the site of SEMESP. In return, we are offering the course to the SEMESP members, which partially repays them for the investment in the translation.

The first class of students who attended the Fundamentals of Fundraising was almost entirely composed of rectors, vice-rectors, directors and managers of universities and colleges, including some school administrators among others. We also had a future consultant in fundraising and a few social and health service workers who were very interested and engaged. Altogether, we had 22 students in the course, representing several states of Brazil—Paraná, Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina, Ceará and São Paulo—showing the extent of the promotion.

The course was very well evaluated in all aspects. Participants really enjoyed the quality of the material and content of the course as well as the facilities. The same occurred with the second class of the Fundamentals.

Despite knowing the subject well, I was apprehensive because we decided to translate the content in its entirety, without adapting it to the Brazilian culture, where we do not have this "culture", and "cases" are little known or cataloged. We thought it was better to adopt this criterion in order to take advantage of this aspect to explain to students how it works in the United States and show how we need to evolve.

The Future of Fundraising in Brazil

In the future, we will make the necessary adjustments to the course—the "cases" presented will pertain to Brazilians and we will try to "nationalize" the examples for easy relation. The course was taught over two days of hard work which started before classes themselves. We sent pre-work in PDF format, with the recommendation of various items to be read in advance so students would come prepared. They all returned to their institutions very happy with the new knowledge acquired and with plenty of projects in mind to be applied to their organizations—as mentioned, mostly universities.

In addition to AFP’s logo being present in all materials of promotion, I always mention the impact this organization has made in Brazil for fundraising, and I encouraged the participants to take part in the international conferences.

I am positive that we are sowing and nurturing a small seed that will grow a large tree with many fruits for the good of Brazil and its people.

I have to thank AFP, Andrew Watt, and the whole team from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of all those who were involved with the course. AFP, thank you very much indeed!

Custódio Pereira
Santa Marcelina Education CEO

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