Read what has been done in the past months for the project and what our plans are for the near future. This edition: several funding pitches and the homecoming of the team members that have been working from Brussels this summer/fall.
When we ended our partnership with GEF last November, we had still one very promising lead: the Dutch National Postcode Lottery. As with all big lotteries, they have a lot of cash and NPL pays about 50% of their revenues to charities and one-time funded projects. Although the deadline for a normal procedure for 2012 was already in October, we were still invited to the headquarters in Amsterdam in December for a conversation with the head of charities. This all thanks to Jan van Betten of Nudge, one of our partners.
Although NPL representatives liked our project, they said they couldn’t let us participate in the funding round of 2012 anymore because they need to follow strict rules set by the Department of Justice on how to run a lottery and division of funds to charities. This simply didn’t allow for any project to enter after the deadline.
They did say that we should talk to the people at the DOEN Foundation. That’s a daughter organization of NPL, in the same building. NPL would introduce us soon and then we can pitch in front of DOEN. That’s what we did on January 20th. Again two enthusiastic ladies after our pitch, but there was only one problem: DOEN only funds Dutch organizations that do things in The Netherlands or the Netherlands Antilles. It’s anchored in their missions and statutes, so they can’t make exceptions to this rule. They started brainstorming in the meeting already how they can work around this a little, but it was no more than access to their network and offering of connecting funded projects to us so they can go on board The Unity Express in the end.
Stephan and Coen, but also Maarten in some weeks, worked closely together with GEF to shape The Unity Express and find funding partners. This collaboration ended in November. That also meant that it was better for all Unity Express team members to return home and continue working from there.
One thing was clear: taking a little break helped us seeing the project from a distance and decide which path to take. At the same time we continued to work on getting NPL and DOEN on our side. This time from our homes again, but with the same dedication as ever.
The next months
The lead to NPL might not have been as fruitful as we had hoped, but that is certainly not the end. Most of us need to take care of our own financial position by looking for a day job or freelance work. In the remaining time we are going to contact companies and funding possibilities to pitch The Unity Express there and get the finances we need to spend full time on the project again. The real hunt for sponsors has never been started. Now is a good moment.
Although we should wait with actually organizing activities for the first journey, planning and brainstorming about them is essential for convincing sponsors to fund us. The program and activities of The Unity Express need to be defined as specific as possible. Our intentions are to spend time on that in the upcoming months as well. Having at least a handful of concrete activities will increase our chances of funding partners dramatically. As always, if you want to help us create these examples: you are welcome to contact us! We’ll also contact people through our Volunteers Network.
Till the next update and as always: thanks for still being with us :). We’ll get there!