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Building Self-Financing into Core Activities

By Nonprofit Enterprise and Self-sustainability Team (NESsT). This publication is part of the NESsT Case Studies Series.

Executive Summary

Peace Action, Training and Research Institute of Romania (PATRIR) was established as the first peace institute in Romania, with the mission to promote peacebuilding and constructive conflict transformation1 to prevent violence nationally and internationally. PATRIR organizes its activities around four fields of intervention: 1) activities for peacebuilding and conflict transformation; 2) training for peacebuilding and conflict transformation; 3) peace education; and 4) gender equality to enhance the role of women. Since its founding in 2001, PATRIR has gained recognition by organizing campaigns, participating in peace support operations, and forging alliances with academic and non-academic institutions.

Self-financing has been among PATRIR’s core initiatives from its beginning, as the organization was originally set up as a training institute. The self-financing activities were facilitated by staff members who had previous experience in income generation in their fields of expertise. PATRIR’s leadership also believed that an organization independent from donor funding would be more likely to
become sustainable over the long term. The most significant self-financing activity PATRIR engages in is the renting out of meeting space and equipment for conferences and trainings to private sector firms and civil society organizations (CSOs3). The income generated from this activity represents about 11% of the organization’s total annual income. PATRIR also derives fees from three types of services: 1) training programs, which include seminars and workshops that help participants develop and improve their knowledge and skills in peace work, constructive conflict transformation and conflict management; 2) university-level online courses, which enable students to obtain formal qualifications in the field of peacebuilding; and 3) international consultancies in peace processes, carried out in areas of conflict all over the world. Combined, the income from these services represents 18% of the organization´s total income.

PATRIR is now focusing on strengthening and expanding its self-financing activities. The organization faces the challenge of covering its growing operational costs, which are more easily paid for through untied revenues generated from self-financing. For this, the organization needs to ensure that staff is appropriately trained in marketing, promotion, and project implementation so that financial
targets are met in a timely fashion. PATRIR will also need to consolidate its management performance systems to track the progress of its self-financing activities and make informed decisions about how to manage and expand them.

To read the full text please follow this link to the the NESsT article.