For the 15th time, the Forum 2000 Foundation organized the annual non-profit fair, NGO Market, which was held on April 25, 2014 and hosted by its traditional venue, the National Library of Technology in Prague. This year, the main focus of the fair was on education in the non-profit sector. In line with this topic, the NGO Market offered a series of interactive lectures and seminars on fundraising, donor culture, and advertising.
In addition, guests from abroad shared their experiences with representatives of Czech NGOs. Robert Osborne of the Osborne Group from the United States dedicated his workshop to donor culture and stressed that NGOs often focus too much on their mission and how to promote it, rather than answering the key question for all potential donors: Why should they contribute specifically to them? Doraja Eberle of the ERSTE Foundation from Austria delivered a lecture on the role of NGOs in Central Europe. She urged NGOs to be fully receptive and open to their surroundings, foster their flexibility and collaborate with others.
The accompanying program offered, among other things, the inspiring panel discussion entitled “Young and Rest Less?” which introduced young people and their projects dedicated to combating bullying in schools, effective use of food, and cultivating public spaces. A seminar by the creative studio Družina (Crew) then demonstrated to visitors what successful charitable campaigns can look like, and argued that the question of finance is not always the decisive factor.
The NGO Market attracted a record number of visitors and exhibitors. Beautiful weather contributed to the attendance of more than 3,500 people of all ages interested in the non-profit sector, who had the opportunity to try specially adapted bikes for wheelchair users, order coffee in the Silent Café, where you are attended by deaf staff, or play the piano as part of the Pianos on the Streets project. Children could explore the Teddy Bear Hospital, have their faces painted, or watch the presentation of Pharaoh’s Secret. The hungry were welcome to order pizzas baked in the back of a car and the thirsty were served at the Mamacoffee stand.
All participants of the NGO Market were invited to draw gifts provided for the fair by the exhibiting NGOs. A total of 204 organizations presented activities from all domains, such as environmental protection, democracy and human rights, and health and social services.
Visitors and participants appreciated the friendly atmosphere of the fair and the huge variety of organizations present. “I have followed the NGO Market for years, so I am always happy to come see it. It is a great event, it’s nice to see former colleagues from previous jobs and see what other non-profits are up to. After two years on maternity leave, you lose track of things,” jokingly remarks Šárka Rokosová, who has worked for several NGOs.
For Philipp Strobl of the Jewish Community of Prague, the NGO Market meant broadening his horizons and an opportunity to build contacts with other NGOs: “It’s great here and people can also learn something new. For instance, I didn’t know a lot of the exhibiting organizations. I found out a lot and will be in touch with some.”
The largest event of its kind in Central Europe, the NGO Market enables non-profits to meet with colleagues from the third sector, establish new partnerships, gain donors and volunteers for their cause, and to reach out and learn something new. Visitors interested in the activities of NGOs can discover areas in which they would like to invest their free time, or find out how NGOs can serve them and their friends and loved ones. In short, the NGO Market 2014 was a great success. The Forum 2000 Foundation looks forward to working with the feedback from this year’s NGO Market to make next year’s event even better.