National Child Welfare Association

Development Goals and Philosophy

An all-Indian board of directors governs NICWA.

We believe that self-determination in governance and development is a cornerstone of our success, just as it is in our other endeavors. However, this does not preclude the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) from establishing a board of advisors or trustees who would provide assistance in resource development and outreach. We seek, however, alliances and advice where prudent.

NICWA is not and cannot be dependent on any one source of funds.

NICWA avoids taking on any one grant or contract that represents more than a third of our total income, because we choose to avoid any one funding source exerting too much influence on the overall program. We believe that having this diversity of funding sources helps NICWA weather periods between major contracts or grants.

Effective stewardship of donated resources is the top priority.

Our broad base of support requires excellent fiscal management efforts.

Our idea is “to expand the pie.”

NICWA does not compete with the tribes for scarce direct services dollars. NICWA brings in funding that will add to the fields we work in, not divide resources.

NICWA maintains independence and integrity for its advocacy and point of view.

NICWA often advocates for tribes and is sometimes critical of federal and state agencies. Our independence and integrity are maintained by not seeking grants from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Indian Health Service, or the Administration on Native Americans. Contracting with these agencies for services to tribes is an exception and is kept in balance in order to maintain our independence. NICWA does not seek, nor will it accept, funding from corporations that make or distribute alcohol or tobacco.

NICWA is mission–focused and does not allow funding sources to dictate priorities.

Program priorities are not driven by available grants.

Development activities are selected for the greatest return for the investment of resources.

(Return = revenue, exposure to potential donors, NICWA name recognition, etc.)

NICWA believes that fundraising goals are important to people who care about our work. Fundraising goals and activities are always related directly to the problems of children and families, our solutions to those problems, and related operational and program expenses. Our goals, annual and long range, need to be in line with our mission, consistent with our exempt purpose as a 501(c)3 organization and expressed in ways that help donors envision the benefits of our work to American Indian children and families.

Role of the Development Office in NICWA

The development goals of NICWA are not only owned by the development staff; our board, our management team, and our entire staff all have responsibilities for the success of development. The development staff contributes specific assignments, specialized skills, and functions to the process and helps us, as an organization, be better resource developers by promoting/advancing/teaching a development culture within our organization.