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4 Things to Keep In Mind While Running An NGO

Running an NGO isn't an easy task and those that run need to be equipped and supported in ways we can, for, they are solving a societal issue to make the society we all live in, a better place. Here are 4 things that I believe if you or the people you know are running an NGO will need to bear in mind to make the impact of your NGO truly scale up and reach heights that shall mean a dent on the society and cast a true measurable impact achieved and a problem addressed.
I have seen over the last decade that the world is moving towards being socially more accountable and also concerned about impact. I have been a believer of social impact and business for social good ever since the start of my journey as an entrepreneur. I took onto professional speaking as a career because I found it full of impact and unlimited inspiration in the lives of people. I then forayed into starting this eMagazine and creating platforms online for helping communities come together and scale the impact. I ended up starting these because I believed it could help me expand the impact that I always envisioned and so it is doing today. Through the platform of ADAD - A Deed A Day I believe we are gathering a large group of volunteers and NGOs together to scale social impact globally, yet again setting an example for business for social good.
Running an NGO
The no of billionaires who are giving up their wealth for social good has increased drastically over the last decade. The same decade has seen a lot of people start of social projects which are then being registered as NPOs and NGOs. I started my journey into starting an NGO about 5 years ago and named it 36Meals. The trust believed in advocating the philosophy of not wasting food. Initially I build the vision as a project as I thought it would not need funds to grow itself as a vision. The associations of quality people were proving to be sufficient. As time passed by, we saw that maintaining the momentum and quality work, we began seeing the need to raise funds for the cause we believed passionately in. We received support from more than 40 nations with volunteers jumping in and executing projects for us in different scales, sometimes large sometimes just participatory.

The difficulty came in maintaining the consistency in all places/regions. One time executions were quite successful and then the interest of those associated would eventually fade and they would move into different directions. Sometimes we had sustained interest of people and they ensured they worked with us over longer periods and stayed consistently with us. Understanding these dynamics and more, I thought it was best for me to share my thoughts on things to keep in mind before starting an NGO. Here are 4 things I think are pivotal:

1. Treat it like a company:

Most people think of NGO like a hobby and a thing to attend to satisfy their desire to serve humanity. While on one side that is good that vision eventually fades and the impact thins down before wearing down to zero completely. Instead of treating like a hobby, treat your vision for social impact and your NGO like a company and plan your internal communications and operations accordingly. Marketing too would be a part of it and just the way building a brand works for a company it will be important that you build a brand for your NGO as well and make sure that you build trust over time with people associated. The associated costs need to budgeted and then you need to find ways to raise those funds and gather the required capital from donors or by sales of merchandise or your idea associated with the type of NGO you have. (if you have doubts here, feel free to shoot them across in the comments below or connect with at Build a logo, brand name, posters, letter heads, brand tag lines, campaigns, vision statement, mission statement and more. The Entrepreneurs’ Delight will help you with more articles on this.

2. Plan your finances and balance sheet in detail:

Running an NGO
The point no.1 initiates this but this is to be dealt separately. One of the things I learnt from Mr Ashok Shankar Rathod, the founder of OSCAR foundation, that promotes education through football, as their vision, is that if your finances are structured the larger goals can always be met. I have personally involved closely with him for over 5 years now and believe that the way he grew his organisation is a perfect way of building a proper NGO and he always ensure he has a fund raise plan for a year ahead and starts meeting prospective donors with his impact plan and he meets the goals year after year and I surely wish him more and more power for his goals. Have an accountant hired, maintain bills, records, reports of activities, details of impact, action plans for weeks, months, quarters and overall for a year and you will soon see your NGO have funds you need to make the dreams come true of your impact vision.

3. Have an easy executable activity/model:

At ADAD we always advise NGOs to have something called as DO-Able Deeds that are easy executable activities for people just about anywhere across the globe to execute. This helps you gather volunteers easily and makes working for your NGO comfortable for just about anyone. Most often people find it hard to understand how they could associate with an NGO and there is an easy solution to it, create a simple executable plan for people to associate with you from wherever they are and you will see they will do it. Example: 36Meals invites people to build a team of 5-10 people and asks them cook 5 meals each at their homes, find a nearby slum/rural area or home to destitute and make this offering of cooked meals and record their activity and send the record to us. It’s the start to donating meals to needy. One who is able to do it in and around their own city/area would be pleased to then associate in larger goals to impact dedicated areas. 36Meals also has a part of volunteering where you can become an ambassador to promote the vision of not wasting food in your community.(something you can do from wherever you are)

4. Make MOST of technology:

Running an NGO
If you wish to scale, have a website, have landing pages, build your social media profiles, create and post content and ensure you enroll with as many platforms online to build your volunteers base and sustain them too. You will find donors from across the globe who shall be able to believe in your vision over time as they your activities grow and read about them often. Technology is an enabler for all not just for businesses and celebrities but for NGOs and social projects too. If you don’t fully understand how to use and make the most, read tonnes of articles available on our platform to become a tech savvy from non techie and make the most of the opportunities that world of technology brings along with it. Hire someone who knows either on pay or into your board of trustees but ensure you do it.

I am sure you have many ideas in mind and there are few things you believe are very important that you think I would have missed out here, feel free to add them in comments and also, if you know of any NGO doing some great work our eMagazine always loves to connect to such people and learn from their stories. You too can now share their stories without having to go through chain of activities of having to eMail us and wait until you hear from our team, that is already busy publishing innumerable stories already coming in from across the globe. You just need to simply Log on to, create your Inspirational Reporter account and shoot the news there about the work, the NGO you know of, is doing.

Wishing you the very best for your NGO or for the NGO you are a part of or you are going to volunteer for or JOIN in future.

Copyrights © 2023 Inspiration Unlimited eMagazine

Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 7th July 2017.
Sujit Lalwani
Founder & CEO at iUeMagazine & SIMUS

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