What Challenges do NGOs face and what are the solutions?
MAXIMPACT BLOG March 20, 2017 Maximpact.com
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) refer to highly diverse groups of enterprises engaged in a wide spectrum of non-profit activities. The focus of NGOs can range from humanitarian and rural development to assisting local startups and businesses. There are roughly 3.7 million NGOs worldwide with an estimated 2 million of them in India.
The first NGO dates back to 1945 when the United Nations was created. The UN made it possible for certain non-governmental organizations to be given permission to have observer status at its assemblies and some of its meetings.
So, What is the Goal or Objective of NGOs?
The goal of NGOs can vary widely depending upon the specific focus, objective and mission of the organization. From improving human rights in a geographic area to providing education about environmental issues to supporting the arts, the goal or objective of an NGO can cover just about any topic related to improving a region, country or the state of the world in some way.
What all NGOs share is the desire to further their vision and mission, whatever it might be. Individuals and groups who form NGOs tend to have a passion for their beliefs. They are usually coming from a place of altruism and care for the human race and for the future of our world. To that end, the goal of NGOs is to improve the human experience by lending their efforts to a specific and specialized cause.
What Are the Main Challenges NGOs Face Today?
The main challenges to the missions of most NGOs are as follows:
Lack of Funds
Many NGOs find it difficult to garner sufficient and continuous funding for their work. Gaining access to appropriate donors is a major component of this challenge. They may have limited resource mobilization skills locally, so instead they wait for international donors to approach them. Current donors may shift priorities and withdraw funding. The NGO might suffer from a general lack of project, organizational and financial sustainability.
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Absence of Strategic Planning
Many NGOs suffer from the lack of a cohesive, strategic plan that would facilitate success in their activities and mission. This renders them unable to effectively raise and capitalize on financial support.
Poor Governance and Networking
A lack of effective governance is all too common in NGOs. Many have a deficit of understanding as to why they must have a Board and how to set one up. A founder may be too focused on running the NGO for their own purposes; however, governance is foundational to transparency.
Poor or disorganized networking is another major challenge, as it can cause duplicated efforts, time inefficiencies, conflicting strategies and an inability to learn from experience. The more NGOs communicate with one another, with International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) and with the community at large, the more effective all of them can be. However, many NGOs perceive INGOs as hindering or even threatening to their goals and missions.
Many NGOs do not maximize the use of current technologies that could facilitate better communication and networking. More effective use of technology can assist NGOs in staying abreast of important regional, national and global concerns.
NGOs often lack the technical and organizational capacity to implement and fulfill their mission, and few are willing or able to invest in training for capacity building. Weak capacity affects fundraising ability, governance, leadership and technical areas.
Many NGOs favor a “hardware” approach to development through building infrastructure and providing services instead of empowering people and institutions locally. Overall, their development approaches are not as flexible, sustainable and relevant to the community as they could be.
What are the solutions to those challenges?
In order to receive grant funding, an NGO must do the following:
1. Locate Opportunities. Find an appropriate grant and funder for their focus and mission.
2. Solid Concept Note / First Round Application. NGOs must answer all criteria and provide all of the information the donor/funder requires. Not following the guidelines will result in immediate disqualification.
3. Proposal. Once an NGO passes the first application state, a proposal will be requested. The proposal must be well-written and error-free. Most importantly, it must contain all of the necessary elements to show the donor that the NGO has a strategy and high-quality team members.
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Challenges such as poor governance, a lack of strategic planning, and poor networking can all be addressed through:
Capacity building and training can help to provide crucial new skills. NGOs can then more readily train staff and cultivate the necessary skills within the organization to address challenges going forward.
On-Demand Advice From Experts
The ability to reach out for needed advice and guidance whenever required during a project or to optimize NGO operations is extremely valuable. Access to qualified experts will inspire confidence in donors and contribute to the project’s success. NGOs will naturally become more efficient, streamlined and effective.
Information, Communication and Technology
All NGOs should be using a minimum of Internet, email, a basic website and relevant social medial platforms.
NGOs with assets can use any surplus to help generate income. Renting out buildings, offering training, providing consultancy, creating and selling products and trading on your name are just a few examples.
If your NGO is facing any of the challenges described above, Maximpact can help. We offer training and capacity building to strengthen your organization and assist you in meeting your goals.
How Maximpact team is tailoring capacity building services
Maximpact assists organizations by identifying and/or implementing the capacity building needs. Some organizations already know what skills and capacity their organizations lacks in and some have not yet identified them.
Once the capacity development need is identified, Maximpact selects the right expert(s) to provide customized capacity building service to the client. Maximpact believes that transferring knowledge is not the only thing you can do. Therefore, it’s main objective is to ensure practical usage of knowledge attained through its capacity building program.
It’s extensive pre-qualified global consulting network, and broad partnership network makes Maximpact perfectly equipped to match the right expertise efficiently, maximizing cost-benefit outcome for all clients. All consultants and experts within the network are assessed against set of professional capacity criteria to ensure their qualifications are in line with specific requests of Maximpact partners.