Uncategorized · January 22, 2010

Where is the Tipping Point for NGOs?

I was in a meeting today representing an NGO i volunteer with. We were trying to get funding for a planned activity that would benefit the public. However, the prospective donor had a lot of questions and some of them got me thinking about how an NGO evolves.

When does an NGO evolve from just being a cause to being a efficiently run machine or vehicle to advocate or support a cause? How does an NGO move up to the next level and then the next?

I volunteer with 2 NGOs here in Sabah. Habitat for Humanity KK and Befrienders KK. Both NGOs are relatively new so to speak. Habitat has been around longer than Befrienders but last year was the first time the founder did not want to seek re-election and wanted new blood to lead the cause. Befrienders on the other hand is in its 2nd year after the first protem committee…so the founder is still pretty much involved in the association.

With both NGOs i must say that both founders have a passion or in Befrienders case, was truly affected by a suicide that happened in the state that she decided that she wanted to find a way to help others. Hence the beginning of Befrienders in KK.

No doubt in both instances the sheer drive and focus on their causes have enabled the founders to recruit volunteers to help in the association…however, as an association grows, is it possible for the founder to continue to impart his or her passion to the new volunteers and run the association and raise enough funds and take care of the welfare of the volunteers?

At the end of the day, no matter what social work we want to do, or whatever reason behind it, we do want to be acknowledged and if possible rewarded. I mean, we are helping others but once in a while it would be good to be recognised for our efforts as well.

In the case of these two NGOs, i have no doubt about the drive, passion and focus on the cause and the association that the founders have. However, i do wonder about their management ability. The ability to manage people, the ability to manage the growth of the association, the skills to keep on attracting volunteers of caliber….

How does one evolve from an advocate of a cause to become advocate/business?

One simple way i can think of is for there to be a system in place to recognise outstanding and dedicated volunteers. If the funds permit, reward them..does not have to be monetary…just go out and buy a dinner for that person or person(s)…a trip might be nice as well…

Any ideas?