Re: 10 Principles for organisations in the social sector
- Principle 9: Work on 2 levels of ecosystems
When working to improve eco-systems, most NGOs work on the internal
eco-system that consists of the NGO, it's beneficiaries, it's donors, it's
volunteers, it's own staff and management. NGOs look at improving internal
governance, motivation for staff, efficient utilization of funds, feedback
to donors and other supporters and better communication to beneficiaries.
There is a second eco-system that is as important for NGOs and that NGOs
must work on improving; this is the external eco-system that NGOs are part
of. Other stakeholders in this eco-system are the government, the media,
corporates, educational institutes, individuals - basically the rest of the
world. NGOs must work on shaping and improving how the rest of the world
sees, understands, reacts to and engages with NGOs.
How can this be done? NGOs must expand their work and visibility beyond
those who already know and support them, by sharing details of their work
through various methods, by interacting with schools and colleges, by
partnering and collaborating with the other stakeholders in various ways.
Further, networking amongst NGOs themselves can lead to more impactful
results and greater reach for an issue. NGOs must engage with media to
change the common perception that if there is a problem, then only NGOs can
fix it, as government does not know how to, corporates are not interested
and the rest of the world is unaware.
Unless NGOs work on improving the second , outer eco-system and change how
the rest of the world sees and behaves with NGOs, they will continue to be
in a helpless and re-active position, mush the same as most beneficiaries
are to NGOs, rather than in a pro-active position where NGOs can lead the
dialogue and show the solutions to the rest.
- Principle 10: Let go of everything
This is a bit difficult to explain.
As individuals as well as organizations, we should be willing and able to
let go of everything.
As NGOs we should be willing to let go the fact that our NGO was not
mentioned in the media, despite the fact that we did better work on that
issue; we should be able to let go awards and rewards for our work that we
may or may not get; we should be able to let go the fact that despite best
efforts, we were unable to do all that we wanted to do this year... and many
other such small and large things that seem to come in the way of our work.
Because when you do let go, suddenly the way ahead magically opens up before
you; the work is as tough and the end is as far, but you have suddenly
become more equipped to deal with all that, just by letting go.
While I believe that these 10 principles I have shared with you today could
be applicable to all of you, you all may evolve some more principles
depending on the work that your organization does, and it's size and spread.
Irrespective of where you are placed within your organization, whether
junior or senior, whether just joined or a founder, I would strongly urge
all of you to revert to these principles every 6 months, and think about how
you and your work are evolving.
I look forward to questions and comments from you.
- 10 Principles for organisations in the social sector
1. Understand the root cause, and not just the symptoms
2. The cause is bigger than ourselves
3. Develop a spiritual base
4. Have an over-arching message
5. Have a small message; a call to action
6. Work to change government policy
7. Identify an equilibrium point
8. Respond to the big shifts in government and private sector
9. Work on 2 levels of ecosystems
10. Let go of everything
- I am from an NGO working in Bangalore.Our organisation works with youth in government schools and colleges.For the projects that we implement for govt. schools, we always have to pay a bribe to get our payments cleared.While I understand and appreciate the principles for NGOs that we are discussiong, and while our own organisation has also had discussions about not praying thebribe, we are unable to take any step.Not paying the bribe means that our payments will not be cleared and we cannot pay our staff.Complaining about the bribe-takers could mean that we risk losing out all future government projects, on which we are currently dependent for a large part of our revenue.Can anybody help us with what we can do?