Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are organizations known to support and act on various causes. These causes differ based on the focus areas NGOs have. Each NGO is unique from each other. The likelihood of NGOs having the same focus area may be high, but their mission and vision, alongside their reasons for operating, will differ.
Generally, NGOs are focused on giving aid and support for further development, regardless of the themes set out. However, NGOs at current face several problems to which they are not always prepared for.
1. Lack of Funds
An NGOs goal doesn’t lie on accomplishing a project alone. After the success of a certain project, NGOs would want to maintain contact with their beneficiaries and make sure continuous progress is happening. Apart from that, NGOs would also want to be able to help more individuals and communities depending on their needs. To do so, NGOs need to constantly acquire funds. In some cases, NGOs become complacent and simply wait for donations or previous supporters to contact them. This practice will in no way contribute to the successes of an NGO. Although partner organizations and supporters will want to continually support an NGOs causes, they may possibly see more potential in other organizations and decide to fund others instead. Not having enough funds not only pose difficulties in accomplishing projects, but it also puts NGOs in jeopardy given that there are also many operational costs.
Solution: Although your NGO at current possibly has numerous partners who fund for your projects, that shouldn’t be an excuse to grow complacent in searching for new opportunities. Always research for the latest grants and offerings, funding opportunities for NGOs, and even small grants for NGOs. While searching for additional funders would benefit you in the long run, it certainly won’t be enough. The end goal should always be acquiring funds, and not simply getting hold of grant-funding agencies. The secret to receiving various grants is simple. To avoid partner organizations having second thoughts, create well-crafted proposals. Invest in necessary trainings if needed, as this can bring many good opportunities.
Maintaining a good relationship with partners will likewise be helpful in growing as an organization.
2. No Strategic Planning
At times, many bright ideas can come to place but it can also cause confusions and stray you away from the initial goal. Although many good ideas come, sometimes, they don’t always remain in line with the goals set out.
Solution: Although some organizations may already be experienced and their employees are familiar with their operations, coaching and training every now and then can still be helpful. In every situation, employees and volunteers will inevitably pick something up and be able to apply it for further development of the organization.
3. Absence of networking
NGOs working together to reach their goals more efficiently is one perspective. However, some NGOs also see it as a form of competition. For some reason, there are NGOs who believe getting close to other NGOs or nonprofits will cause them to have more competition in terms of applying for grants.
Solution: Having a mindset that other NGOs should be seen as competition is unhealthy. If other NGOs get approved of grants, it should, in fact, be seen as an opportunity to partner and learn from them. Making use of the technology could also help in making networks within your space. The internet keeps us updated with the events we can attend and keeps us in contact with other NGOs and nonprofits too.
4. Lack of maintenance
In many developing countries, the lack of infrastructure is quite common and NGOs believe that people deserve a better standard of living. Thus, many NGOs have decided to address this issue by building communities beneficial to a lot of individuals. Initially, results are evident and people live a better life. But it should be kept in mind that not all communities have the capacity to maintain the same lifestyle they were expected to have. Without proper maintenance, the benefits to their living standards may only be temporary. Additionally, having a number of projects which do not have lasting results will also affect your NGOs capacity to gain funds. Grant-funding agencies will rather give to those who can prove their capacity to implement and maintain on a long-term basis.
Solution: Given the number of communities in developing countries and the limited funding sources for non-profit organizations, it’s quite tempting to move on to the next project to provide aid for other communities who are equally in desperate need of help as well. Thus, it would be best to make sure there is enough resources and manpower to both maintain an existing project and begin a new one. It will be better to successfully accomplish just a few projects with lasting impact rather than accomplishing a lot but with temporary results. In the end, a slow but sure process is still more effective as compared to handing more than your capacity.
NGOs are organizations who people look up to and may seem to have it all, but just like others, also struggle in more ways imaginable. Like many others, NGOs are not perfect and also go through a trial and error stage. Hence, when things don’t go as planned, it’s important to always be prepared and come up with alternatives.
Author: Kimberly Nicole Yu
About the Author
Kimberly Yu is the Content Marketing Associate of AsianNGO. She earned her degree in Consular and Diplomatic Affairs from De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde where she was an active student who participated in various Model United Nations conferences locally and once in Washington D.C. She’s passionate about what she does and one day aims to contribute to strengthening world peace.