Working with the social sector for over a decade helped us realise that capacity building is an on-going process,requiring patience, persistence and strategic effort. We surveyed over 100 NGO decision makers, donors, government agencies and beneficiaries on their definition and constituents of a good NGO,resulting in the capacity building programme, Niranthara, covering eight key non-domain areas for effective NGO functioning.
Niranthara Direct Services (NDS) focus on building institutional capacity through 24 months of comprehensive support. From classroom training sessions and provision of tools and technology to overseeing site implementation, we facilitate NGO transformation by working closely with the board, leadership and programme staff.
The NDS pilot programme was launched in December 2017, with a cohort of 23 grassroots NGOs, most of them from rural Karnataka. Our objective is to help our NGO partners develop into effective, well-managed and sustainable organizations, which perform better internally and meet the evolving expectations of external stakeholders.
One of the challenges that small and rural NGOs face on the capacity building front is finding and retaining qualified and well-trained personnel who can manage their internal systems and processes. Niranthara Service Agency (NSA) solves this problem by taking over the entire backend responsibility for NGOs, in an efficient and affordable way.
As an external service agency, NSA provides services in all significant “non-domain” areas, including compliance, governance, HR, MIS, accounting and finance, marketing and fundraising. As a ‘local agency catering to local NGOs’, every NSA serves NGO clients who are located within 100 km. Each NSA is expected to support at least 30 NGO clients.
Currently, we are in the process of setting up two pilot NSAs in different districts of Karnataka; helping them take off to a great start by guiding and supporting them towards recruitment of core teams, business development, training and resource development, and assessment and auditing.
The non-profit sector in India has been growing consistently over the past decade. However, with growth come new challenges, which need to be addressed to ensure the efficient functioning and delivery of the non-profits.
Some of the biggest challenges that small and rural NGOs face today are capacity building and organisation development, establishing trust and accountability with external stakeholders and keeping abreast with evolving donor expectations. Dhwani Foundation has set out to alleviate these challenges at scale through an innovative “Train the Trainer” model, based on the Niranthara programme.
Capacity building of NGOs through the Train-the-Trainer Model
(FAs) working with
FAs as Knowledge
Share resources and
processes with FAs
through a Training
of Trainers (ToT) programme
their NGO partners
Support FAs to
and measure NGO’s
An MIS Software developed by Dhwani Foundation, Goonjan helps nonprofits manage
their beneficiaries and donors, as well as, track the delivery of their services.
Managing beneficiaries and delivering value-added services with Goonjan
Managing transparent and efficient donor relationships with Goonjan
To reach out to smaller NGOs, who often face roadblocks like poor internet connectivity and outdated hardware, Goonjan works on a cloud-based system with an easy user interface. NGOs can login from any devise, even with basic connectivity. By early 2019, Goonjan completed over 60 installations across India and Cambodia, together helping in managing over 2,00,000 beneficiary records.
To learn more about Goonjan, Click Here
Good Governance plays an important role in promoting the accountability of an NGO. However, small NGOs, especially in rural areas, struggle with governance as they fail to attract the right experts and professionals on to their board. Invariably, the family members and well-wishers form the board, making it less effective.
Launched in May 2019, Updshak is a 6-months programme to induct independent board members to NGOs. We identify experts from various professional backgrounds, including corporate leaders, charted accountants, government officials and academicians, and recommend them to relevant NGO boards. The new board members, as well as the existing NGO leadership and board, go through an induction program of up to six months to ensure a fruitful and lasting alliance.
External stakeholder expectations on good governance, which guide our board member selection:
Does the NGO have a minimum of 5-7 members?
Are at least some of them independent members?
Do they have different backgrounds – finance, social sector, legal, corporate, government?
Do they actively contribute towards organisation’s growth and development?
What unique value does each board member bring to the organisation?
Dhwani is aiming to induct 60 board members by 2022 in NGOs across Karnataka, focusing on child and women’s rights, disability, education and livelihood.
Branding and marketing communications play an important role in establishing NGO credibility, raising awareness and building beneficial relationships with donors. Smaller NGOs, especially those in rural areas, lack the resources and skills to promote their work and communicate their impact effectively, undermining their possibilities to attract support.
Nikhar was established to provide requisite marketing and digital communications support to NGOs.
We help create everything from brand identity design to marketing material like banners, brochures and flyers, to help represent themselves better. We also support them in creating more professional fundraising collaterals to seek institutional, as well as, retail donations; be it strong fundraising appeals or credible annual reports that meet the expectations of CSR funders.
Today, NGOs cannot ignore the digital space and we help them take their first steps by building and maintaining their websites, managing social media and providing online content writing support. We ensure that their good work reaches out to the right people, in the right way and at the right time.
The Knowledge Hub is an ambitious initiative by Dhwani Foundation to serve the diverse information and digital needs of various non-profit sector stakeholders, across India and South Asia.
The dedicated portal will be a one-stop-solution to address the distinct needs of NGOs and NGO federations, CSR managers, local and international funding agencies, individual donors, government agencies and policy makers, academia, as well as, civil society and media.
Knowledge Hub will be a great tool for CSR managers and funding agencies for NGO discovery and validation, proposal solicitation, publicity and outreach, and employee volunteering. Government agencies can share updates on policy frameworks, funding and schemes, regulations and compliance, etc.
NGO federations play an important role in driving the growth of the sector they represent and also supporting the growth of their member NGOs through the power of partnerships and sharing of resources and know-how.
Dhwani Foundation offers strategic direction and support to NGO federations to help them function better as a collective and promote the overall sector’s development. Our services are focused on improving governance systems within the federation, supporting the capacity building of their NGO partners, and helping them represent the sector more effectively and influence policy level changes with the government.
FEVOURD-K: A united mission towards sustainable development
Federation of Voluntary Organizations for Urban and Rural Development in Karnataka or FEVOURD-K is an apex body of voluntary organizations across 27 district networks in the State. The Federation functions as a “collective voice” of over 550 organisations, uniting them in their mission towards sustainable development and social justice of marginalized communities.
As a resource partner, Dhwani Foundation is supporting FEVOURD-K on various fronts, including the setting up of good governance standards at central and district levels, developing their 3-year Strategic Plan, enabling digital presence for their member organisations and setting up a secretariat for the Federation’s efficient functioning.
Setting a Standard Maturity Model
Based on the insights drawn from the Niranthara programme evaluation, as well as, through extensive consultation with various stakeholders, Dhwani Foundation is working on standardising NGO evaluation, especially for grassroots NGOs.
The NGO Validation Model aims to be a tool that is accepted by all stakeholders, including NGOs, government, donors, academia and resource organisations, and offers a turn-key solution for monitoring, implementation and evaluation. It will also reduce the documentation burden on smaller NGOs by getting rid of ad-hoc systems of selection and partnership management.
The Government plays a pivotal role in social sector development, as the principal donor for community development initiatives and non-profit organisations. Several central and state government schemes offer long-term funding support and medium to large size grants to NPOs working in various development sectors, such as Education, Health, Water and Sanitation; establishing a winning government-NGO-community partnership. However, the lack of effective implementation and management often hinders the smooth functioning of this crucial partnership and compromises the programme impact.
The Government Policy initiative of Dhwani Foundation strives to build successful partnerships between government departments, civil society groups and NGOs, to contribute collectively towards effectuating progressive policies for the development sector. Key activities include, influencing policy formation, identifying and documenting unaddressed issues in the sector, promoting effective policy implementation and working on the ground to strengthen delivery mechanisms.