Coming from the competitive business-world as coaches where we helped organisations and individuals to develop, to improve and to grow, it has been a series wonderful learning experiences for us working with non-profit organisations and also an opportunity to apply our thinking in this space, as social entrepreneurs.
After spending time in East Africa, India, China, Vietnam and Thailand as social entrepreneurs we have discovered that there are so many individuals and organisations that are working tirelessly that are not formally registered and many that are registered, as NGO, NPO, CBO or other, and are not aware of the many avenues of support they can get for free.
Well its chicken and egg syndrome for many.
They want to do some sustainable good in their community, but do not know about these freebies, unless local government communicates, or they stumble across online or their network is effective or a visitor aids them. So almost a waiting game for many and they don’t really know what they are waiting for, so just get on with being creative and resourceful outstripping many innovation strategies of big corporates.
Next they often have to navigate the arduous language, systems, structures to understand what they can get, then pull together a submission that will go to an coordinator, who will ask a series of questions.
Put yourself in the activists shoes, many just struggle on regardless and give up going legitimate and not because they are illegal and of course there are plenty of fraudulent organisations.
In many cases the activists’ ability is not a reflection of their desire, it can just be a case of being put through a grind mill again and again, on-top of the issues they are working on in their community. Not to mention the language and cultural barriers that exist even within the borders of a country and would rather just focus on the day-to-day fix things, as best as they can.
Equipping them with the right tools, techniques and systems and enabling them to continue long after an external volunteer has departed should be paramount on the volunteers’ list of things to do when engaged, evenly briefly with a community organisation.
Lots more to come on this subject.