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NGO Clinic to help NGOs stay Healthy
By Karen Laurie
Mumbai, Mar. 1. The Don Bosco Institute of Management and Research (DBIMR) unveiled plans to set up a 'NGO clinic' to provide NGOs with short-term consultancy, to help conduct workshops and to act as a platform fornetworking among the relevant NGOs in Mumbai.
The clinic, slated to start on April 22, will be the endeavour of DBIMR to ultimately be a centre to empower NGOs in all the relevant areas. It will be based at the Don Bosco Centre for Learning (DBCL) campus in Kurla. The faculty of DBIMR will run the clinic and Dr S P Das will be the head. Assistance of other experts will be sought on need basis.

48 NGO representatives, who attended a special seminar entitled 'Empowering NGOs for the Future' by DBIMR on February 15, welcomed news of the new initiative. DBMIR conceptualised the idea to empower NGOs, given that the Government of India, in 2013, enacted a law whereby qualifying companies must spend at least 2% of their net average profits of the last three years on initiatives in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

In this context, corporates are regularly in search of credible implementing agencies like NGOs to commit their funds for CSR projects. Therefore, it allows the NGOs to become adept and skilful in meeting the expectations of the government and corporates.

"DBCL has emphasised outreach activity since its inception and therefore has a strong networking with NGOs wherein students are actively involved by means of Social Internship and other social developmental activities. Being a management institute, we need to engage with the NGOs in empowering them with professional skills," Das said.

In society today, traditional business paradigms are being challenged. Therefore, corporates with a triple bottom line, who look to the welfare of 'People, the Planet and Profits' will be preferred by society as places of investment. As this trend grows further, these companies will look for professional implementing agencies.

"The first workshop which is planned on April 22 will be free of charge. Based on the response at the workshop - with respect to what range of fees the NGOs would be willing to bear for the range of consulting services - the fees for the consultancy will be decided," Das said.

The three panel discussions held at the seminar recently, underlined the need for NGOs to manage their finances well and to put in place quality management systems.  Discussions, at the seminar, focused on finance management of NGOs, CSR funding opportunities and quality management systems and procedures of NGOs.

Nikhil Pant - the Chief Programme Executive, National Foundation for CSR, IICA (Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs) affiliated to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs - was the Chief Guest for the seminar. He provided his insights during the panel discussions.

The need for businesses to be inclusive was stressed upon and corporates were encouraged to take into account economic, social and environmental impact of their businesses. The need for corporates, NGOs, government and civil society to take responsibility for the development of the nation was also highlighted.

In course of the discussions, it emerged that a majority of NGOs, while doing commendable work, needed to realise that the rules of the game had changed, and their documentation needed to be in line with basic mandatory requirements.

It was highlighted that a trust deficit existed between the corporates and NGOs and for that to be addressed, NGOs needed to demonstrate consistent capability and transparency so that their funds are utilised appropriately.

It was also stated that education institutions were expected to play an important role in facilitating the collaboration between government, NGOs and corporates. Students could be involved in research, documentation, case studies and projects.  

New, lesser-established NGOs - still grappling with questions about CSR funding opportunities, quality management and financial planning - can, with DBIMR's 'NGO clinic', get the required assistance to write their success story in their field of interest.

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