One of the major issues faced by NGOs is how to upgrade to increase the impact of their work. Recently, philanthropy advisory Bridgespan Group India conducted a study of some organizations, including Kaivalya, Akshaya Patra, Aravind Eye Care Systems, Goonj and Agastya International Foundation to know how Indian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are scaling up.
The report categorizes five persistent mindsets—dignity, denominator, radical frugality, innovative hiring and collaborative—among these NGOs to elucidate the strategies that have played a key role in helping them to increase their reach.
As per Bridgespan report, the denominator mindset helps to stay focused on the size of the need, while being flexible in dealing with it; the radical frugality mindset as the ability to cut costs while expanding impact; the dignity mindset as the skill to serve masses; the innovative hiring mindset as the ability to find veiled talent from unanticipated sources; and lastly the collaborative mindset as the set-up where the government becomes a cohort, not an opponent. Among the NGO’s interviewed, over 70% illustrated dignity, denominator and innovative hiring mindsets.
India’s diversity makes the non-profit program a more intricate process as compared with other countries. The Akshaya Patra demonstrates how when a non-profit operates with a “dignity mindset”, it is all set to establish a successful model as it spreads out geographically. Akshaya Patra, which provides free mid-day meals to deprived children, modified from its classic meal consisting of rice and sambar to serving chapaties, a staple food in North India.
One major discovery of the study states that, scaling up of the NGOs is directly related to collaborating with the government. More than 80% of the non-profit organizations have made the government a fundamental collaborator in their success. The collaboration has greatly assisted the NGOs on different fronts like funds and access to government’s infrastructure including primary health centers and schools.