Internal politics is one of the biggest problems faced by NGOs around the world. In India, foundations, and NGOs (registered as societies, trusts, section 8 [old – section 25] companies), are incorporated on a daily basis either to make money or to launder it. These organizations spend 90% of their time carrying out such activities. The rest is spent on blowing their own trumpets (unnecessary marketing expense, media cover expense, posh office buildings, vehicles, expensive resources, and so on). With illegal foreign funds, laundered money, and bogus non-existent projects, the NGO sector is one of the booming illegal businesses, worth several billions of US dollars.
India houses over 20 million NGOs and 99% of them fall under the above category. The Government has to take strict measures to curb this cancer to boost economic growth and reduce black-money. The remaining 1%, which actually wants to make a difference is limited by lack of resources, funds, and other pressures. Absence of professionalism, capacity, support, and the right approach limit their performance.
The people are also confused about whom to support. A donor should be aware of and make themselves familiar with certain things before supporting an NGO in India.
An NGO readily available with the documents below can be trusted to some extent because bureaucracy still plays an ugly role within big NGOs. Such NGOs often rely on grandiose and controlled media coverage, instead of transparency.
- Registered with 7 or more members on the board
- 12A for tax exemptions
- 80G for local fundraising
- FCRA for foreign fundraising
- Recent annual reports & audited financial reports for transparency
Despite possessing these documents and being transparent, the aforesaid 1% faces other kinds of trouble.
- Political pressure – faced by anyone who is trying to do the right thing.
- Societal pressure – for example, A high caste settlement may try to drive out an NGO for working with the oppressed low caste settlement in their locality. They will want the low caste people around for doing the dirty/menial jobs.
- Project area pressure – for example, Local power bodies (politicians, village heads, etc) will try to exit NGOs because people may start questioning the bodies and their “traditional practices” after the public rights & privileges awareness creation.
- Project beneficiary pressure – Beneficiaries may accuse the organization of supposedly “making money at their expense”. For example, half-educated beneficiaries with little/no knowledge about community development tend to often make such accusations.
- Governmental pressure – A local administrative body may simply deny entry for an NGO to work with communities, due to various underlying meaningless factors (e. g., bribe demand), overtly stating unrelated law/policy/procedure.
While some may easily give up, SHAPE takes the projects to the deepest parts of the society because it loves the people.