Common Challenges That Are Faced By NGOs
The main challenges to the missions of most NGOs are as follows:
Lack of Funds
Many NGOs find it difficult to garner sufficient and continuous funding for their work. Gaining access to appropriate donors is a major component of this challenge. They may have limited resource mobilization skills locally, so instead they wait for international donors to approach them. Current donors may shift priorities and withdraw funding. The NGO might suffer from a general lack of project, organizational and financial sustainability.
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Absence of Strategic Planning
Many NGOs suffer from the lack of a cohesive, strategic plan that would facilitate success in their activities and mission. This renders them unable to effectively raise and capitalize on financial support.
Poor Governance and Networking
A lack of effective governance is all too common in NGOs. Many have a deficit of understanding as to why they must have a Board and how to set one up. A founder may be too focused on running the NGO for their own purposes; however, governance is foundational to transparency.
Poor or disorganized networking is another major challenge, as it can cause duplicated efforts, time inefficiencies, conflicting strategies and an inability to learn from experience. The more NGOs communicate with one another, with International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) and with the community at large, the more effective all of them can be. However, many NGOs perceive INGOs as hindering or even threatening to their goals and missions.
Many NGOs do not maximize the use of current technologies that could facilitate better communication and networking. More effective use of technology can assist NGOs in staying abreast of important regional, national and global concerns.
NGOs often lack the technical and organizational capacity to implement and fulfill their mission, and few are willing or able to invest in training for capacity building. Weak capacity affects fundraising ability, governance, leadership and technical areas.
Many NGOs favor a “hardware” approach to development through building infrastructure and providing services instead of empowering people and institutions locally. Overall, their development approaches are not as flexible, sustainable and relevant to the community as they could be.
What are the solutions to those challenges?
In order to receive grant funding, an NGO must do the following:
1. Locate Opportunities. Find an appropriate grant and funder for their focus and mission.
2. Solid Concept Note / First Round Application. NGOs must answer all criteria and provide all of the information the donor/funder requires. Not following the guidelines will result in immediate disqualification.
3. Proposal. Once an NGO passes the first application state, a proposal will be requested. The proposal must be well-written and error-free. Most importantly, it must contain all of the necessary elements to show the donor that the NGO has a strategy and high-quality team members.