Current State of Non-Government Organizations
No one questions the fact that the Philippines is a developing country and like any other developing country it receives aid in the form of cash, goods and intangibles (e.g. technical support) from international and local organizations. Aid such as these are channeled into the country through a pipeline of government or non-government partnerships which help bridge the gap between the people in need of the aid and those who are providing aid. This has been the system for as long as anyone can remember because in order for aid to be distributed, there needs to be an existing network or system that knows how to navigate through the country’s political and societal maze. If no one were to bridge this gap, cash grants would end up in the hands of corrupt individuals, goods would be endlessly tied up in warehouses awaiting distribution and good hearted individuals willing to provide technical assistance for programs would never set foot on-site.
In the current system, majority of this gap is bridged by local non-government organizations. The organizations come from a diverse background of good willed individuals that have found their calling in various causes and require the assistance of international groups to boost or sustain their efforts for change. Since they are non-profit, their operations are run with a tight budget and a skeleton staff. Most of them survive through the help of a benefactor, a company that is providing corporate social responsibility through them or from sheer will and innovative thinking of their founders and members. Because of such a situation a number of NGOs have fizzled and died. And the end of the day the problem stems from the question: How can we help NGOs be more sustainable?
Helping the Non-Government Organization
Given the three methods of sustainability (having a benefactor, having a company-CSR program partnership or sheer innovative willpower), it seems that the most viable is to recruit help from benefactors who believe in the same cause as the NGO. This can be performed from active advertising, passive advertising and having a communications system that is cross continental in order for interested benefactors to have the ability to contact the NGO.
The simple solution is to use the Internet for all of this. By sending bulk mail to various institutions world wide, an NGO can increase its visibility ten-fold. By creating a website and a mailing address, an NGO can increase its accessibility and exposure. And finally by being able to communicate within a matter of seconds, partnerships, assistance and technical trainings can be accomplished across continents at relatively low costs.
These simple steps can provide an NGO with much needed support and thus enable it to become sustainable for many more years to come.