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What to Consider before starting an NGO!

Posted on 17 January, 2022 at 11:48

As the game begins, everyone is eager and anxious to see how it plays out. The passing of the ball, the defense, and the strikes matter less than one thing that everybody else awaits 'the goal'. One goal can make a difference yet the sweat, effort, plans, and strategies put in place just to score that one goal could be underestimated yet very critical aspects of the game. Most people including the players and the fans, forget that the game does not start at the field but during practice. Most of the time we realise our mistakes and failures when we are already in the game when faced with an opponent, or even after a loss. Before all that, the dream seems achievable, the goalpost seems so close to just scoring more than one goal, wait until it is a game between Malawi and Zimbabwe

I still remember how everyone underestimated the ball rolling game we played at a team-building workshop with my colleagues. I do not remember the last time l laughed like that, seeing people failing to aim the bottles after confessing the game to be very easy. It seemed easy looking at the distance from where you would be throwing the ball. It was funny how everyone missed. That is when I understood the importance of treating all tasks with the same significance. Zimbabwe may have played with Malawi and beaten it easily in the past, but the loss could have been a matter of undermining the opponent, and not practicing as it would have if the team were to play with another foreign team. Everyone was so excited, and offered the best support to the Zimbabwean Warriors, scoring the first goal within a few minutes in the game had everyone’s heads spinning with excitement. Everyone including the players had a lifetime celebration that even had the Malawi players panting with fear of loss.

Most start-up NGOs fail after promising to develop well, sometimes a big win at the start of the game tends to sway players away from the right direction, big wins at the beginning of each game steal the focus and replace it with over-excitement, and restlessness. Then after a rapid loss, all those who celebrated your first win with you, instantly forget about it and your failures immediately overshadow your success. ‘They should have done it like this, the coach should have prepared them like this, the defender was not supposed to be behind the striker, he should have just kicked the ball forward not try to pass it to the goalkeeper, they counted their eggs before they hatched, that was just too much celebration for just one goal in 10 minutes they would say.

It takes more than a will, a dream, a vision, a strategic plan, to develop an NGO from the starting point to where we can say it is doing well. Before the beginning process, put a lot of planning and strategizing into place. Opportunities, threats, challenges, strengths, and weaknesses should all be detected before getting into the actual field. To build up a team that does not only play but plays to win, the Zimbabwe team should have a skilled, qualified, and experienced coach, good players, and good support as well in terms of practice, strategy, and skill so does NGOs. Many fail because there are challenges relating to registration, raising funds, managing funds that founders may find difficult to uphold. Right systems like NGO registration, team composition, and experience to manage a nonprofit organization should be well known before starting up.

Things to consider before starting an NGO.

1. Start with WHY You need to have a clear idea of what your motivations are for starting an NGO. Once you have established a clear list of your motivations, take some time to question and slightly adjust each one in turn. These motivations will be what drives your initiative from start to finish and motivate people throughout your organization, so they need to be secure. Simon Sinek argues that ‘people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you are doing it – that ' buying into’ your charity through donating or supporting will be buying into your ‘why’ and not just, you are ‘what;

2. Do you have enough education or knowledge in the field? Constantly and actively extend your theoretical education in the field as far as possible. This can involve reading as widely as possible on the internet, as well as in written publications and books. Getting a qualification on the field as well can be a huge plus. Attending seminars, webinars, and workshops, and networking with people in the same field. 80/20 Development in an Unequal World, and The Ethics of Global Poverty: An Introduction by Scott Wisor. The websites of major charities such as Oxfam are also worth looking through for their advice and resources, and there are numerous articles available online. Most people who run small charities are usually quite happy to offer advice if you contact them – talking to as many people as possible is hugely eye-opening.

3. Do you have enough experience? Even if you have incredibly good intentions and a clear plan in your mind, your project is certainly going to be more successful for the beneficiaries if you do all you can to extend your experience base. Knowledge might be as important but experience helps connect with the right channels, right people, and right strategies towards achieving the main goal. With knowledge, you only have roots, but with experiences, you got also have branches that can bear fruits from different angles. The Zimbabwean coach should not just have the knowledge about soccer but also experienced, and experienced players who would know what strategy to use to remain winners in the game.

4. Get the community you serve involved in your planning and decision-making. This is vital. It is important that you spend time discussing your project with the local community or communities before anything begins. There is a need to understand the complex issues that feed into your ‘why’ and subsequent ‘how’. Talking to others leading charitable initiatives in the area, as their advice will be invaluable is also essential. Once your idea is growing in shape, it is then vital to have formal meetings with the beneficiaries of your project to discuss the idea with them. They should be encouraged to explain their own needs (and the all-important ‘why’ behind those needs should always be found).

5. Have you fully considered the possible negative implications of your actions? Before getting it to the field, the Warriors should always consider the negative implications, on them, the Zimbabwean fans, if they lose a game. In every single action, it is also important to consider what the possible negative implications for your actions may be. Seemingly, insignificant choices can often have large-scale negative consequences. 6. Impact and Strategic Planning The fact that you are asking people for donations gives you a real responsibility for spending funds in an effective way. Long-term aims often do shift a little as the charity progresses but provide useful aims to work towards and help you draw everything towards particular focal points. Thinking carefully about the degree of commitment you want to offer the cause before starting, and thinking about other time commitments in the process would be helpful. Other factors to consider are self-sufficiency, environmental impact; be prepared to be your own spokesperson, do you have enough people to support you?

Join KFM Consultants on the 27th of January 2022 as we discuss issues on starting your own NGO.

By Nobukhosi Ndlovu
Marketing Coordinator


NMap Technologies