India is home to close to 31 lakh NGOs, which is more than double the number of schools in the country. While the number of NGOs is growing fast, it is also a fact that most of them are struggling to maintain their operations in an effective way. NGOs have to deal with a lot of data, and most of them do not have the visibility that is needed for running an efficient operation. With minimal staff, many NGOs have a herculean task in preparing the documentation with respect to project planning, expenditure and managing approvals.
Understanding the unique needs of NGOs, a technology solutions firm, SynergyConnect, has developed a comprehensive system for NGOs. “Most NGOs in India lack a comprehensive system that can take care of the financial accounting, the human resources part, the donations, communicating to all stakeholders and the compliance required from a statutory point of view. We have built a centralized system that helps NGOs capture data effectively, document the same and monitor project progress using a dashboard,” states Nitin Naik, Founder, SynergyConnect.
The platform is designed to help NGOs and Corporates to manage their projects in a professional way so that they can adhere to Government guidelines. Data can be captured via surveys which are in-built into the platform. NGOs can also create a baseline and map projects according to the cost. Data capture can be done using tablets and also in an offline mode. This helps NGOs fill in data in remote areas, where telecom connectivity may be poor.
To ensure accuracy of data, the system allows granular data to be captured about every entity or project. “In one of our big projects, there is a provision to capture 500 data points about an entity. NGOs can also use this platform to create a systematic approach to manage their objectives. For instance, they can assign variables such as time, person costs to every milestone and the overall project,” states Naik. The platform helps in managing documentation, in data collection, and in the final analysis and presentation. The most important aspect lies in maintaining compliance in terms of certification, audit and project based reporting.
Donors also have access to the same documentation with respect to skills, affiliations or milestones achieved. For the NGOs, securing funding using this platform is much more easier as they can show transparently the progress of various projects along with milestones met. This is useful as grants are released periodically and tied to the progress of the objectives achieved.
Naik believes that the opportunity for NGOs to transform themselves using technology is huge, and hopes that his firm can be part of the transformation. The opportunity for his firm is also huge as India has more than half a million NGOs, and most of them do not have the resources or the technological capability to streamline their operations.