Capacity Building has been one of the biggest challenges faced by the social sector for more than a decade. Limited funding, lack of time and resources, leadership bandwidth, geographically spread teams, focus on programmatic areas a lot more than non-programmatic areas are some of the reasons why capacity building takes a back seat.
Capacity building has been consistently called out as a challenge in the social sector for well over a decade.
By 'capacity' we mean:
The NGO's capabilities in non-programmatic areas that contribute to organizational and programmatic effectiveness and efficiencies such as strategy, systems and processes in areas such as financial planning and management, talent hiring, management and development, governance, visibility, innovation, technology leverage, program management, culture, coaching, and so on
Technical support in areas such as M&E and proposal writing
Access to intelligence / advisory support in domains / thematic areas.
Most NGOs do not have the scale, resources, capability or bandwidth to support internal capacity building. A platform solution that leverages technology can help in pooling of resources, create economies of scale and avoid wasteful duplication.
India Social Sector Platform (ISSP) is a technology enabled platform that helps organizations build capacity within their organization as well as their ecosystem to maximize their impact.
Through our extensive primary and secondary research with funders, foundations, social sector experts and NGOs over the last 6 months, our key insights have been as follows:
Technology is the only way we can scale a solution to reach the lakhs of NGOs across India and ensure rapid adoption
There is huge excitement about a technology enabled platform solution for capacity building within the funder community as well as NGOs
Organizations in different stages of evolution have challenges that are unique. The kind of help and support they might need could range from a simple do it yourself toolkit to an expert solution provider to fix the issue
A few India based platforms that are available, predominately support organizations on programmatic aspects, registration and legal aspects, crowdsourcing and funding. Capacity building is focused on thematic areas and domains. Nothing exists to support organizations in non-programmatic areas
The sector is not yet ready to adopt a fully technology enabled platform to build capacity. There is still a big need for expertise led support in a deep, consultative mode when it comes to individual / organizational capacity building
While there is a lot of information available on the net, navigating through the information, curating what is needed and understanding what tools will have a better impact is still an area that NGOs struggle with
NGOs will benefit significantly from certification, self-assessments, access to information and tools they can implement on their own, access to industry experts to work through a problem
India Social Sector Platform (ISSP) is an aggregator which provides a suite of solutions for various capacity building needs for the social sector on one platform. It is a platform that will bring together NGOs working in different domains, based in different geographies and service providers/ expert volunteers who can contribute to build the capacity of the NGO.
ISSP will have the following features to start with. The platform will evolve based on needs from the sector over the next few years.
Service Providers Directory: Marketplace of NGO Service providers in technical, functional areas across various domains. Service providers can register themselves and showcase the work they have done in this sector. NGOs looking for a service can reach out to the service provider and discuss their needs further. Once the service is provided, the NGO can leave a rating and testimony/ feedback about the partnership with the service provider
Expert Volunteer Hub: Individuals who are experts in a range of non-programmatic areas and are willing to mentor / coach / support NGOs on a voluntary basis. NGOs can reach out to expert volunteers with a specific need they would like to address in their organization
Do-It-Yourself Toolkits: including an Organization self-assessment and dashboard which can be used by the NGOs and/or leveraged by the Volunteer Experts
Knowledge Repository: Benchmarking reports, best practices' compilations, etc.
India Social Sector Platform has been conceived and developed through multiple interactions and working sessions with a host of Funder and capacity building organizations: Dr. Reddy's Foundation; ISDM; APPI; BMGF; Tata Trusts; MSDF; SVP; EdelGive Foundation; Nilekani Philanthropies; Bridgespan; ToolBox; CoCoon and Phicus Social Solutions.