How can Non-profits Pivot Effectively while Dealing with the COVID-19 Crisis?

How can Non-profits Pivot Effectively while Dealing with the COVID-19 Crisis?

– By Roselin Dey

‘The toughest choice to make is between safety and service in these times of crisis’. The CEO of one of the largest non-profit organisations in India said this recently while rolling out their COVID-19 response strategy.

Non-profits specifically working in the development sector are witnessing a deep impact of COVID-19. On one hand, these non-profits are trying to support communities which are struggling with access to resources, health services and sustenance. On the other hand, donor attention and funds are getting diverted towards COVID-19 relief necessitating non-profits to re-evaluate their focus. In such times, non-profits face a difficult choice whether to continue with a constrained business-as-usual path or to pivot and work on community relief/response.

Financial sustainability is one of the primary drivers for this decision and hence having a discussion to build alignment with the strategic donors is the first step. Assuming that the funders are receptive to adapting their existing grants to work on COVID-19 response, non-profits should then see this as an opportunity to maximise social impact while leveraging core ethos and expertise.

Over the last few weeks, we have had the opportunity to work deeply with one such non-profit to support and co-create their response to COVID-19 crisis.

You can read the full article, here.

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Roselin Dey is a Senior Engagement Manager in the Non Profit Advisory team at Sattva. She works with high potential non-profits in designing and building solutions to enable high impact on the ground. She holds more than a decade of experience in strategy, partnerships development and program management with experience in domains of Sustainability, Social Impact, Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Sattva has been working with various non-profits and social organisations as well as corporate clients to help them define their social impact goals. Our focus is to solve critical problems and find scalable solutions. We assist organisations in formulating their long-term social impact strategy by strategically aligning with business to provide meaningful solutions to social issues.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on this topic. Do write to us: impact@sattva.co.in

Enabling Equity in Classrooms in India

Enabling Equity in Classrooms in India

– By Farhan Shaikh

Equity as a construct propagates the core value of fairness and inclusion with a strong belief that all individuals deserve the available opportunities for development despite differences in background and personal abilities. Unlike the notion of ‘equality’ in education, where treatment of every child is expected to be the same before the learning process, ‘equity’ promotes redistribution of resources and teaching support for collective development within the classroom. Given the enormous diversity within a country like India, there have been remarkable initiatives like the Right to Education Act of 2009 and flagship schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and mid-day meal which emphasises on education for all but does not necessarily solve for equity.

The latest Children in India Report by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India, reveals alarming statistics on the dropout rates of girls and students belonging to other socially disadvantaged groups. There is a 30% reduction in enrolment of girls from grade 5 to grade 9.For public schools in rural and semi-urban areas, enrolment up to grade 8 remains high mainly due to the mid-day meal scheme and other government incentives for parents to send their children to school. With its high tribal population, Jharkhand has the highest dropout rate of close to 70% for school children.

You can read the full article, here.

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Farhan Shaikh works with the Program Advisory and Management team at Sattva that largely engages with large scale non-profit Foundations. His work so far has primarily focused on organisational development of non-profits, data driven research studies and strategic philanthropy. Farhan has been associated with the Education circle of Sattva to develop content that can provide key actionable insights on specific problem areas. He completed his Bachelors in Statistics and followed it up with a Young India Fellowship at Ashoka University (Post graduate diploma in Liberal Arts).

Sattva has been working with various non-profits and social organisations as well as corporate clients to help them define their social impact goals. Our focus is to solve critical problems and find scalable solutions. We assist organisations in formulating their long-term social impact strategy by strategically aligning with business to provide meaningful solutions to social issues.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on this topic. Do write to us: impact@sattva.co.in

Karnataka CSR Summit

Karnataka CSR Summit

Sattva Consulting and Dhwani Foundation are jointly organising the Karnataka CSR Summit in Bengaluru on Friday, 7th February, 2020.

Karnataka is home to about 5% of the country’s population and 6% of the total number of companies incorporated. How are the CSR investments of INR 5000 Crore (and growing) by 1300 companies over the last 4 years transforming the development landscape of the state? How can the funders, implementers and the Government forge powerful partnerships reaching the neediest areas for effective impact?

Keynote Speakers:
Ms. Rohini Nilekani, Renowned Philanthropist
Ms. Vandita Sharma, Additional Chief Secretary & Development Commissioner

Join us at the Karnataka CSR Summit to hear from the grass-root level change makers, CSR leaders, high-impact philanthropists and the government officials on how we can collaborate and partner for furthering impact in the coming decade.

Event Date : Friday, 7th February 2020

NOTE: This is an invite only event. Please write to – impact@sattva.co.in.

NEP (National Education Policy) Series

NEP (National Education Policy) Series

– by Arpitha Rao and Farhan Yusuf

Background

The National Education Policy (NEP) 2019 has suggested some monumental shifts for education in India. The policy has reflected on problems across all stages of education including ECCE, foundational learning, secondary education and higher education. This series of articles covers Sattva’s perspective on the changing policy landscape and how solutions can take shape in the coming future.

A closer look at the ECCE landscape: Critical role of the non-profit ecosystem
The latest UNICEF’s programme guidance for Early Childhood Development reiterated that this area is considered an international priority and foundational to the SDGs given the scientific research around the importance of first 8 years of human life . National Education Policy (NEP) 2019 affirms this universal fact but fails to address certain key gaps in the institutional delivery of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). Despite policy gaps over the years, there have been key players who constantly supported the implementation side of ECCE. This article aims to bring out the growing need to understand the active solution space of the non-profit ecosystem within the ECCE landscape and present effective ways of greater collaboration and comprehensive solutions.

As a sector, the non-profit ecosystem offers a variety of solutions to strengthen the last mile delivery. Broadly the interventions target needs around health, pre-school education and responsive care through separate programs with few key players offering integrated services.

The full article can be accessed below.

NEP Series by Sattva – Full article

We deeply appreciate your feedback, comments, and suggestions. Write in to impact@sattva.co.in.

Social Stock Exchange – a primer for Indian SPOs

Social Stock Exchange – a primer for Indian SPOs

– by Arpitha Rao

Background
In her budget speech in July 2019, the Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed a Social Stock Exchange (SSE) for social enterprises and voluntary organisations working for social welfare to help them raise capital through debt, equity and mutual funds. The proposed exchange will be under the regulation of Securities and Board Exchange of India (SEBI), will allow the listing of social enterprises and voluntary organisations and will function as an electronic fundraising platform. In September 2019, the SEBI constituted a working group to hone this further under chairman Ishaat Hussain, Director, SBI Foundation.

This news is indicative of a larger shift towards increased mobilisation of domestic capital for social purposes, and reducing India’s dependence on foreign aid. At Sattva, we studied the concept and implications of the SSE, especially in the context of flow of capital for Social Purpose Organisations (SPOs include for-profit social enterprises and non-profit organisations).

We are sharing our early learnings here as an SSE primer and we will follow up with additional insights as the topic evolves.

Current state of India’s social sector
Although India’s social economy is one of the most active in Asia, Indian SPOs continue to suffer from a low volume of deals and small viable pipelines for social enterprises, as well as consistent, long-term fundraising for non-profits. Indian SPOs face obstacles in raising capital to deliver social solutions due to a variety of factors including monitoring and evaluation challenges, lack of standardised methodologies for evaluating organisations, nascent impact investing environment, restricted / reduced funds for organisational growth and so on.

The SSE could improve this situation for Indian SPOs
Some potential scenarios where such an exchange can be leveraged to benefit SPOs include:

  • – Functioning as a search directory listing credible and vetted Social Purpose Organisations
  • – Enabling equity investments for Social Enterprises (institutional/ retail) across all stages of the capital value chain (SMEs to larger organisations)
  • – Enabling issuance of financial instruments like bonds and notes for SPOs
  • – Potential to create a common language around impact assessment and measurement and popularise this with donor ecosystem – both institutional and retail
  • – Potential to increase unrestricted funds for Indian non-profit organisations.

 

Key considerations for the India SSE model:

As the idea is still nascent, with limited clarity on the overall structure of SSE, it is difficult to understand the impact of such a stock exchange on SPOs at this point. However, an SSE model with clarity in the following areas will greatly benefit the players in the ecosystem:

  • – Clear, consistent definition of the terms ‘social enterprise’ and ‘voluntary organisation’: Given the ambiguity around the terms, a critical task for SSE would be to provide standard definitions to determine whether the model will predominantly provide space for non-profits or for-profit organisations. e.g. The inclusion of Section 8 companies in the SSE’s definition of ‘social enterprise’ could lead to well-funded entities also benefiting from this new initiative.
  • – Measurement models that balance financial and social performance to assess SSE listed members: Ms Sitharaman has reiterated that the new SSE will use a rating mechanism which acknowledges the diversity of players in the social space. The rating tool will need to balance multiple indicators to measure and evaluate the performance of SPOs on this new platform. For instance, the appropriate financial performance measures (revenues for Social Enterprises, Operating budgets for NGOs) in the rating process would need to be balanced with social outcomes attributable to the organisations, to assess them on a level scale.
  • – Clarity on how this initiative will interact with the Companies Act: Among other things, Section 135 of the Indian Companies Act mandates companies with revenue of more than INR 50 million to spend 2% of their profits on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) each year. It will be important to have clear guidelines on how CSR funds can be deployed via SSE.
  • – Incentives for participants to drive engagement: Fostering widespread engagement among investors will be vital if NGOs are to raise adequate capital to fund their projects and expand their operations. Some incentives will be important for both market participants willing to invest and SPOs willing to get listed. For example, Investors may need some risk protection mechanisms (through policy and regulatory reforms)

 

What can SPOs do to prepare for SSE
At this early stage of its evolution, it will be important for SPOs to closely follow the developments related to SSE. Some research and thinking on the following areas would be beneficial:

  • – Understand the global frameworks used to assess the impact of organisations; this may give insight into how SEBI could structure the valuation mechanism for the new platform. It is important to understand the mechanisms used by global SSEs such as the Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS), the Global Impact Investing Rating System (GIIRS) and The B Impact Assessment (BIA).
  • – Explore the feasibility and design of a baseline measurement model to highlight social return on investments, based on a set of quantitative and qualitative indicators. Thinking along these lines for their own organisation’s work, irrespective of the final measurement framework used by the SSE, will be a helpful strategy exercise for SPOs.

 

Next steps
At Sattva, we will be closely following all news related to the SSE, given its enormous potential to impact the Indian social sector. Today, most of the focus in all conversations around SSE and similar exchanges in other countries seem more focussed towards social enterprises. We also see a need to engage with non-profits on this topic to understand their perspective and needs. We hope this article and our other forums of engagement will drive a rich, ongoing dialogue with all ecosystem actors on this critical topic.

Recently, Bangalore Mirror covered SSE in this article, with industry experts weighing in on the topic.

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Arpitha Rao is part of our Transformation Advisory team and is based in our Bangalore office. Her current work focuses on large-scale transformations in public education. Before Sattva, Arpitha has worked with Teach for India, the India Literacy Project, and Greatest Common Factor. She followed up her Engineering degree with a Masters from TISS and an MBA from ISB.

Sattva has been working with various non-profits and social organisations as well as corporate clients to help them define their social impact goals. Our focus is to solve critical problems and find scalable solutions. We assist organisations in formulating their long-term social impact strategy by strategically aligning with business to provide meaningful solutions to social issues.

● We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on this topic. Do write to us: impact@sattva.co.in

EdTech – One Size Does Not Fit All

The Sattva View – One Size Does Not Fit All

In this column, Sulagna Datta lists how ed-tech in under-resourced communities differs from typical market-based products, and argues for thoughtful design and customisation of those products.

5 things to keep in mind while implementing ed-tech projects in the impact sector

Education Technology or Ed-tech is a buzz word in the Indian impact space today. There has been a flux of funding into this sector, with behemoths like Byju’s emerging as unicorns, crossing $1bn in estimated worth. The supply side is inundated with products that can be categorised in a multitude of ways: Subjects, target age group, in school/out of school, etc. As per Tracxn research, which is India’s leading data aggregation and analytics platform – there are ~4574 Ed-tech products in India today, and ~17,000 products globally.

Schools and colleges across the country are using these products for a multitude of reasons ranging from improving scores in specific subjects and preparing for competitive exams to practising for job interviews. However, if you work with implementation of Education technology programmes for the bottom of the pyramid, the question to ask is ‘What are the things that no one told you about Edtech projects for this context?’

1/ The number of Ed-tech products in the market that are actually built keeping the bottom of the pyramid in mind is shockingly low.
From a Sattva research, out of 566 school products catering to Hindi and Mathematics, only 19% had either already partnered with or shown interest in working with government schools. Which means a staggering 81% of products were meant for the private school context.

When products are built keeping private schools in mind, their data and infrastructure requirements are higher, and more often than not, their content is at levels not graspable by students in government schools. Implementation teams have the onerous task of spending time to customise these products for the BoP context.

2/ Even products that are meant for the BoP context cannot be utilised to their full potential Implementers need to be prepared that basic infrastructure varies drastically across government schools even in peri-urban areas in Bangalore and Delhi.
The biggest advantage of education technology over traditional pedagogical methods is the creation of personalised learning paths for students. Students can learn at their own pace with a curriculum adapted to their needs. For this, the ideal device to student ratio is 1:1, and almost all products are built keeping this ratio in mind. However, this fails in an Indian government school set-up. Even in schools that have labs, the device ratio is seldom 1:1, hampering engagement and consequently learning outcomes.

Most products are designed keeping in mind a certain number of modules to be completed at home as practice. However, most children in government schools come from households with an annual income of <1,00,000 Rs. They don’t own devices at home, and hence are not able to complete most of the self-learning that is meant to happen on the product. Additionally, another constraint in the government school context is access to internet. Since the maintenance budget of all government schools in India is ~8,000-10,000 rupees annually [often going into maintenance of buildings, etc.]- covering bills like the internet becomes cumbersome and is ignored. This leads to further interruption of technology-based learning. 3/ From ages 17-23, ~90% of BoP college youth have smart phones. However, they are extremely data conscious and tend to delete any application/product that takes more than 20 MB of space. While choosing products for the vocational context, practitioners have to be very conscious of the product they recommend.
From a pilot to learn English for interviews through applications through 5 top applications in India, 2 applications stood out in performance owing to the following reasons:

i. They functioned fully offline. After the initial download, they didn’t require any data to run
ii. They were between 15-20 MB in size
iii. They were available across all playstores: Android, Jio, etc.
The other three failed on at least one of the above parameters

4/ From qualitative interviews with about ~2000 college students across India, there is a clear set of features that makes an application more successful than another
i. Leaderboards were a clear favourite amongst students. Students were motivated to use applications when they could see their peers use it. They liked to see where they stood in their comparable cohort
ii. Applications that had short modules and progress bars/gamification were favoured. Students used it like a game to finish the stipulated target defined by the product for the day
iii. For a pan India context, the application that was most successful had an 18 language interface. Students preferred to learn in their vernacular language.

5/ The optimum learning time on an edtech product is about 20 minutes a day
A critical element to keep in mind while designing an edtech initiative is to set a target for content consumption a day. Applications that stipulated more than half an hour a day, saw declining engagement and drop-outs. A 15-20 minute engagement/day was seen in about 80% students who completed the entire course.

While private enterprise products are pushed to the BoP context without considering its nuances, the learning experience is less than optimum, and that typically discourages the learner, further jeopardizing the quality of education. It’s important to address this demographic thoughtfully, with an eye on specific needs and access.

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This article was originally published in Impact Magazine.

Sattva has been working with various nonprofits and social organisations as well as corporate clients to help them define their social impact goals. Our focus is to solve critical problems and find scalable solutions. We assist organisations in formulating their long-term social impact strategy by strategically aligning with business to provide meaningful solutions to social issues.

● Talk to us: impact@sattva.co.in

Connecting to the Idea of Impact – a report from the field

Connecting to the Idea of Impact – a report from the field

Hugh Lupson is from London and studies History and Geography at the University of Leeds in the UK. His recent university projects whetted his appetite for the social sector and he spent some time as an intern at Sattva. This was his first time in India.

Akshaya is currently pursuing M.Sc. (Hons) Economics at BITS Pilani. She has actively volunteered in the programmes of ‘Education’ and ‘Rural Women Empowerment’ undertaken by the Nirmaan Organization at BITS. Her inclination for community work led her to intern at Sattva where she hopes to learn more about how organisations specialise in social service and gain insight into social entrepreneurship.

As part of their internship Hugh and Akshaya visited a school for marginalised communities in Bangalore. Read about their experience here:

This Foundation’s vision is simple: to provide the poorest children from local slums with world-class opportunities, the key is education. However, this Foundation differs from other projects in providing what they call a ‘360-degree development model’, a more holistic approach to education. Besides lessons, the ‘360-degree development model’ focuses on healthcare, nutrition, emotional support and community development.

We visited them on 27th September to observe the model in action. We wanted to experience the influence that Sattva’s programmes have on their beneficiaries. The exploration into the lives of beneficiaries would also help us connect to the idea of impact and visualise it first-hand. The insights gained from this visit could even allow us to perceive the ways in which our new product, Shift 2.0 could give an enhanced picture of impact to all programmes undertaken by Sattva. We spent only a couple of hours at the Foundation, a 4-floor building with a multipurpose terrace. So while our analysis may be far from comprehensive, the visit gave us a valuable opportunity for a qualitative appraisal, shining a light in a way that statistics simply cannot and adding a human element to project evaluation.

Education is the primary pillar of the Foundation’s approach. Their school follows the I.C.S.E, an intense yet balanced secondary-schooling curriculum. We observed several lessons including English and Mathematics. In the Mathematics class the children were using blocks representing groups of ten to form number bonds to 100. Their numerical ability was impressive. Adapting to different styles of question, the children showed an understanding of the relationships between different numbers and functions rather than simply rote learning of the bonds. This speaks highly of the teaching style here. Unfortunately – as the school’s principal mentioned – the quality of the teachers here attracts the attention of fee-paying schools, who are able to lure some of them with higher wages each year.

In the English classes the students struggled slightly when not following memorised sentences. Nevertheless, they articulated to us their impressive ambitions and dreams; from becoming doctors and English teachers, to travelling the world. Through ideas like naming classrooms after planets and asteroids, it seemed to us that the Foundation’s ethos was to encourage the children not to put limits on themselves or the ways they think.

Their focus on emotional development was also clear to see. The happiness of the children is perhaps our most lasting impression of the visit. We were met in each classroom by beaming young faces, excited to speak to us and clearly proud of what they were learning. The school has a ‘friendship corner’ for any child who is feeling unhappy. The pupils are encouraged to sit in the ‘friendship corner’ whenever they are feeling unhappy and other pupils will join them to cheer them up. While we didn’t see this initiative in action, it suggests that developing empathy in children was important to the school.

Unfortunately, according to the school’s principal, the children’s happiness doesn’t always follow them home each day. Many children return home to difficult lives and carry a sizable emotional burden due to past or ongoing traumatic experiences. In response to this, the school has an in-house therapist who will see pupils on demand. However, acknowledging that a therapist will not be able to tackle this issue at its root, the school also invests in efforts to make sure children are happier at home. The community development programme aims to forge a stronger community for children through collaboration with other local schools, for example discussing a book the children had recently read via Skype. An initiative for fathers suffering with alcohol problems was also mentioned as well as teaching parents how to make soap using vegetable peel.

The children also face challenges when they graduate from the school. The strong community spirit at the Foundation’s schools contrasts with normal life as a young adult. We heard that not all graduates have been able to make the necessary emotional adjustments. One solution to this issue has been to extend the school’s structured mentoring system to include alumni. Access to this wider network of the Foundation’s alumni serves as a useful tool for pupils striving to achieve their career goals.

Some areas of the 360-degree model were harder to gain an appreciation of during our visit. We narrowly missed the children’s lunch, which they had clearly been eagerly anticipating. Therefore we had little opportunity to observe the school’s nutrition programme. However, the children spoke about their food with enthusiasm, especially the eggs they get twice weekly. At the risk of making an inference, it would be hard to imagine hungry children being as happy and animated as the ones we met.

Healthcare and extra-curricular activities were also difficult to gain an understanding of during our visit. While some older children had an inter school arts competition, there was a noticeable lack of outdoor space for the children to play sports and little mention was made of activities outside of lessons. With regards to healthcare, we were given only a brief look at the infirmary, which two children were using to revise for a test. The teachers didn’t mention the healthcare programme. However, we noticed that the children’s ID cards were lacking basic details such as their blood group. As such, for the next visit: nutrition, extra-curricular activities and healthcare should be prioritised for a deeper understanding of the Foundation and its impact.

In its 16th year, the Foundation and its pupils seem to be thriving. The school has received several awards for innovation from institutions including the British Council and Tata Communications. Going forward, the principal mentioned that a key objective for them will be to secure a more reliable funding system. Currently, with funding only being guaranteed for one year at a time, it is difficult for the school to plan for future growth. Perhaps with a 5-year funding guarantee, the Foundation could scale-up and reach its true potential.
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Sattva has been working with various nonprofits and social organisations as well as corporate clients to help them define their social impact goals. Our focus is to solve critical problems and find scalable solutions. We assist organisations in formulating their long-term social impact strategy by strategically aligning with business to provide meaningful solutions to social issues.

● Talk to us: impact@sattva.co.in

CSR Amendments – a step forward for CSR-Nonprofit relationships

CSR Amendments – A step forward for CSR-Nonprofit relationships

– by Nishkarsh Swarnkar

The Indian parliament recently passed a slew of changes with the Companies (Amendment) Act 2019, including its section 135 which is typically known as the “CSR law”. There has been a lot written about the direct implication of these changes on CSR. For a quick reference, you may want to read my colleague Mohana Rajan’s article. In this piece, we will talk about something that has not been discussed as much – the implications of these changes on nonprofits. And the news is not just good, it’s great! The changes to CSR law bring about a number of unique opportunities for nonprofits that have not been possible earlier.

We see three important trends that CSRs are likely to exhibit post the change:

1. Optimise spends – The law has now made CSR spending mandatory for all qualifying companies. This means not only will there be a greater pool of CSR money flowing into the ecosystem, but also that there will be a greater sense of urgency in utilising the funds. Any funds that remain unspent and are not related to an ongoing CSR programme will essentially be lost from a strategic investment perspective. CSRs, thus, will be looking for full utilisation in avenues that fulfill their key social objectives or align with their broader strategic interests. Nonprofit leaders can capitalise on this in the following ways:

○ Create sound projections and spending schedules, minimising underutilisation
○ Understand and align with core focus areas of the corporate’s social interests and investments
○ Keep alternate spending options ready in case underutilisation of funds becomes a challenge, especially towards the end of the financial year

2. Leverage longer-term partnerships – The typical relationship between a nonprofit and a CSR has often been short-term and transactional. However, with the introduction of the 3-year spending horizon in the law, this is now set to change. The CSR funds can now be used to finance long-term projects that aim to achieve large-scale outcomes. The longer spending horizon allows corporates to formally plan and use provisions for multi-year engagements with nonprofits, thus working towards interventions on engendering systemic change. At their end, nonprofits can take the following measures:

○ Establish shared value proposition with corporates by aligning with their social and environmental sustainability goals
○ Shift perspective from ‘donor management’ to ‘strategic relationship management’, and build a team that is equally adept at discussing financials and social impact
○ Think about flagship programmes aiming for highest impact, and create a multi-year plan and robust M&E
○ Include an ongoing dialogue on impact created on the ground, including walking CSRs through the outcomes of the social change

3. Focus on research and innovation – The government has now broadened the scope of CSR activities to include grants to incubators, thus supporting start-ups and initiatives working towards the SDGs. This is a new opportunity for nonprofits that are looking to conduct scientific research, innovate on solutions or test product prototypes. Nonprofits can now set-up their own R&D labs or product development units under government-sponsored incubators, or tie-up with universities, research institutes and existing start-ups. To the incubatees, the ability of nonprofits to bring their topical knowledge, field experience and on-ground insights to the table can prove a great value-add. This tie-up opportunity across varied actors is in itself a rare phenomenon, and has the potential of bringing a multiplier effect to the outcomes of the ecosystem – proliferating platforms akin to ‘Tech for Impact’ across diverse sectors.

To conclude, the changes to the CSR law open several new opportunities for nonprofits to engage in long-term, strategic partnerships with corporates built on shared value. An increase in the pool of available resources will favour nonprofits who fully utilise their grants and track outcomes. And last but not the least, the grounds are most fertile for nonprofits aiming for large-scale, systemic impact through long-term projects, research and innovation.

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Nishkarsh Swarnkar is part of our Transformation Advisory team and based in our Bangalore office. His current work focuses on large-scale transformations in public education. Before Sattva, Nishkarsh has worked with ZS Associates as a management consultant in the healthcare industry. He is a graduate of National Institute of Technology Karnataka, Surathkal.

Sattva has been working with various nonprofits and social organisations as well as corporate clients to help them define their social impact goals. Our focus is to solve critical problems and find scalable solutions. We assist organisations in formulating their long-term social impact strategy by strategically aligning with business to provide meaningful solutions to social issues.

● Talk to us: impact@sattva.co.in

Scaling Social Impact through Organisational Capacity Building

Scaling Social Impact through Organisational Capacity Building

The discourse around social impact organisations, more often than not, includes the need to achieve scale. One side of the coin is the denominator or the scale at which the social problem exists, and the breadth that needs to be covered to solve the problem. The other side of the coin is the organisation’s capability – both in terms of quality and quantity – to achieve the requisite scale. Simply put, scaling up both programmes as well as organisations to achieve the desired impact in the ecosystem go hand-in-hand.

Non-profit leaders will concur that scale means different things to different organisations. It depends, among other things, on the problem they are trying to solve, the geographies where the problem persists, and the beneficiaries they are focusing on based on their theory of change. Accordingly, the pathways to scale differ as well. There can therefore be no cookie-cutter approach to scaling up for impact.

Sattva’s decade-long experience of engaging with non-profits of different sizes and maturity levels has however, helped us identify a key tenet – organisational capacity building – which when customised, can enable an organisation to become ‘scale up ready’. There are multiple components to this exercise, and our experience says that every non-profit that wishes to scale requires one or more of these.

Sattva_Insights_ScalingSocialImpact

  • Re-alignment of Mission and Vision: Before embarking upon the creation of a scale-up strategy, non-profits caught in the throes of growth need to relocate their North Star. This holds true even for large scale mature non-profits who have been in the ecosystem for ages. For instance, Sattva helped a 40-year old organisation working on child welfare to re-create the mission of the organisation in the context of the larger vision, which then enabled them to focus on depth of impact, instead of spreading themselves too thin to achieve breadth alone.

  • Development of Fundraising Strategy: The ability to create impact is contingent upon the non-profit’s ability to stay in business and scale, which in turn is largely dependent on the availability of funding. A robust fundraising strategy is therefore very important for any non-profit. Sattva has worked with diverse organisations across various sectors, and some as old as 20 years, to develop a deep understanding of what makes fundraising strategies work. It often starts with conducting fundraising diagnostics to understand past performance, which feeds into new fundraising strategies that define target funder segments, key value propositions and critical success factors. This is then further reinforced by building fundraising capacity of the organisation across people, processes, messaging and networks.

  • Restructuring of organisations (Systems, Processes, People) and Change Management: As organisations grow to scale their impact, their people and processes need to accommodate the changes that come with scale. Sattva has encountered examples of large organisations which have scaled to 400+ districts in India while holding on to centralised decision-making structures, resulting in bottlenecks across the organisation. The solutions in such instances have included developing a second line of leadership to decentralise decision-making, organisational restructuring to create new departments and restructure existing ones, developing standard operating procedures for old and new processes, developing capacity building plans for people, and creating change management plans to help these changes percolate across roles and ranks within the organisation.

  • Developing Scale-up Blueprints and Products for Programs of organisations: Growing an organisation and its programmes requires various strategies and levers. Sattva has demonstrated that standardising blueprints for scale and developing innovative products can enable organisations to implement their programmes at scale. Designing programmes and processes, building monitoring and evaluation frameworks for measuring effectiveness and efficiency of programmes, and using technology as an enabler to scale programmes have been some of tried and tested ways in which we have enabled organisations to scale their programmes and impact, the most shining testimony of which has been an education non-profit which grew its programme from 4 to 13 states in the country in 3 years.
  • Since the need of each organisation on its pathway to scale is unique, the solutions have to be customised as well. Programme and organisational diagnostics to understand the gaps that need filling, custom-made strategies to address the specific requirements of an organisation, and implementation support on an organisation’s scale-up journey are, therefore, all integral cogs for enabling an organisation to achieve the scale that is necessary to create the intended impact. While externalities like regulatory environment and availability of funding may limit the growth of organisations at times, organisational capacity building can help overcome some of the challenges associated with becoming ‘scale up ready’.

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    Sattva has been working with various non-profits and organisations to help them define their social impact goals and optimise their capacity building efforts. Our focus is to solve critical problems and find scalable solutions.

    ● To read more about our work, check: https://www.sattva.co.in/our-work/
    ● Talk to us: impact@sattva.co.in

    Vrunda Bansode

    Vrunda Bansode leads Marketing at Sattva. She has co-founded two education sector ventures, which focus on experiential STEM education for children. She has been part of the management team at NSRCEL – the startup incubator at IIM Bangalore, where she was also involved in conceptualising and setting up an incubator for early-stage non-profits in association with MSDF. She continues to actively contribute to entrepreneurship development, early-stage venture incubation eco-system and women entrepreneurship development initiatives through workshops, sessions and writing. She has co-authored a book for children called “Become a Junior Inventor” published by Penguin Random House.

    Her prior work experience includes working with large corporations such as Bosch, Honeywell, Apple and Intuit in different capacities. She holds a Master’s degree from University of Pune and a PGDBM from Indo-German Training Centre, Mumbai.