Outsourcing for NGOs

A non-governmental organisation (NGO) is an autonomous citizen-based non-profit and non-politically linked organisation who works towards attaining the objectives for which they receive funds. Funding could come from governments, the UN, private trusts and philanthropies, individual donations, religious institutions and most of the time from other NGOs. An NGO is thus accountable to its particular funding organisations and members. Large NGOs for example have millions as budget. Raising such budget requires significant fundraising efforts on the part of most NGOs.

NGOs exist for a variety of reasons, usually to further the social or political interests of their members such as improving the state of the natural environment, encouraging the observance of human rights, or improving the welfare of the disadvantaged. They operate in developing countries in Africa and Asia and Haiti.

Not all those working for NGOs are volunteers. The expertise these employees or volunteers may have can be counterbalanced by a number of factors. For example, the cost of foreigners

is higher, they have no grassroot connections in the country they are sent to and local expertise is often undervalued. NGOs working in Africa hire foreigners for jobs which could be properly handled by Africans. I believe that by so doing, they will be contributing in the creation of jobs and moreover, the cost of labour here is lower thereby saving money which could be used for other important purposes.

Outsourcing to specialist provider located in the areas where an NGO is operating can be a means of contributing to development and this is a solution often used by small NGOs who pay a fixed amount per month. A country like Cameroon has numerous international NGOs, bilaterals and multinationals operating in the country. Its rich biodiversity attracts many internationally funded environmental NGOs. Outsourcing some tasks carried out by these NGOs can be of great benefits to them. According to the William Brindley (CEO NetHope), Nairobi for example is well positioned to take off as a major outsourcing destination for East Africa. This is not only because of the fibre optic cables which brought underlying technology infrastructure to new heights, but also because of the highly educated, largely English speaking workforce.

Services which can be outsourced by an NGO include:

  • The financial management

  • Human resources (HR)

  • Information technology; this will help improve the information and the resource implementation process

  • Consultancy services

  • Content and communication; NGOs are generally faced with the biggest challenges associated with diverting content. Too many NGOs are not aware of the potential benefits of making use of the internet thus reducing the chances of greater success in their identified mission. This involves handling social media, your website and all that involves the internet.

The main reason why non-profit organisations outsource is to increase efficiency. Nevertheless, the benefits of outsourcing some services by NGOs are many:

  • Outsourcing provides NGOS with access to a wide variety of expert specialized service providers

  • An outsource firm provides the seasoned support staff to work with you when there is a ready task to be accomplished thus reduces the need for a permanent staff

  • You have time to focus on achieving your core mission

  • Allows NGOs expand or shrink at their will

  • It helps NGOs achieve their goals while giving the developing partner the level of financial accountability and transparency necessary to provide funding

  • It relieves your staff from duties not part of core mandate

  • It provides jobs for the indigenes thus contributing directly in the development of the area

The use of new technologies to help attain objectives set by NGOs carries nothing short of advantages. Outsourcing for NGOs is the solution to a whole bulk of wrong data which might be published by the NGO because the job is done by professionals who have a better idea about the area. Outsourcing could help to stimulate local economic development and create jobs.

 

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