Five Tools for Sustainability
It is interesting that funding seems to be a rather immediate concern when discussing sustainability of NGOs, be they local, national, or international. Funding is integral as it permits for the existence of NGOs as well as sustains their operations. All things considered, it is an important aspect as without adequate funding NGOs would be unable to meet their objectives and realize their vision. However, it can also become a purpose in itself as securing funding to sustain an NGO can subvert initial intentions; even lead NGOs astray from pursuing their missions.
Besides the obvious need for funding, an integral aspect to NGO sustainability relates to the relationships formed, nurtured, and perpetuated. After all, NGOs are nothing without their members and the communities they serve; they depend on volunteers and partners to realize and implement programs; and they need private, public, and individual contributions to sustain their operations. Building successful relationships, partnerships, and other cooperative arrangements not only contributes to achieving organizational goals, but also links NGOs to their constituents, their unmet needs and concerns. Therefore, one tool for NGO sustainability relates to the ability to establish relationships and partnerships with others. Turning the point around, independence and insulation may limit NGOs influence, its ability to advocate policy and reach its target population.
According to the UNDP (2014), “The quality of management of a nation’s economic, social, and political affairs, or governance, is the single most important influence on the extent to which its human and natural resources are used for the benefit of all, now and in the future.” The statement also applies to NGO as they represent citizen empowerment and a venue for holding accountable those who govern. In addition, NGO sustainability is linked to integrity, transparency, and governance within the organization itself. Even though these are three separate components, they are interrelated and linked: good governance is the result of transparency; integrity (or perceptions thereof) is based on elements of governance and transparency. Should an NGO fail to be transparent or display...