What does it take to run a non-profit organisation ?

Being a part of a non-profit organisation can feel very rewarding, but running a non-profit organisation is a whole different ball game. As the name suggests, a non-profit organisation does not make money for personal gain. In fact, there is no money-making involved. All monetary transactions undertaken by the organisation (including fundraising)are solely performed for mainly three reasons:

  1. To build the organisation from the ground up.
  2. To ensure consistent growth, and to nurture the community which is associated with the organisation.
  3. To provide access to resources in order to accomplish the goals the organisation is striving towards.

So, it is safe to assume that when one decides to run a non-profit organisation, money is the last thing on their mind. This desire to run a non-profit organisation stems from a deep sense of altruism, and the realisation that this venture you plan to work for, is bigger than yourself; and thatit serves a greater purpose.

Now, one of the most important things required to run a non-profit organisation, apart from the license, of course, is the zest to make a difference. Since you aren’t going to be earning any money out of this venture, you need a good enough reason to keep moving forward toward your goal because let’s be honest, money is, in most cases if not all, the biggest source of motivation to keep working. And when you remove that source of motivation from the equation, you need a cause bigger than yourself; which will make you want to put in all your efforts without expecting anything in return. A true act of selflessness. And when you do find a cause that is so close to your heart that makes you want to give up on all your materialistic desires, you feel empowered in a way that not many people can think is imaginable, let alone possible.

Upon joining Uttejana foundation, I realised just how difficult- and commendable, it is to be able to runan organisation. Mr. Anurag Sehgal, the Founder-President of Uttejana foundation, is a visionary in his own right. A small example of that is hidden in the name of the organisation itself. The word “Uttejana” means excitement, which is a testament to Mr. Sehgal’s own enthusiasm and vision for the organisation. He believes that any work done with enthusiasm or excitement always yields the best results one has ever seen. Keeping this idea in mind, he has always worked for the betterment of society with a great deal of zeal and determination.

Admittedly, while sometimes it can be hard to find the enthusiasm to work when you are already preoccupied with other responsibilities, Mr. Sehgal has never failed to inspire us and ignite the spark to go above and beyond in the pursuit of bringing about a positive change, and he has done so by setting an example himself. A chartered accountant by profession, but a pioneer of change at heart, he always makes time to give back to the community and help it reach new heights daily. This has been possible owing to his great leadership skills. Not only does he work for the betterment of society, but he also inspires us to become great leaders ourselves. He sets us up for new challenges and helps us realise our potential. He believes that if our actions can inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, we are already successful leaders. Here is what I have learned from him, that in my opinion, takes to become a good leader and a driving force to bring about a positive change:

  1. Effective Communicators: Effective leaders always have strong communication skills, and this is also true of NGO leaders. They are able to alter their communication strategies depending on the audience since they are aware that they must deal with opposing ends, such as recipients, donors, agencies, etc. They become more social, interact with many different stakeholders, form networks, and recruit individuals to help the organization’s mission.
  2. They have their eyes on the goal: They have the temerity to enquire frequently about their employees, donors, and other stakeholders. They have the guts to prioritise and consistently work for the organization’s ultimate goal. Despite knowing that social change and growth do not happen overnight, they map out a plan and work tirelessly to achieve their objectives. Are we there yet? is a thought that constantly crosses their minds.
  3. Inspire and empower: Effective NGO leaders never stop motivating others with their ideals, enthusiasm, compassion, and working methods. People look up to them as a source of inspiration and motivation, whether it be their own team members, donors, or stakeholders. They are meticulous experts who also have empathy for others. They embrace and value diversity, both within and outside of the organisation. They are aware of their ethical obligations to their teams, as well as to the recipients. They inspire people to understand ethics and act ethically, which impacts organisational policies, procedures, and even day-to-day operations.
  4. Take initiative: Leaders are confident and proactive, and they take initiative in their field of work. At both organisational and field level; they anticipate problems and act in time to correct the situation. This also applies to self-improvement they actively seek. They are always looking for opportunities for the betterment of themselves and their teams. This makes them great team workers, and they can do it because they are focused on the larger goal. Their proactive instinct also makes them identify opportunities and ways to make the best use of them. Such people can truly be assets to the organization.
  5. Believe in transformation: Their strongest trait is, by far, a profound belief in transformation. They have complete faith in their own efforts, the aims and objectives of the organisation, and the steps they take to accomplish those aims. They care deeply about the community, are kind and strong people, and are dedicated to the cause.

I believe these are a few traits that set the leaders of non-profit organisations apart and make them a cut above the rest.

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