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  Friday, 15 May, 2020
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Quote of the week

"ICT has been critical to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and transforming society over the long term. But the key to progress is laying the foundation for constant evolution. "
- Chen Lei, President of Huawei Southern Africa Region

Comment of the week

"At Huawei, we are aware of the massive effect of the pandemic, as well as how seriously communities would be affected. However, we are also conscious that as well as protecting lives, we need to help lay the foundation for the next stage of society’s technological advancement – the Fourth Industrial Revolution. "
- Huawei

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In this age of technology advancement and scarcity of resources, leaders in non-profit organizations are bound to operate like business people. To grow and sustain NGOs, we need to develop strategies such as Target-setting; Financial modelling; Program Measurement; and Organizational Culture.
It is true that many community-based organizations do outstanding work at a local level, where scale is more appropriately defined as reaching a high proportion of people in a tight geographic area. But for organizations that pursue scale through replication across communities, reaching an ever-larger number of clients is often necessary to influence underlying systems, policies, and fields for truly large-scale change. Recent studies have found that scaling direct service is important to building the credibility, relationships, and client base that make non-profits more attractive as partners to government and the private sector.
Let us, therefore, reflect on four mindsets used by successful organizations to set targetsdevelop financial modelsmeasure impact, and build an organizational culture that helped these organizations to achieve exponential growth.
1. Adopting the Numerator and Denominator Mindset
NGOs who are considering how to set targets for scaling should not only set a memorable stretch goal (the “numerator” in a market-share calculation), but also think about the total size of the problem they aspire to solve (the “denominator” in a market-share calculation). By keeping both metrics in mind, NGOs can inspire their teams to scale direct service and lay the groundwork for systems change.
In case an organization sets a target of beneficiaries/clients it aims to serve, to make it tangible, the following it needs to reverse-engineer the goal into drivers by clarifying;

  • the number of new areas or beneficiaries it need to reach;
  • the proportion of each area or set of beneficiaries it need to serve; and
  • the amount of market penetration the organization need to achieve in those territories.

Such drivers serve as a rallying cry for the organization, forcing it to think beyond the incremental progress that comes with traditional annual planning. The laser-like focus on this goal also cause the organization pressure-test every aspect of its model for scalability, which lead to things like codifying standard operating procedures and modeling the criteria that predict success in new territory launches.

Click here for the full article.

In using sociologist and political scientist Alexis de Tocqueville as a touchstone for this essay series on American civil society, it is tempting to emphasize the affirmations and gloss over the challenges he presents to us. But we need to reckon with the full sweep of his thinking about civil society, especially with what he saw as its essential, albeit indirect, role in fostering democratic citizenship.
Most of us will recall how Americans’ unique aptitude for forming what Tocqueville termed public or civil associations the precursors of today’s nonprofit and voluntary organizations left a deep impression on the Frenchman when he visited the United States in the 1830s. As he noted in Democracy in America.
Americans of all ages, conditions and all dispositions constantly unite together. To hold fetes, found seminaries, build inns, construct churches, distribute books, dispatch missionaries to the antipodes. They establish hospitals, prisons, schools by the same method. Finally, if they wish to highlight a truth or develop an opinion by the encouragement of a great example, they form an association.
This well-known observation, however, is just the starting point for Tocqueville’s assessment. Tocqueville went on to describe two roles he saw associations playing in the United States.
Click here for the full article.

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