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A probe into how NGOs can fulfill people's unmet needs, constantly improve capacities


By Our Representative 
A new book “Managing A Million Missions” co-authored by Prof Muthusami Kumaran and Mathew Cherian, released at a function held at India International Centre in New Delhi claims to provide key insights on building strategic capacity for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to promote universal strategic management to facilitate their current operations and support future growth.
Released by the Business and Community Foundation, the book has been "distilled from the knowledge and good practices of leading NGOs, worked for several decades with NGOs, and know the pulse of their nonprofit/NGO sectors very well. These interviews with NGO leaders in Belize, India, Nepal, South Korea, and the USA, from across three continents formed the baseline for this book project", says a media communique issued by the Foundation.
The book focuses on why NGOs, as the vanguards of the civil society space across the globe, address a wide array of social, environmental and other issues. Natural disasters and man-made calamities such as the climate change and the recent Covid-19 pandemic have further accelerated a variety of issues faced by humanity and necessitated the response from the NGO sector. NGOs address long-standing issues, new issues as they emerge, and fulfil unmet needs of populations in both the developed and developing nations. By their very nature NGOs build the capacities of people they serve and improve their standards of living. 
So, according to the authors of the book, it is vital that NGOs need to constantly improve their own capacities in order to stay true to their missions, achieve organizational effectiveness, operational efficiency, and be relevant to the civil society at large. They describe key areas of strategic management after interviewing 25 exemplary NGO leaders in five countries, many of whom had been founders of organisations and leading NGOs.
Many NGO leaders interviewed expressed their views candidly on a variety of management subjects from vision and mission to strategic planning and networking. One common theme for success that emerged in all the interviews was “stick to your core mission and do not allow mission creep.” Another approach all these NGO leaders champion is to infuse strategic planning and implementation to all elements of managing organizations.
India (with an estimated three million NGOs) and the US (with more than 1.5 million registered nonprofits), contends the book, has the largest NGOs/ nonprofit sectors in terms of size and scope, some of whom can offer examples of best and promising management practices.
Management challenges currently and during the post-pandemic era require high levels of analysis, skills, and focus on growth like never before
Another approach all these NGO leaders champion is to infuse strategic planning and implementation to all elements of managing organizations. Speaking on the occasion Mathew Cherian said, “One common theme for success that emerged was, stick to your core mission Effective leadership, proper management, transparency and accountability are key facets of capacity building." 
He added, "We are sure that NGO sectors in various countries have such best and promising practices that all NGOs can emulate and adopt for achieving management excellent. Management challenges faced by the sector currently and during the post-pandemic era require high levels of analysis, skills, and focus on growth like never before. This book, we hope, will make substantial contribution in building the management capacities of NGOs.”
Prof Muthusami Kumaran asserted, “We began conceptualizing the book during the pandemic highlighting best managing practices. The interview with the NGO leaders gave the idea of the book. It gives a new twist to the management practices of NGOs. World over NGOs are omnipresent and without them the world would be much darker space."  
"They must master the art of planning. The mission statement is centric to the programmes which must be client centric. NGOs have to think strategically to build capacity themselves. Each chapter of our book focused on promoting strategies as it is key to the functioning of any NGOs”, he added.
The book release was followed by a panel discussion chaired by Ms Ravneet Pawha. The speakers include Dr Ashok Khosla, Prof Archna Kumar, Prof Muthusami Kumaran and Mathew Cherian.

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