Posted by: greatfoundation | December 30, 2009

Are all NGOs a sham? I guess: no!

Usually people associate NGOs with Ministers and the corrupt means to hide their black money. Thus a lot of people believe that NGOs are a sham and one should not bother about them…I on the contrary believe, that there are always a few bad fish in the pond but that does not make the entire pond dirty.

One should be able to identify which NGOs are working for the benefit of the society unlike a few who are just in the process of converting their black money into white (money laundering). Since I work with an NGO, this is the first question that people pose to me. And my reply is: Satyam was one Indian MNC that was involved in a big scam. But was the Indian IT industry termed “Bad”. No it wasn’t. There were initial doubts and concerns but sustained client trust and business still proved that the Indian IT industry had mettle and the guys who were responsible for the scam were taken to task.

Similarly, just because a few NGOs are “Badnaam/ have a Bad name” one can’t categorise all NGOs as “Bad/A Sham”. I know that everyone has their concerns in the role of  a

Volunteer- Hope my efforts are helping the needy

Donor- Is my money going in the right hands?

This is obvious and it is certainly important to do a reference check of an NGO and look at the people who are involved with it. A few basic things that I keep as a checklist is:

  1. How have they created social change?
  2. What areas do they focus on?
  3. How do they create value for the society
  4. How do you as a (donor, volunteer, etc) fit into the picture of the social change
  5. Speak to a few volunteers who are continuously working with the NGO
  6. Is the NGO accountable to the donors?
  7. Do the donors know where their money is going?
  8. Do they inform volunteers & donors about the NGO developments?
  9. Use the RTI Act as a tool to obtain the relevant information, etc.

Through these initiatives and steps one can identify the right NGOs and help them with the good work they do…unlike a few which are purely into money laundering and other kind of illegal activities. So people Lets not call all NGOs  who work towards social causes “A Sham”.

However, lets join hands and identify NGOs which actually bring social change and create value for the society. So lets not stand in a corner and make a judgement that All NGOs are “A Sham” but become more proactive beings.



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jaslene Bawa, GreatFoundation. GreatFoundation said: Are all NGOs a sham? I guess: no! […]

  2. Great checklist Jaslene…! Please keep sharing your thoughts 🙂

    • Thanks, Akshay. Yes I came up with the list when interacting with lots of volunteers and donors.Hope to refine it further with time…

  3. That is actually a very nice checklist. 🙂 And people should make more use of RTI to know which ones are valid before pooh poohing to help.

    • Yes absolutely right Poonam, People usually don’t gain information about the organisation thus keeping their misconceptions intact. This checklist (is one of the measures) that helps one to know if your are actually contributing towards the society and are you making a difference….Rather than Pooh Poohing to help….

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