Seeking to lay the foundation of this platform, Deutsche Bank India hosted its inaugural Day for NGOs, Lakshya 2012, on 31 August in Mumbai.
Lakshya, which means ‘target’ or ‘goal’ in Hindi, will focus on providing key actionable inputs to growth-stage NGOs that will help deliver their long term goals. At the day-long interactive workshop, the Lakshya programme brought together a full house of over 150 delegates representing 80 NGOs from across the country, sector experts, network partners along with donor agencies and foundations. The inaugural event focused on three critical aspects: a) Fundraising b) Accounting; and c) Showcasing impact/success to potential donors.
Welcoming the delegates, Gunit Chadha, Co-CEO Asia-Pacific and Member of the Group Executive Committee, Deutsche Bank, summarised the reasons behind the Lakshya initiative. He said that the widely-spread NGO sector, while actively engaged in improving the lives of millions of Indians, faced the challenge of being largely invisible, and thus needed to create a distinct identity.
Speaking of the business community’s need to “renew its contract with society”, Chadha said: “Community structures are centred on three key pillars: government, business and the non-profit sector. These three sectors must work together to achieve balance and stability in civic society. Deutsche Bank takes upon itself the task of adding to the capabilities of the NGO sector – not only through grants, but by capacity-building and boosting technical expertise. We are keen to see ‘Lakshya’ evolve into a meaningful resource centre for growth stage NGOs,” he added.
The first session of Lakshya began with a case study and discussion on ‘Impact assessment’. Impact assessment is beneficial from two perspectives: to measure the success of the NGO’s intervention on the field, and to help showcase to prospective Donors the impact of NGO on its beneficiaries. Dr. B. Venkatesh Kumar, Director NCSR Hub, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, explained the nuances of this key tool and the imperatives of conducting a periodic impact assessment. In a highly interactive session, Kumar discussed a case study conducted (for Lakshya 2012) on Fame India, a Bangalore-based NGO supported by Deutsche.
Janaki Vishwanath of Fame India graciously acknowledged that she had gained a lot from the experience. “Funding or writing a cheque is one thing, but the involvement and commitment of Deutsche Bank really touches our heart. I am looking forward to more things spinning out of today's program,” she said.
A panel of Resource Partners, including Give India, CSO Partners (ngomarketplace.com), Guidestar, Edel Give Foundation, Financial Management Service Foundation and Grameen Foundation, then assembled on stage to talk about their services tailored for the NGO community and the many resources available for the non-profit sector. Nitin Oryan, founder of NGO Learning Space, was among the many delegates delighted to learn about the open-source tools at hand and eager to know more at one-on-one discussions with the Resource Partners.
After a networking lunch hour, during which many speakers were cornered with questions and clarifications, the delegates reconvened for the session on ‘Financial management and accounting’. This session generated a lot of interest as NGO Financial accounting is a specialised accounting field. Finance experts Sanjay Patra, Executive Director, Financial Management Service Foundation, and Sanjay Khemani, Partner, MM Nissim & Co, outlined best practices for the non-profit sector. Using a case study developed (for Lakshya 2012) with the help of two Deutsche-supported NGOs, SUPPORT and Learning Space, Khemani made a case for NGOs to adopt stringent accounting practices in order to build credibility with donors and funding agencies. Patra proved to be one of the most popular speakers, explaining in very lucid terms the principles of financial management and project-based accounting.
In the concluding session, Lisa Heydlauff, CEO, Going to School, spoke about the art of storytelling for ‘Showcasing impact’. Her session focussed on engaging potential donors with photo-stories from the field, as it is often not possible for donors to understand the context of the NGO and grasp the magnitude of the impact their intervention is creating. Heydlauff shared a simple format used by Be!Fund for building the narrative and showed delegates how to sketch out an effective story line by making them interview each other posing as beneficiaries; altogether causing a cheerful ‘creative disruption’.
Suparna Mody, Director Fund Raising, Akanksha Foundation, then explained concepts of ‘Fundraising and donor management’. She stressed on the importance of building a connection with the donor community and echoed Heydlauff’s theme of engagement with potential donors. Mody invited volunteers from the audience to participate in role playing and pointed out common mistakes when making a funding pitch.
Lakshya 2012 concluded very successfully with Shrinath Bolloju, Group COO India, giving the vote of thanks. Many delegates lingered to thank the organising team for a day well spent. A number of the NGOs requested smaller workshops to deep-dive on some of the topics and several later wrote in via email asking for more such useful sessions or just to convey their thanks. One such email came from Olivia D'Souza of Snehalaya, and simply said, “Your workshop was very good, and has enlightened us.”
Lakshya 2012 was organised and managed by the India CSR department and a team of dedicated volunteers from across the Group.