The official GuideStar India blog

Welcome, NGOs and all those interested in NGOs in India!

If you are running an NGO or working for one, you will find opportunities and resources for your organisation.

If you or your organisation want to direct your time, money, products or services to NGOs that can can make the most effective and efficient use of your donations or grants, you will find this blog and useful to announce your offer to NGOs.

You will also get to read about statistics and issues concerning transparency & accountability of the Indian voluntary sector.

Monday, September 24, 2012

NGOs: Reward your team with an online Mini MBA program during this Joy of Giving Week

Upgrade your team’s skills! Gift them’s FREE Mini MBA (FTGMP) Program during the Joy of Giving Week...

You can enroll any number of participants from your NGO on a first come first served basis. No age limit and no minimum prior qualification.

Several activities in the voluntary sector are getting increasingly complex as organisations try to raise resources from individuals, attempt to use technology to drive performance and stay connected with varied stakeholder groups.  While some NGOs have started hiring MBAs for various functions, most would prefer to train and upgrade skills of existing staff. Isn’t it tough to get funds for training and capacity building? How about a free program?

GuideStar India is delighted to share with you, the gift of an online Mini MBA program from!
The Mini MBA (FTGMP) – Leading to Fast Track General Management Program (FTGMP)

To achieve significant organisational impact, individuals must see beyond their own functional areas and understand how the organisation operates as a whole. This interactive online FTGM program would expose participants to the key management levers that drive the success of an organisation. has offered its premier online Mini MBA Program (FTGMP), entirely FREE of cost to NGOs registered with GuideStar India, to celebrate the Joy of Giving Week.
myBskool, an online management education wing of ThinkBig Edu, has close to 4000 students in the pipeline to be trained on latest management tools, concepts, and techniques. myBskool’s learning content and social learning platform is used by leading management institutes such as IIM-Ranchi, Karnataka State Open University (KSOU), IMT-Ghaziabad, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Smart MBA Online and more.

What is the special offer for NGOs
a.     The advanced Diploma in management is free for NGOs that enroll between September 15 & October 14, 2012.
Otherwise the cost of this programme is Rs 7999 per person.
b.    This is a 180 days (6-months) course to be taken online at your convenience.
c.     There is no age limit. Anyone with a desire and commitment to learn can join.

Only those who complete the Mini MBA Program (FTGMP) will be eligible for a professional Diploma in Management from

Subjects Covered:
Economics for Managers
Principles of Marketing
Statistical Tools for Decision Making
Managing Finance
Fundamentals of Accounting
Business Strategy
Managing Human Resource
Project Management
Who should enroll
The Mini MBA Program (FTGMP) from is designed for people in both large and small organizations who wish to improve their general management skills, gain comprehensive understanding of core management strategies and techniques, enhance leadership skills, and fast-track their career potential.

The programme is perfect for managers and aspiring managers who have only had exposure to one functional area and plan to move into General Management and team/project responsibilities. The programme also represents a low-risk overview for those considering an MBA, but want a “test drive” before making the full cost and time commitment.

The programme is delivered in English. It contains rich video sessions conducted by eminent faculty.  There is no age limit and no minimum prior qualification.

How to enroll for the programme
Each participant needs to fill an online registration form between September 15 and October 14, 2012. The registration is on first come first served basis. Each NGO can nominate as many participants as you like. Every participant has to complete registration before October 14, 2002. 

Only those who complete the Mini MBA program (FTGMP) will be eligible for a professional Diploma in Management from

How will you know the status of your registration for the programme
You will receive an email from confirming your registration for the programme and with your login details. This mail should reach you within 24 hours of your registration.

Feel free to share this message with other NGOs in your network. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Share your joy of getting back to school! Join Surf Excel India's campaign with 160+ NGOs featured on GuideStar India.

Getting ready to send your child back to school? This year, make it special for other children too! Make a gift box with your child's used books, stationery, toys and clothes. Want to give more? Run a collection drive among your child's friends in the neighborhood. Want to give even more? Get your child's school involved and run a drive in the school during the re-opening week.

Join Surf Excel India's Back to School Campaign! More than 160 NGOs from across India have made it easy for you to reach out to needy children who go to their leaning centres and schools. Connect with the NGO closest to your location, call them and check if what you want to give is what they need. Find a good time to visit them, so that you can meet their children and get to know about their work.

The campaign page of Surf Excel India with 600,000 fans, is buzzing with comments from fans and NGOs. Within days of going live, Oxford School, located on the outskirts of Delhi posted on the page, a desire to share their collection of specimen books and clothes with an NGO close to their location. Thanks to our database of 2300 verified NGOs, GuideStar India put the Surf Excel team in touch with  Child Survival India. Within hours the NGO and the school were connected. Very quick to respond, the NGO visited the school, met with the teachers and picked up  4 big cartons of books, notebooks and other reading material for out of school children coming to its learning centres.

Deepa Bajaj, Chief Executive of Child Survival India, wrote this to Surf Excel and GuideStar India, "Congrats to you and your teams  for this excellent effort!! Thanks a lot for putting CSI in touch with the Oxford School at Faridabad. This kind of effort to link up schools with NGOs would be really helpful and a lot can be achieved thru this, not only in terms of collection of material donations for NGOs but also in terms of sensitising our kids right from beginning and inculcating the habit of sharing & caring  amongst them." She also gave suggestions to strengthen the campaign.

"Like" the page, connect with an NGO, take your gift box, and make a real difference! Share your joy of getting back to school!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Book review: The Art of Effective Giving, R. M. Lala, HarperCollins India

The book brings to life, international  philanthropic celebrities like Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet, the Tatas, Azim Premji, etc. and makes you realise your power to do good.

This book is close to my heart for a number of reasons - the biggest of them being Mr Lala. I happened to be seated across Mr Lala at a philanthropy conference. He asked me to see him to get to know about new tools and platforms for giving. I could not imagine that the expert, who was Director of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust for 18 years and Co-founder & Chairman of the Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy for 15 years, was keen to know more about giving! It was overwhelming and humbling to meet him and I am excited to receive and read an autographed copy of his most recent book, “The Art of Effective Giving”. I found our brief interaction covered in pages 110-112 of the book.

When I called Mr Lala to thank him and mentioned about this book review my colleague, Nitya Kamat, had done for our blog, Mr Lala invited me to meet him again to discuss about using online media!
 – Pushpa Aman Singh, CEO, GuideStar India
“The Art of Effective Giving” by R.M.Lala, brings to life, international  philanthropic celebrities like Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet, the Tatas, Azim Premji, etc. Facts interwoven with personal conversations between the author and the philanthropist celebrities, bring the latter down from the pedestal of perfect-lives to quotidian dilemmas, “What should I do with my money?” and how their decisions’ generational impacts often outlive the philanthropists.

For instance, it is to Sir Dorab Tata’s philanthropy that India owes her participation in the Olympic Games and Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy Hospital continues to save lives, 150 years after inception.

Aimed at a layperson audience, the book is divided into two main sections. The first section navigates through the turning points in the lives of philanthropists, giving the reader a ring-side view of their journeys from capitalism to “philanthrocapitalism”. The variety of the journeys is striking:  While Bill Gates describes it as “a grand new adventure”, he also “weeps at the story and the suffering of other people”. Warren Buffet, having given away 99 per cent of his wealth, regards philanthropy “a lot harder and riskier than business” while Thomas Boone Pickens, while pledging 1 billion USD to the United Nations, confesses “My hands shook as I signed it away”. Carnegie regards all surplus revenues as “Trust funds” which he is “called to administer…for his poorer brethren”. The author demystifies and simplifies philanthropy, addresses the head-versus-heart dilemmas faced by the philanthropist giants in a chapter-wise, easy-to-read fashion. The first section, in effect, leaves the reader with a healthy feeling of smallness, perhaps wondering “If the giants did it, what’s stopping me?”.

Having sufficiently touched the heart of the reader, the author, in the second section, proceeds to ask the reader to now lend a hand, so to speak, or rather partake in the pleasures of becoming a giver, even if, at a small  level. The second section, though far briefer, is power-packed with stories of impacts of individual giving, and is the actual bungee jump (after the mental preparation in the first section!), plunging the reader into an action-mode, and after having satisfied the adrenalin rush of giving once, to give again.

Broadly, the author, owing to his personal involvement in the sector perhaps, does not dwell on measurable impacts achieved by the philanthropists per se, but, the heart-cry of the book is different: it is “to encourage people to enjoy the joy of giving”.
To this end, the author states excerpts from an interview with Pushpa Aman  Singh, CEO, GuideStar India, where she  shares her motivation to quit the corporate sector and  join the voluntary sector and she motivates people to step out, take a chance and change a life and enjoy  the  journey!

In closing, it is not just another un-put-down-able book, for, at the end of it, I am persuaded to utilize “my power to do good” and loosen my purse-strings for the benefit of a ‘stranger’ street child at a railway station near home… therefore, “The Art of Effective Giving” has certainly hit home.

Get the book online at 40% discount at India Plaza.
Please note that the actual cover of the book and the title is slightly different from the one seen on the website -“Widening the circle:  The Art of Effective Giving”. Don’t let this distract you from the treasures inside the book!

Click here to read more about the author. 

Book reviewed by Nitya Kamat, GuideStar India

Monday, February 27, 2012

How Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) can engage NGOs for CSR: A presentation on the larger and more challenging roles that can be taken by PSEs in NGO partnership

I was impressed that 64 participants from 22 PSEs turned up for a well-executed workshop on CSR for PSEs organised by Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) on Feb 16, 2012. I was even more impressed that it was not a business-as-usual day for the participants, far from it. There was serious and furious note-taking, coupled with eager questions, and as we took a break for lunch, that did not seem to affect the momentum of their enthusiasm – the questions and the knowledge-seeking just continued, unabated.

To witness PSEs, the hard-core, multi-crore giants who set up public infrastructure facilities, move from being compliance-oriented to being triple bottom-line-oriented in spirit was inspiring! As the GuideStar India session on “Essential Elements of Partner NGO Selection and Measuring the Effectiveness” progressed, there were “Aha!” moments and there were takeaways. In the first segment we talked about why PSEs need to decide their specifications and criteria for selection before calling for applications - a one-size-fits-all approach, inviting applications from one and all, would backfire on the PSEs being overwhelmed with applications. It would also waste the time of NGOs that do not meet basic specs (cause/ location) in creating proposals. Also, PSEs need to explore the NGO data available on platforms (,,, ask around, check with other PSEs, local corporate & Government institutions/other donors for references, etc.

The soul of the presentation was to motivate PSEs to move from check-signing philanthropy to get-your-feet-dirty philanthropy. Equipped with local knowledge (social, cultural and geographical), resources, and hard-to-come-by project management skills, PSEs, by choice, can leverage that advantage to exert a lasting, deep, huge and path-breaking impact on local communities. They can choose to be fantastic enablers of community-owned projects by becoming supportive (as well as result-oriented), strategic and systematic in their engagement with NGOs.

Additionally, one of the untapped dimensions in Donor-NGO partnerships is the financial and other benefits of co-funding with other foundations, grant makers and corporate entities:  Co-funding opens up the project to efficient interdisciplinary knowledge transfer, leverages the strengths of existing robust partnerships, increases the depth and the breadth of interventions in a community, and leads to a more holistic, sustainable and high-quality intervention- in the truest sense, multiple donors come together, collaborate and complete each other, rather than compete against each other.

For instance, in a post-disaster scenario, if one donor, limited by funding criteria could only construct houses, s/he could collaborate with another donor who could fund sanitation, and another for kitchen gardens etc. to result in a well-rounded intervention for the beneficiaries, because, an incomplete remedy - house construction without sanitation - can run the risk of spawning more diseases i.e. houses turning into slums due to improper waste management. 

Given the multi crore (1 crore = 10 million) annual budgets that PSEs are mandatorily required to spend on CSR, the key concern is of finding NGOs that can effectively implement programmes of scale. I impressed upon the PSE participants to also invest in NGO capacity building programmes and to fund the creation of infrastructure in the voluntary sector to enable effective CSR. This would mean supporting aggregators that address areas such as: mapping the sector, doing accreditations, building NGO capacities in strategy, governance, financial management and programme management.

During the session, we also discussed about PSEs sharing their skills in procurement and project management to co create and co implement projects with NGOs by weaving in employee volunteering opportunities into projects. PSEs can also play a critical role in disaster preparedness and disaster response given the strength of their infrastructure, logistics and reach.

The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), which hosts the National CSR Hub, is the focal point for facilitating NGO Partner Selection and it is creating a pool of Empanelled NGOs. I urge TISS to build on existing data available with various aggregators and intermediaries such as GuideStar India, GiveIndia, Credibility Alliance, Propoor & Karmayog so that they can create a pool of NGOs quickly and it would save NGOs the trouble of resubmitting information that is already available and vetted by other organisations.

In closing, it was a motivating endeavour by the BCCI and the palpable enthusiasm of the PSEs suggest strongly that they are listening and gearing up for NGO partnerships, but the question is, “How many NGOs are ready to take on the road-builders to be partners in building lives?”

Pushpa Aman Singh, CEO GuideStar India was invited by the Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry to do a session for CSR managers of Public Sector Enterprises on Feb 16, 2012 in Mumbai.