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, June 9, 2014

CSR in India: from backroom to boardroom, our article reproduced from the Alliance magazine

The Companies Act 2013, which took effect from April this year, requires large and profitable companies[1] to spend 2 per cent of average net profits during the three immediately preceding financial years in pursuit of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy. While the act does not make spending of the 2 per cent mandatory, it does require companies either to report spending or to explain their failure to spend. How are companies and NGOs responding?

The act makes company boards responsible for compliance, taking CSR discussions right into the boardroom. The CSR committee (comprising board members) must recommend a CSR policy, indicating activities to be undertaken and expenditure to be incurred, and monitor the policy. Having approved the CSR policy, the board must ensure it is made public; that agreed activities[2] are undertaken; and that spending is reported or failure to spend explained – an expend or explain approach.
The act encourages companies to work with lean CSR teams and maximize funds spent on projects by allowing them to collaborate among themselves (provided they can separately track and report company spending). CSR spending must be for poor and disadvantaged communities, not only for the benefit of employees and their families. It must be measurable in rupees. Advocacy and human rights spending is not included – these are causes that businesses generally do not support.
How are companies responding?
Based on financial information for the past three years, 16,358 companies would be required to spend US $2.5 billion to $3 billion in the current financial year, while a 2008 study of 1,000 of the largest Indian companies by found that 49 per cent did no CSR. It therefore seems that for nearly 40-50 per cent of the companies, the next couple of years will involve learning CSR from scratch. Some are likely to make a donation to the Prime Minister’s Fund or other central government funds or contribute to well-known NGOs.
But a couple of hundred companies that are already doing CSR are working on aligning their current programmes with the requirements of the act. Multinational corporations that have been implementing CSR under global initiatives are engaging leading law firms to help them understand the implications. The remaining midsize to large companies will be much sought after by individual consultants and firms seeking to advise them.
Leading industry associations such as the Confederation of Indian Industry and FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) have been organizing seminars and workshops, while the Department of Public Enterprises has been running workshops for CSR managers. Several task forces have been set up by industry bodies for creating matchmaking portals, documenting case studies and organizing events to bring NGOs and corporate CSR face to face. The Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs has been organizing outreach programmes for companies and NGOs, and has launched a CSR certification course.
How are NGOs responding?
Out of about 2 million NGOs in India, fewer than 5,000 have been attending workshops and conferences, responding to forms and surveys, etc. Of these, about 3,000 have been seriously engaging foundations, companies, high net worth individuals and India’s decade-old online philanthropy marketplaces. These NGOs are taking concrete steps to engage companies: understanding requirements of the new act, getting validated by organizations such as the Credibility Alliance and GuideStar India; participating in CSR events; strengthening their fundraising team, and so on. There is some nervousness about how to access CSR funds. While the CSR kitty is not trivial, it is likely that the incremental flow will be only about US $1.5 billion to $2 billion, almost the same as the US $1.9 billion received as foreign contributions by 13,193 NGOs during the year ended March 2012. Many government programmes implemented through NGOs have bigger budgets.
Challenges and opportunities
It would be a pity if companies overlooked the existing knowledge and infrastructure created by foundations and philanthropic intermediaries and started reinventing the wheel. Companies and NGOs need to learn about one another and build trust.
The act will bring greater transparency in corporate giving. By 2020, CSR is likely to be more evolved and generate more information to inform giving. The work of NGOs will gain more visibility and market forces will drive greater efficiency and effectiveness. In a few years, CSR rules could move towards giving greater flexibility and shift the accent on reporting from ‘spending’ to impact and outcomes.
Companies having a net worth of Rs 5 billion or more or a turnover of Rs 10 billion or more or a net profit of Rs 50 million or more. (Rs 60 = approx US $1.)
2 As per Schedule VII of the Companies Act 2013.
This article by Pushpa Aman Singh appeared in the Alliance magazine, 2 June 2014. The article is reproduced here with permission from the Alliance magazine. The full article is available only to subscribers of the Alliance magazine. 
If you are based in a low or medium income country, you can sign up for a free electronic subscription to Alliance. Click here to find out more:

Pushpa Aman Singh is CEO of GuideStar India. Email

Join our workshop- How to communicate effectively through your Annual Report, June 12, Mumbai

Your annual report is a powerful tool to communicate, in your voice, the story of your non-profit organization's activities and accomplishments during the past year. An insightful annual report would help the reader understand the challenges faced by your organisation, your plans to accomplish your mission, and the support you require. A report on activities with summarised financial information and disclosures on compliances enhances your credibility and inspires confidence. Pushpa Aman Singh – Founder & CEO, Guidestar India will conduct a highly interactive session to help you think through the content of your Annual Report and prepare a concise template that is sure to provide users of your report, particularly donors, all the information they seek. She will explain the what, why and how of making your Annual Report a powerful fundraising tool. The session will include a step-by-step approach. Please bring you latest annual report and audited financial statements so that you can get answers to specific questions.

Who should attend?
CEOs, Finance Heads, Fundraising & Communications Managers. We recommend that you nominate two persons (one from Programmes/ Fundraising/ Communications and one from Finance/ Accounts).

About the Speaker
As the Founder, CEO of GuideStar India (2009), Pushpa set up GuideStar India to systematically organise information of India’s vast and complex voluntary sector in a globally trusted and user-friendly fashion. She draws on her vast experience in the financial services industry to make the portal easy for NGOs to self-report and add great value for users through verification and due-  diligence.  Pushpa’s approach to NGOs and the philanthropic community is influenced by her long association with GiveIndia. She loves to create reporting tools and frameworks that capture verifiable facts and inspiring stories. She has been successful in establishing linkages across networks and sectors to build the philanthropy eco-system in India.

Pushpa has conducted numerous workshops for NGOs and corporates, and, is a popular speaker about the Indian NGO Sector. Pushpa is a member of the Learning Series Committee of the Credibility Alliance and is on the Partnership Advisory Group of TechSoup Global. She is also a member of CII’s Industry-Civil Society Interface Committee and the Pro-bono Task Force of India@75.

Venue Partner Host
We thank Thomson Reuters Foundation for hosting the workshop at their premises.

Details of the Workshop:
Day & Date: Thursday 12th June 2014
Time: 10.30 a.m. – 1.30 p.m.
Venue: - Thomson Reuters Foundation, 3rd Floor, Construction House, Ballard Estate (V.T.)

For all those registered with CAP/GuideStar India
For all NOT registered with CAP/GuideStar India
Before 9th June
Rs. 500/participant
Rs. 600/participant
After 9th June
Rs. 700/participant
Rs. 700/participant

Registration Procedure
To register for the workshop, please fill the 5 minute-online form at:

Payment Details:

Payment Options:
Cash/ Cheque / DD payable in Mumbai in the name of - Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy
Send your payment ONLY to:
Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy
Mulla House - 4th Floor,
M G Road, Fort,
Mumbai – 400001

Via NEFT bank transfer - 
·      Name of the bank: Central bank of India
·      Bank Address: Central bank of India, Mumbai Main Office Branch, Mumbai 400 023.
·      Name of Account Holder: Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy
·      Account No.: 1721311396
·      IFSC: CBIN0280621
Please send a mail to  if payment is made via Bank Transfer, as soon as it is made.

Confirmation Message:
Once the payment is received, you will receive a confirmation mail from CAP India by June 10th 2014. If you do not hear from us, please send a mail to  

About the Organisers

Since its founding in 1986, the Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy (CAP) has helped philanthropic organisations comply with the complex web of legal issues governing charitable giving in India. CAP specialises in all legal matters concerning the Trusts/Societies Act, Income Tax Act, Foreign Contributions Regulations Act (FCRA), and a host of allied laws and good governance and management practices. is a globally trusted, fully searchable portal of reliable and comparable information of over 4500 NGOs. Its powerful search engine allows individuals, corporate, government and other institutions to access repository of NGO information within minutes. As outreach and due diligence partners for several institutions and corporates, GuideStar India connects NGOs to several opportunities for fundraising, capacity building, recognition, volunteering and donations. GuideStar India educates and equips NGOs to embrace best practices in transparency and public accountability for greater social impact.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation uses the skills, value, and expertise of Thomson Reuters to trigger change and empower people across the world.  The Foundation stands for free, independent journalism, human rights, women’s empowerment, and the rule of law.  TrustLaw is a global pro bono service connecting NGOs and social enterprises with the best law firms around the world.  With staff in six countries and fluency in 18 languages, the program connects the world’s best lawyers with high-impact social enterprises and extraordinary NGOs.  TrustLaw is committed to spreading the practice of pro bono to every country.