NGO Insights: Masoom

Dated : 22 Nov 2013
  1. Sector and Positioning:

Masoom is a Mumbai based NGO started with an agenda to provide quality education and good infrastructure for children attending night schools. Masoom is the only organization in Maharashtra and probably among the very few dedicated NGOs nationwide working with night schools to provide quality education. The concept of night schools is mostly prevalent in  Maharashtra which has the maximum number of night schools, followed by Andhra Pradesh offering formal education to aspiring but underprivileged students. In a short span of only four years, Masoom collaborated with 30 municipal schools in Maharashtra (as on June, 2013) addressing over 1,500 children.

Masoom’s night school program concentrates on a holistic development of a child: improving academic performance; opportunities to pursue higher studies; job opportunities leading to a better standard of living. To ensure sustainability, Masoom framed a three pronged model that offers: Infrastructure Support to under privileged students, Capacity Building for Stakeholders and Advocacy. To enhance long term impact, the organization has strategically modified its student centric approach to one that is equitably distributed among all its stakeholders (School trustees, head masters, teachers, students, non-teaching staff and parents)

Masoom’s night school programs are funded by large donors like EdelGive Foundation, Tech Mahindra, Global Fund for Children, Bombay Community Public Trust, Intervida Foundation and Michael and Susan Dell Foundation among others. 

  1. Financial Parameters:

Total Income: Masoom posted total income of Rs14mn in FY13, a huge leap from Rs4mn in FY12. The massive year on year growth of 233% in FY13 is owing to large chunk of donations received from new donors for a variety of uses:

  • Intervida Foundation contributed Rs2.9mn for supporting 5 schools;
  • Tech Mahindra increased its contribution from Rs0.7mn in FY12 for one school to Rs2.7mn in FY13 for 3 schools;
  • IDFC; a new entrant extended financial support of Rs3.9mn funding its operating expenses (admin cost)
  • Michael & Susan Dell Foundation made significant contribution for capacity building. 

Program V/s Other Expenses: 

  • Program expenses have almost doubled in FY13 and were to the tune of Rs5.5mn. This is on account of signing up additional 5 schools in during FY13.
  • Program Expenses in FY13 was Rs8.9mn i.e. 88% of the total expenses incurred during the year. Programme expenses include staff cost related to programme.
  • In FY13, 62% of the expenses classified under ‘Objects of the Trust’ was paid to consultants for studying the opportunities in this vertical and devising a sustainable growth plan.
  • Despite increasing donations in FY13, no direct fund raising cost was incurred. This is because fund raising exercise was carried out by the Founder herself. Other than salary to trustee, no other expense was incurred.
  • Cost per beneficiary in FY13 was approximately Rs.10,000. 

Trust Corpus, General Funds & Other Liabilities:

  • Trust corpus has increased marginally from Rs0.6mn in FY12 to Rs1.1mn in FY13.
  • General Funds witnessed a three times increase in FY13 i.e. Rs1.5mn over Rs0.5mn in FY12. This is owing to significant rise in donations received during the financial year.
  • Masoom has availed no short/long term borrowed funds till date. Other liabilities include TDS payable for the year. 

Fixed Assets, Investments & Current Assets:

  • During FY13, new computers were purchased for the purpose of starting a computer lab for students. Some computers were also purchased for the new staff; resulting an increase in Fixed Assets.
  • Investments increased from Rs1.7mn in FY12 to Rs6.7mn in FY13. This is because donations received during the year were parked aside by investing in fixed income/liquid instruments. This is also evident from the rise in Interest Income in FY13 which almost doubled from the previous year.
  • During FY13, Masoom moved to new office (comparatively larger space) which prompted Masoom to pay high advance rent as security deposit resulting in higher Advances & Deposits
  • High Cash & Bank Balances of Rs1.6mn were maintained at the end of year as Masoom on one hand had aggressive expansion plans and on the other hand were uncertain about donations coming in at the right time. To avoid a cash crunch while expanding, a high cash balance was maintained at the end of year. To highlight, post 31st March 2013, Masoom tied up with another 15 schools in six months.  
  1. Sustainability Parameters:​

Impressive Income Growth Rate: Although Masoom is a startup, its total revenue has grown at an impressive 4-Year CAGR of 57% for the period FY10-FY13. 

High Self Sufficiency Ratio: The organization maintains high self-sufficiency ratio of 143% in FY13. This is owing to large funds coming in from credible donors’ year on year. Self-sufficiency ratio indicates ability of an organization to meets its expenses from its own funds.

Systematic & Scientific Approach: Masoom has made significant efforts to improve systems and processes to select deserving night schools. A unique upgrade tool is devised with the help of students from XLRI, a B-School of repute to identify areas requiring more attention in a night school. By building systems and adopting scientific approach, Masoom conveys that they are here to make a meaningful difference at an individual level so that at a macro level it benefits each of its stakeholders.    

Strong Performance: The passing rate of SSC students increased from 36% in FY12 to 72% in FY13. Masoom’s venture in a niche area, backed by strong performance and its continuous focus to enhance sustainability has captivated many donors, and has convinced them to extend financial support to Masoom for their organic growth.

Backed by Financial Institutions: Majority of donations received in FY13 are towards executing programs, however significant donations are received for admin purposes too; this encourages Masoom to build systems, perform better and build a sustainable model. 

  • Donors supporting Masoom since inception include: EdelGive Foundation (Edelweiss Group), IL&FS, Bombay Community Public Trust, Global Fund for Children. EdelGive has agreed to act as a ‘Gap Funder’.
  • Donors that joined Masoom in subsequent years include: Intervida Foundation, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, IDFC Ltd., Tech Mahindra and ANZ Bank among others. 
  1. Major Challenges:

Accessibility & Visibility: Night schools have been in existence for a long time; however they are not popular among the Indian population. One of the reasons could be its inaccessibility to an average day worker. Most of these night schools are run by the State Government. Due to the limited funds allocated to these schools; no promotional activities can be undertaken to increase visibility among the targeted segment.

Lack of Initiatives: Some of the stakeholders (teachers/headmasters running the school) are not motivated enough to take initiatives to promote state owned night schools and improve quality of education offered.  

Anti-Social Hours: Many children especially girls are reluctant to join night schools as classes are held during ‘anti-social’ hours. Operating in odd hours not only results in poor and inconsistent attendance but also limits the quality of teachers who come forward and volunteer.

  1. Governance & Reporting Standards:

Prior to setting up Masoom, the Founding Trustee, Ms. Nikita Ketkar has worked as a journalist, a lecturer and a social worker. Her dynamic personality and rich experience has helped Masoom grow organically in a very short time. Mr. Vineet Ketkar, Trustee, is a Chartered Accountant who has worked with several corporate bodies. By leveraging his experience, Masoom has built an efficient and transparent accounting systems.

Mrs. Vidya Shah, an IIM-A graduate heading the EdelGive Foundation is an Executive Director and provides strategic guidance.

The Board meets quarterly and attendance is mandatory for each Board Member. Masoom is accredited by Credibility Alliance for its transparency and accountability by maintaining good governance standards. 

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