NGO Insights: India Sponsorship Committee

Dated : 10 Oct 2013
  1. Sector and Positioning:

India Sponsorship Committee is among the few pioneers that institutionalized the concept of ‘moving away from charity to development’ in India. It was in the mid-1960s when other NGO’s were dependent solely on “Individual Sponsorship”, ISC focused on “Group Sponsorship” and invited donations from International Funding Agencies. To support their initiative, ISC collaborated with International Union for Child Welfare (IUCW), Geneva and Save the Children in the US and Canada. ISC was institutionalized in 1967 by visionary Dr. (Ms.) Zulie Nakhooda. ISC’s main focus across all projects has remained on education as the goal for rehabilitation.

Following its developmental and group sponsorship model, ISC started a residential school ‘Antar Bharti Balgram, Pune’ that works towards rehabilitation of children that join residential centers either as orphans or destitutes. Although by law, children are required to leave the premises after 18 years of age, ISC continues to support their children by either sponsoring their higher education or providing placements with corporates. Recently, ISC has moved to an English curriculum (from Marathi) with an objective to increase employability skills of their children.

ISC organizes regular health checkups for the residential students. It supports dedicated students by sponsoring their higher education. ISC encourages women to pursue higher studies over marriage at an early age of 18. ISC has placed their students with L&T, Tata Power among other employers. To ensure regular electricity, ISC has installed solar street lights in the residential centers and are in in the process of putting up solar lamps.

With its wide set up across Maharashtra, ISC aims to focus on consolidating its existing activities rather than venturing into further expansion.   

  1. Financial Parameters:
  • Posted an annual income of Rs17mn in FY12 viz-a-viz Rs53mn which is the average income of NGOs in the education space
  • Nearly 79% of ISC’s expenses are incurred towards on Direct Programme Expenses, thus complying with the industry standards of 80% to 85%
  • Overhead expenses reduced significantly from 12% to 3.5% in FY12 indicating efficiency in spending
  • Employee base is 70; cost per employee is in sync with the average industry standards of approximately Rs15,000
  • Funds tied up in Fixed Assets increased from 11% to 14% in FY12 on account of adding a floor to their school in Yerwada

 

 

  1. Sustainability Parameters:
  • Income increased by 22% y-o-y in FY2012 due to increase in donations from foreign sources
  • Diversified revenue stream; making the operations of ISC more sustainable (Refer  FIG. 1)
  • Maintains self-sufficiency ratio of 0.4x, is in line with the industry average of 0.5x for NGOs in education space
  • Regular cash flow from long term committed sponsors gives them comfort to conduct their projects swiftly
  • Committed donors include L&T Charitable Trust, K.C. Mahindra Trust, Asha for Education, Seattle, US, Manos Unidas & Mr. Bhagwan Daswani
  • Grants from Government and the other Funding Agencies are received regularly i.e. on a quarterly basis
  • Past records indicate that there has been no dependence on a single donor, however significant ongoing donations have been made annually by the trusts mentioned above

 

  1. Major Challenges:
  • Insufficient funds from government i.e. Rs1,240 per child per month. There are frequent delays in receipt of these funds and therefore constant follow up is required
  • Non availability of qualified counsellors to address issues faced by growing adolescents
  • Non availability of good English speaking Teachers/House Mothers to deliver quality education
  • Frequent power cuts and poor broadband connection; restricting ISC’s ability to accept donations in kind (tablets, computers etc.) from its foreign donors
  • Inadequate funds to renovate 7 out of 9 Sadans, homes where the children are sheltered. The estimated cost for each Sadan is estimated to be a little less than Rs1mn

 

  1. Governance & Reporting Standards:

ISC has eminent personalities on their Board as well as on the Governing Council. Ms. Nawaz Master, an efficient and an able Administrator bridges the gap between the Board and the Functional Teams at each Centre. Industry veteran, Mr. Noshir Dadrawala, CEO at Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy is also on the Board of the ISC and helps monitor the corporate governance related affairs of the organization.

The Board members meet at least once in every month to monitor the functioning of the centers and address other operational issues, if any. Reports are prepared on demand. Annual reports are published are detailed with requisite disclosures and elucidates new initiatives taken by ISC during the given financial year.

As a good corporate governance practice, ISC ensures that a report is sent to the donors on a regular basis summarizing the deployment of the funds donated by them for a specific use. This gives transparency and assures the donor about their donations.

 

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