Wanna StartUp an NGO?

By Lawrence Umukoro

“it’s far easier to make money than to give it away effectively” – Warren Buffett

This week alone, I have shared words with 3 people (all ladies) who have a HUGE passion for giving back and believe their life’s calling revolves in the spheres of either giving back, catering to the needy or simply charity.

My views
Volunteering your time towards charitable causes is one thing – running a successful NGO is another ball game.

We all have that little spark at the back of our minds that causes us to feel pity for those in need and drives us to take up ‘arms for world peace’ – for some, its just conscience, for others, its a burning flame of compassion and social justice – – – – you see a suffering “african child” on TV and BOOM you wanna start up a charity/NGO…. My advice, FALL BACK…

The only true difference between running a professional business and running an NGO is that in one instance income is Praised and taxed whilst in the other instance income is Praised and untaxed. I registered an NGO about 10 years ago, I should know.

You need as much business skills (if not more) to run an NGO as the random young entrepreneur out there would need to startup and successfully run an IT firm….the ‘need for skill’ is even more pressing if you are ‘broke’.

I am astonished at the amount of BROKE (technically and financially) individuals out there who believe they can change the world – with their only tool being “pity for the poor”. “You cannot give what you don’t have”.

Behind every successful NGO is a sound professional business structure. Do your research and look at the worlds biggest and most influential NGOs – they are indeed managed and run as professional businesses. It is because of this same reason that many NGO across the country are folding up by the day.

That you want to run an NGO does not mean you should not think of/establish innovative ways to raise funds for your “business”. Many NGO these days have become beggars and leachers – their only tactic being: “taking from the wealthy and giving to the poor”.

As an NGO, you need to be able to keep financial records, if you cannot keep accounts, nobody will give you additional funds – and quit praying to God for cash, even Jesus had a tax collector as a close buddy.

Don’t get me wrong in my rant, there is constant need for that young man in the community who makes an impact with the kids, and that old magogo – who feeds the poor, YES there is need for that, but there is no need for NGOs that believe their only way to create change is to channel money from the NLDTF to the poor.

My other advice, if you want to run an NGO, creative a for-profit business, then use profits from your business to help the poor.

Warren Buffett on the subject of philanthropy says “it’s far easier to make money than to give it away effectively”



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