NGOs: Impacts that come from inside and outside

At a time like this, that civil society organizations are at great risk in their own continuity, because they depend on funding from other institutions and companies, and at the same time, are the ones that most respond to the needs of the most vulnerable population, it is crucial that we share this AUPA article. The objective is to make clear the real positive impact that these civil society organizations generate among those most in need.

“What do you think when it comes to Non-Governmental Organizations, NGOs, and the impact ecosystem? Despite being constantly associated with prejudiced reductions, these organizations do a strategic job in the search for socio-environmental solutions – after all, they usually operate in territories specific and complex issuesFASFIL.”,

According to the survey“privatefoundations and Non-profit associations in Brazil –published in 2019 by the Brazilian Geography and Statistics Institute (IBGE), there were record 236,950 private foundations and non-profit associations . in the graph below, you can check the distribution by rating of nonprofits, number of locations and staff units occupied paid on December 31,2016. You can interact with the display and do different groupings with the data available in thekeys.

Whether in the centers or on the outskirts, the work of NGOs with local communities deals with dialogue and solution based on the urgencies of the territory, an action that goes beyond social responsibility. It is not by chance that these organizations play an important political role in search of changes that affect, above all, the base of the socioeconomic pyramid.

To get an idea of ​​this social role, Instituto Doar awarded the 100 Best NGOs in 2019, with a highlight to representatives also by area of ​​activity – see the full list of organizations awarded in this link. At the time, the Peter Pan Association was elected the best NGO of the year, due to its work in favor of healing and improving the quality of life of children and adolescents with cancer and their families.

At the same time, in an embarrassment that occurred in November, the federal government accused NGOs and their activists of involvement with the fires that occurred in Santarém, Pará. This fact caused discomfort and criticism of public opinion, due to the lack of evidence.

Breaking prejudices and acting in a network

Some companies, alongside institutes and foundations, help to compose the set of actors called facilitators in the impact ecosystem. These are the intermediary organizations, which connect, facilitate and certify non-income generating Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), income generating CSOs, impact businesses and commercial companies that demand capital. This connection is made with those who can offer capital, such as the government, legal entities and individuals, foundations and associations, national development agencies, community finance institutions and multilateral credit organizations. All of this is done through mechanisms, that is, modalities and capital flows with or without profit purposes.

The GIFE Thematic Network (Groups of Institutes, Foundations and Companies) is one of the main articulators between intermediary organizations and their actions in the impact ecosystem. In addition, the network is a reference in the topic of private social investment, precious to the universe of CSOs and NGOs. There is also the role of the Instituto Empresarial de Cidadania (ICE), also one of the main enthusiasts in this bridge between investments and businesses with a socio-environmental impact. Every two years, ICE promotes the Brazilian Forum on Social Finance and Impact Business, for example.

10th Meeting of the Social Impact Business Thematic Network. The dialogue took place in October 2019. Photo credit: Ivan Zumalde.

The Map of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) organized and made available by the Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea) is an x-ray that allows contextualizing these organizations – and, consequently, NGOs. And it is worth the reservation made by Sebrae regarding the acronyms of the sector:

“although some NGOs can be qualified as a civil society organization of public interest (oscip), it can be said that every NGO is an NGO, but not every NGO is an NGO”.

The mapping done by Ipea reveals that of the 781,921 existing CSOs, 323,522 are in the Southeast, while the Midwest has 63,154 CSOs. In the North there are 55,870 CSOs, in the Northeast, 194,033, and in the South, 145,315.

Specialist NGO intermediary: Phomenta

Within the impact ecosystem there are companies that support social leaders and entrepreneurs ahead of NGOs. An example is Phomenta, founded in 2015, a social business specialized in innovation, entrepreneurship and management tools aimed at the NGOs. “Phomenta sees these organizations as social enterprises. They identify a problem, validate it and provide solutions through services, in order to resolve any complex and specific issue of society ”, explains Izadora Mattiello, co-founder and president of the company.

Second edition of the Social Acceleration Marathon, an action that took place during Johnson & Johnson’s Affection Week. Phomenta accelerated 10 health NGOs at the time. Image source: Instagram Phomenta / @ phomenta.

However, theterm itself intermediate brings its weaknesses when applied in a universe where at all times they try to paste prejudiced narratives, such as that of NGOs. “In Brazil, the word ‘intermediary’ is not very welcoming. Likewise, the term ‘NGO‘ has stigmas. People do not know much about what it means to be an intermediary, so it is necessary to educate future customers and society as a whole ”, says Mattiello, about understanding the importance of these institutions that also bridge the corporate, innovation /worldsstartups and the Third Sector.

And, definitely, the extinction of NGOs is not an option, for practical and historical reasons in social action.

“If NGOs cease to exist, we would be in chaos, due to their importance in acting and for solving social problems. it doesn’t matter if you distribute profits or not: the most important thing is that these organizations are solving a problem that has already been validated ”, explains mattiello.

She also adds: “You can’t talk about social impact without considering the NGO’s background and experience. After all, they are the real experts on socio-environmental problems and inequalities”.


And what would be the challenge regarding the management of NGOs? The answer may be the same for any enterprise, especially the small one: prioritization. “People have a hard time knowing what to prioritize. Even more so in NGOs, where there is a very strong cause and it is difficult to leave the technician, which is to support, at the end, the beneficiary. The challenge is to go more behind the scenes, think about strategies and make decisions ”, comments Mattiello. Still within the priority strategy, actions such as knowing how to say “no”, prioritizing demands, being strategic in attracting partners, thinking about the financial side and having a long-term vision stand out.

Izadora Mattiello is a co-founder and president of Phomenta, a social business specialized in innovation, entrepreneurship and management tools aimed at the NGO universe. Photo source: Phomenta website.

The knowledge to act as an entrepreneur, especially in the social and environmental impact sector, goes beyond academic formalities – it also requires mileage, experiences with mistakes and successes. “Many NGOs go for the heart and for the technical, social cause. There is still a lack of knowledge and tools, which foster this non-prioritization structure when it comes to structuring ”, explains Mattiello.

Not being centralized is also one of the challenges within the management of NGOs, after all, it is necessary for the entrepreneur to pass on technical knowledge to other people so that he can focus on more strategic points for the business and make it stand up. In this regard, Phomenta’s role is to present entrepreneurs with possibilities of tools, to promote individual consultancies and to be the bridge that will promote face-to-face meetings between NGOs, for the exchange of experiences. “We try to make this entrepreneur’s life easier so that, in a way, he knows how to prioritize, delegate and think in a more strategic way so that that NGO has a greater social impact”, says the president of Phomenta. Certainly, there is no lonely path for those in the impact ecosystem. “

Source: AUPA – Journalism in Business with a Social ImpactPost accessed in May / 2020:

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