Need For Collaboration In The Indian Non-Profit Sector

India has more than 3 million NGOs – more than 3 times the number of doctors in the country, more than double the number of schools. There is an NGO for every 400 people. Obviously there is no dearth of ‘heart’. One would therefore assume this is good enough to address most of the socio / economic challenges being faced by the country. The reality is far from it, though.

Is the impact on the social sector commensurate with the sheer number (of non-profit organisations) and efforts put in by these well-meaning entrepreneurs and individuals? The answer is probably a ‘no.’

If one were to examine why is it so, one would find the reasons are several and diverse. Looking at the scenario over the years, one could figure out soon that passion, volunteerism, technology, intent or monetary resources are less likely to be one of them.

What is likely to emerge as a key reason is (grossly under-utilised) opportunity for collaboration.

Collaboration between non-profit organisations could positively influence the overall efficacy (if one may call it so) significantly. It could be the game-changer.

Collaboration is a vast term – in a sector driven by passion and spirit, it may seem difficult, yet if explored, one may find it is powerful and limit-less. It could work wonders.

Collaboration could take different shapes and forms – spread across knowledge sharing, experience sharing, reaching out to different geographies, focusing on key competencies, leveraging strengths of one-another, helping one-another and much more…

The challenge is that the very construct of the sector comes with its own (human) challenges that work against it – making it difficult to apply on the ground. What may help is a broader approach and sharing attitude amongst the organisations.

Having said that, there are a few successful examples of collaboration amongst the non-profit organisations (though by exception).collaboration in non-profit sector

One such program is the LivingValues movement (, where collaboration between various Non-profit organisations has helped increasing the reach of the program ten-fold within a short span of time. Global Action on Poverty ( is another example where non-profit organisations are brought under one roof to share their experiences, learn / collaborate each other to improve the social impact.

Collaboration amongst the non-profit organisations is the need – It is bound to improve the efficacy of the sector, and make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.

Can we?