The social sector in India is proactively and diligently working to solve some of the most pressing concerns in the areas of poverty alleviation, education, health care and water sanitation, among others. To enable the social sector, funding is needed from various donors to facilitate the design and implementation of development initiatives. However, due to bureaucracy and commercial bent of the marketplace, the social sector organisations miss out on the ability to measure, substantiate and reap benefits from the impact their work has. Thus, the result is a vicious cycle whereby the social sector organisations lack funding which prevents them from devoting their limited resources to the measurement and assessment of their impact, the lack of which prevents them from being able to secure funding, and the loop goes on.
NGOs in India also suffer at the hands of a culture of scepticism. NGOs have been called ‘money-making devices’ in the past, and the lack of trust and confidence among prospective donors is a hard nut to crack. To add to that, we have around 31 lakh NGOs in India competing for these funds.
This is where tech platforms become one of the most important tools to assess a social sector organization. Track Your Metrics is one such self-reporting tool created by Outline India. Track Your Metrics can be used to formulate, collect, analyze and visualize data. Surveys can be conducted by drawing from pre-designed and pre-loaded questionnaire packages, and the user can come up with own questions. The questionnaire packages have been based on internationally recognized indicators such as the Sustainable Development Goals.
TYM’s intention is to encourage the free flow of data resulting in transparency and accountability in the social sector. Therefore, not only can you collect trustworthy data, but you can measure the collected data against international standards. This results in the ability to monitor NGOs against international standards too! Thus, it is clear that TYM can find users in social sector organizations, CSRs, corporations, students, researchers and academics.
The process of data collection in the social sector is often hectic and time consuming.vWith the paucity of time and resources, a cost-effective monitoring solution is the need of the hour. By using Track Your Metrics, NGOs can ensure they are productive and efficient all in one.
How can technology help?
For one, there are a multitude of organisations in India that carry out high-impact work, but lack an effective presentation and assessment of the same. They can benefit from a tech platform that enables them to showcase this impact in terms of meaningful data and strong visualisations. Such a tool can, in turn, also help the potential sponsors in better decision-making regarding the allocation of their funds. The donors will be in a better position to monitor how their funds are being used, thereby reassuring them that their investments are worthwhile. It will also help them evaluate and invest in the project which creates highest impact. It will simultaneously also help the NGOs make better decisions about their operations for an optimum use of their resources.
Academia and students who carry out research projects and other such studies are likely to find TYM useful too! This is because they can use TYM as a one-stop shop to collate all the information and data together.
We don’t want to refer to technology as a magical panacea to all the development-related issues, but it can certainly help facilitate effective solutions.
Niroshnee is a student at The Australian National University, studying Bachelor of Law and Arts, majoring in International Relations. She aspires to practice law in future, driven by a desire to wake up every day to a problem waiting to be solved. She is passionate about education, women empowerment, social structures and justice. She interned with Outline India for 3 weeks during January – February 2019.