NonProfit Management Case Study
The civil society has taken a very active role in the quest for democracy that continues to spread across the continents till it reached the Middle East region only recently. This is clear given the successive revolts that have taken place in many of the Arab countries calling for real democracy. Therefore, especially in Egypt, efforts should be directed toward defending civil society organizations and activists who are being threatened by the coercive authoritarian government actions over the past decades (Naidoo, 2007).
NonProfit Management Case Study Essay Example
The civil society as identified by Khallaf (2010) comprises “non-governmental organizations (NGOs hereafter), community groups, professional associations, trade unions, media organizations, research institutes/ think tanks, and advocacy and human rights civil society organizations” (p. 2). However, the current paper aims at focusing mainly on the role of NGOs in strengthening democracy. This is due to the major role NGOs play in several areas in order to enhance democracy.
Among these are their role in: (1) allowing a wider range of interest groups to have a ‘voice’, pluralizing institutions to act in a ‘watchdog’ role vis-a-vis the state, networking and creating alliances of civic actors to place pressure on the state, (2) working with grassroots organizations comprised of poor and marginalized groups, and (3) exerting some pressures on the state by pressing for change and developing alternative policies (Mercer, 2002). Previous Studies of civil society in Egypt, over the past twenty years, have
been both superficial and confined to only limited areas, namely (issue based publications, academic publications, training materials/ manuals, directories, conference publications, empirical comparative studies, civil society organizations’ (CSOs) publications, donor guide books and publications, CSOs coalitions occasional papers, evaluation studies, and web based sources) (Khallaf, 2010). (Figure: 1). Figure : The diversity of civil society research in Egypt Therefore, more detailed studies should be directed toward deeply investigating the civil society organizations operating in Egypt.
Khallaf (2010) has mentioned that more research has been directed recently to track the actual magnitude of civil society through donor efforts in Egypt. However, the literature has pointed to serious gaps in the study of NGOs in Egypt. These include; First: Updated statistical information on number of NGOs. Second: The systematic evaluation of NGOs activities. Third: periodic assessments such as the CIVICUS or Civil Society Index and the Philanthropy study. Forth: studying participatory governance and the involvement of civil society in decision making processes. Fifth: changing Laws and regulations governing NGOs in Egypt.
Sixth: An impact assessment of all new NGOs working in charity or development. Seventh: an assessment of aid effectiveness to Egypt (Khallaf, 2010). Finally: a detailed diagnosis of the NGOs operating in Egypt is needed. This should focus on both internal and external analyses of the selected NGOs and provide policy recommendations for possible improvements in the sector. The current paper attempts to draw light on how the civil society operates in Egypt. A well recognized Egyptian NGO was selected in this ethnographic research. It is called the Future Protectors Association for Care and Development or “Homat Al-Mostakbal”.
The reason behind selecting it is the higher credibility and the good reputation it is enjoying. This is quite well perceived by the researcher based on her personal experience with this association. The current research can add valuable insights both theoretically and practically. Theoretically, it attempts to cover few of the gaps mentioned about the civil society research in developing countries and Egypt in particular. Practically, proposed recommendations can serve as strategic agendas for improving the performance of the selected NGO in particular and the entire NGO sector in general.
The current paper is organized as follows; the first section will provide detailed information about association’s background. This will be followed by the analysis section which would sum up the major facts collected about the association. The analysis is based on qualitative in-depth interviewing1 conducted with five key persons in the association including its founder. Finally, conclusions and recommendations are presented, to guide future research directions, at the conclusion part here later. Background
Future protectors association for care and development (homat al mostakbal) is one of the well known non-governmental organizations in Egypt. It is located at 425 Avenue Road, Roushdy, Alexandria, Egypt. It is a group of young people who work in the field of developmental work and volunteerism in for a better future and a true renaissance to Egypt. It serves in the great Cairo area and some other governorates including; Alexandria, Dakahleya, Gharbeya, Menoufeya, and others. It was originally founded on the 2nd of Novermber, 2004 by Eng. El-Dreiny and his daughter engineer Marwa El-Dreiny.
It was mainly founded seeking community development. The vision of the association is to be one of the largest civil society organizations working in the field and leading the areas of development, community care, and voluntary work in Egypt and the Arab world by year 2020. The mission of the association is the development and care of the community through several dimensions including; raising the general level of education and the development of production philosophy, increasing awareness of drug taking problems, providing health awareness, raising the cultural level of young people, and providing a variety of social services.
These are to be achieved while taking into account the mastery of work and commitment to the principles of ethics and team work cooperation. The primary objectives to fulfill the pre-mentioned vision and mission include the following; Providing guidance and better utilizing the power of potential volunteers in various activities of the association and developing their skills while strengthening their moral values. Increasing the awareness of community members about the dangers of drugs and training of cadres for different age groups.
In addition to providing technical support to partners and trainers in the field of awareness against the dangers of addiction and drug. Training community members by spreading the production thinking and helping youth and poor families in establishing small craft projects to supply industries with high quality products at competitive prices. Providing social services (in kind – physical – technical) and the work projects for poor families, orphans, deaf and dumb cases. Developing different segments of the society, especially children and young people both culturally and scientifically.
This would entitle them to acquire new skills, open their horizons to different lives, and raise the level of education among the educated classes with aim of bringing progress and prosperity to the society in large. The major values of the association comprise the following; Intentions precede action Our basic principles are our main priority. Understanding the priorities and giving a high commitment to them. Mastering our work. Best employing our resources. Our clients are our core interest. Team work spirit. Commitment to a safe environment.
The association is registered under the old NGO law. This entitles the association to be under the scrutiny and supervision of the Directorate of Social Affairs. Here is the copy of the registration certificate. Figure : Formal Registration Certificate The association tries as much to manage its institutional memory. This can be manifested in the form of reports including information about what happened in the past. Other reports are prepared for each activity and collected annually to be archived and documented for each committee.
Also, there are few attempts to record religious seminars and cultural meetings either video or audio. Sometimes the association registers the campaigns to serve the new members by providing them with information about the work flavor. These tentative mechanisms are aimed at saving association heritage of knowledge and transfer it to the future generations who would complete the mission. The organization chart of the association was revised recently. There are intentions to modify it also however some limitations hinder this at the current period.
The chart is decomposed into the Chairman of the Board of Directors, the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors, the Executive Director, the Chairmen of the various Committees – the Vice Chairmen of the various Committees -who are appointed by the administration according to experience and seniority- the executive management including Secretary, the financial management. There were areas for development and the last updated organization chart was reproduced recently in 2011. The association was built on the basis of predominantly volunteerism however; there are 17 formal employees who are getting paid monthly.
There are mainly three managers; executive, financial, and legal affairs. Staff members do not perform overlapping roles, instead there is a clearly specified job description for each single role. This would allow the upper management to apply a strict accountability procedures based on assigned responsibilities. The association is able to deal smoothly with the threat of losing any/all staff member(s). Sometimes, the operations of a highly specialized department, which loses a key staff member, can be postponed until the appointment of a new person.
However, in the key roles like secretarial work, work cannot be stopped and duties can be referred to any interested volunteer. The collectivity and shared team working spirit that characterize the association enable it to face sudden problems of this sort. The association is having a board of directors. It is composed of 9 members, 1/3 of them are dropped during each nomination period. The nomination is made for 6 upcoming years. It is preferred to nominate persons with strong public relations to offer some facilities and those who have the expertise and strong knowledge about association’s policies. The association is membership based.
There are different types of members including volunteers, affiliated, and working member. The membership status is documented only for continuing members who are then entitled to receive a formal membership card. Members pay a symbolic annual fee of about 20 pounds which represents one of the financial resources received by the association. The following chart represents the progress that has occurred in association’s membership from 2004 to 2008. In 2010, the number of volunteers has reached 4000. Figure : The number of volunteers The following chart represents the geographic allocation of volunteers across the different governorates.
Figure : The geographic allocation of volunteers The social and economic background of the members is diverse. Majority of members are classified to be from the middle to upper middle social class. They are almost well educated having a clear intent toward the importance of charity and development societal roles in their country. They have strong religious understandings which enable them to volunteer their efforts for the sake of making others happy while earning credits (thawab) and pleasing the only god (ALLAH). The association has completed a huge number of successful projects2 and some of which are seasonal.
The seasonal projects include distributing El Kheir bags and Ramadan lamps. It is planning to undertake some continuous projects not to be owned by the association but by encouraging the youth to execute them and the association can be a partner by 10%. Attached here below in the appendices is a list of the projects and activities the association is involved in. The primary beneficiaries of the association are; Volunteers, university students, school children, widowed women, poor families, knowledge seekers, patients, orphans, and the elderly at large.
The association is not specifying a certain population to focus on serving. Activities are therefore not based on the coverage of a particular area, but they are tailored to achieve certain goals across the various geographic segments. 3 The association has unique policy for recruiting both members and staff. For the former, recruitment is based on the real intention to perform volunteer work. For the latter, recruitment is based on the exact mission to be completed within the functional department the potential candidate will join. The association views the current recruitment policy to be an effective one.
Therefore, there are no plans to change its policy during the current period. The ratio of association’s founders to its members is roughly estimated to be 10%. Taking into considerations that the number of registered volunteers is roughly 4000, only 100-200 of them are active ones. The association depends on a self financing scheme. Majority of funds come from membership fees, donations (in cash or in kind), and revenues from profit-based committees. There is one company which operates in the field of quality and 75% of its income is transferred to the association.
There are some funding projects such as the share the good, CSR, and Ijada company. Only 10% of the directed donations are taken to cover a proportion of administrative expenses but the money of Zakat is kept untouched. The association collects money from Egyptians. The money comes in forms of Zakat, sadakat, and in cash or in kind donations. It utilizes no foreign funding alternatives except for the single initiative with the United Nations. This partnership agreement was made under pressures from Dubai police and entitled the association to receive a fund of $ 10.
000 in order to execute some projects. The association has neither an initial endowment nor an emergency fund. It depended mainly on donations during the initial construction phase. There is a bank account for the association where the money collected from the various sources is being deposited to or withdrew from when necessary. The association does not always profit from most of its projects because they have low profit margins. Some seasonal projects might generate profit like the partnership with Toshiba Company to distribute Ramadan lamps.
Donations are considered as part of the revenues. The association uses money coming from donations, sadakat, and the yield of some revenue-based activities. The general overhead costs of the association are estimated roughly to be from 30-40% of the budget. The ways to manage costs to the least possible level include, inducing members to rationalize consumption rates, closely monitoring monthly expenses, rationalizing staff recruitment process, and covering the costs of high telephone bills, hospitality and administrative outlays through collecting in kind donations.
The association does not recognize any kind of support offered by the Egyptian government. The old government has provided only some facilities to make agreements with some concerned authorities such as ministries. This was mostly perceived prior to the revolution. However, the picture of the new potential government is still vague and there is no assurance that the new government would adopt a pro-civil society philosophy or not. There are tentative expectations about possible cooperation from the ministry of environment in the future. Analysis
Based on the results of the in-depth personal interviews conducted with key persons in the association two types of analysis were made. The following section starts by presenting the first type of analysis which is the SWOT. This will be followed by the PEST analysis. 1. SWOT analysis The association enjoys a number of strength points. These strengths include, but not limited to, the following; a. Strong team spirit is a huge asset, good and efficient management system, good public relations, raising the skills of volunteers through gained experience, and very good reputation perceived by partners and the community at large.
b. The presence of strong networks both locally and internationally. Locally with government institutions such as the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education, the Adult Education in Alexandria, the Ministry of Housing, the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Ministry of Environment (protocol of cooperation),partnership training with the engineering industries sector TV ITV’s affiliated to the Ministry of Industry, Alexandria Biblotecha library (Department of Public Relations and Information), Morkoseya Church, the Food Bank, and the Egyptian (permanent agreement).
Internationally, networks with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Organized Crime in the United Nations, the Dubai Police (working as technical/training consultants to raise awareness of the damages of drug addiction. c. Good coordination with other local and international organizations. Examples include organizing joint training programs with renaissance makers club in Kuwait, the Ministry of Awqaf in Kuwait, the American University of Kuwait, Gulf University, CID in Kuwait and the Ministry of Defense, Union of Arab Doctors (donations to Libya), the office of Dr.
Muhammad Salim Al-Awa, Toshiba Arab company and Ocean Express Company and Isam Abu-setta for heavy transport, New Horizons and Xeon, Arab Academy for Science and Technology, University of Pharos, Alexandria University, Cairo University, Helwan University, Ain Shams University, Menoufiya University, Western University , Mansoura University, Assuit University. Alshanek ya Balady Association, Alexandria west investors association, and set your goal association, the future hands Hospital. In addition to cultural partnership cooperation with the Egyptian-Turkish Friendship Association.
d. The presence of a strong infrastructure in the main headquarters in Alexandria. It is located in a prestigious location, well furnished, and highly accessible. However it is not a private property and thus imposes the burden of paying high monthly rent. This location is equipped by personal computers, laptops, wireless network, and they have electronic marketing forces empowered by strong specialists in the field. e. The presence of an independent financial management and independent social affairs and legal affairs units whose staff are paid.
The recycling project, the specialized teams used in field case studies, the illiteracy teachers, and volunteers. f. The lack of specific religious or political directions and the presence of strong relationships with respectable figures in Alexandria. The inclusion of small associations in the many events organized by the association. Dependence on respectable personalities in providing certain services. g. Partnering with the association provides the partner several privileges and huge returns.
A list of those privileges and returns to partners and individuals can be found later in the appendices. The obvious weakness points observed in this association include the following; a. Funding problems (almost self-financing by 99% from members) and the presence of many projects in second row but (senior management has recently begun to train the middle class members to complete these projects and continue the transfer of expertise to their followers). b. There are no integration links between the projects. c. Some personal conflict problems might arise sporadically among members.
d. Administrative problems, and lack of strictness and formalization procedures due to a conflict between the role of leader and manager, but they overcome this problem by appointing an executive director. e. Inadequate promotion for the association in the media compared to other competitors. The reasons are mainly to reduce expenses and due to the imposed security restrictions. f. The absence of headquarters in some governorates like Dakahleya and Gharbeya which constitutes a big problem because the teams there are highly specialized and they need the proper setting to grow on it.
g. The lack of specialization between the work forces in undertaking the projects. h. Some communication problems were present however, the Human Resources Director has solved them. i. Lack of volunteers and problems with their continuity/tenure. In some cases the volunteer has a desire to see the immediate result of his voluntary work which makes them less patient to continue. Most of the projects carried out by the association have longer term impacts and feasibility. j. Shortage in financial resources and operational tools.
The major opportunities, brought from the external environment, facing the association for the time being include the following; a. Activating some agreements with the Union of Arab doctors, the Ministry of Environment, various associations, political awareness teams, in addition to different charitable and awareness-raising teams seeking support from the association in terms of logistics and training. b. A strong deactivated relationship with Al-Jazeera training center which is currently under study. c.
The existence of many public figures, associations, and young modest advocates who have neither political nor religious direction. The association can take advantage of their cooperation efforts. d. A number of donors from America, Canada and Morocco who have appeared after the revolution as service volunteers like doctors. e. Localities and the Council of the People elections. This can be achieved by nominating independent members. Any successful nominated member can offer some facilities and services to the association.
Also, this will give the chance for the association to be presented as one of the active civil society organizations participating in crafting the new constitution. f. Offering many partnerships to join the association with large well known institutions such as New Horizons, the Arab Academy for Science and Technology, and other new companies through exhibitions. Their offered contributions come mainly in the form of donations. g. The existence of promising facilities to complete some strategic projects through governmental entities.
h. Reducing some of the strict scrutiny procedures imposed previously by the old government and the security apparatus. i. The expansion and proliferation in the environment of charity work, the launch of various public events and the intense presence of the civil society activities. j. The potential for participation with other unknown may be small, associations to perform some other projects outside the scope of work of the association. This represents the potential for diversification and expansion of work coverage. k.
People’s Openness and their new reconciliation with the community with the desire to join the civil society institutions to provide charity services. l. The presence of various finance institutions through which the association can expand its operations scale after getting approvals from concerned authorities. m. The neutrality of the association both politically and religiously is a major strength. It is manifested in attracting bodies of various ideologies either as beneficiaries or participants. These include for example, Morosely Church or El-Azhar in my life project.
The major threats or challenges, brought from the external environment, facing the association include the following; a. The societal openness can produce many competitors; some of them are supported by huge funding schemes and are biased toward the fulfillment of certain political religious agendas. b. Security threats to volunteers and the possibility of exposure to risk in places where they provide services. The possibility of being abused by law breakers due to the lack of security in the Egyptian streets mainly after the recent events.
c. Exploiting association’s activities for the beneficial interests of others. This is totally rejected. This might impose the threat of diluting the association’s public image. Examples include candidates’ coverage for elections or political support using association’s name and good reputation. d. The presence of some competitors with high media coverage, such as resala. e. The culture of voluntary work is still somehow tentative. The lack of awareness of others about the culture of volunteerism and societal responsibility. f.
The necessity to invest in volunteers to improve their skills and derive maximum value out of their participation. g. The unstable economic situation of the Egyptian State. h. The role of the Ministry of Social Solidarity has been hindering the progress of the work of the civil society for long years ago. i. The emergence of the Muslim brotherhood and the ancestors (salaf) as major competitors. j. Lack of human rights and political awareness and the prevailing unjustified freedom leading to chaotic results. k. The culture of the conspiracy against Egypt and the presence of some many unnatural
Egyptian T. V talk show moderators. l. The owners of certain rented headquarters are drug dealers. This represents a major threat calling for immediate actions in moving those headquarters. 2. The PEST analysis a. Political Factors The political environment in which the association operates appears to be unstable. This status has recently turned to be much intense following the revolution due to the emergence of new political groupings. There are some promising expectations that the new democratically elected government will set new policies that are pro the civil society.
The new policies are expected to contain modified laws that regulate taxation and provide more support and facilities to NGOs’ operations. The old government economic policies seemed to be incredibly inefficient resulting into a deteriorated national economic performance. This government had also no hand on regulating the marketing ethics of operating NGOs. Its major concern was on prohibiting religiously oriented activities and banning NGOs participation in the political life. b. Economic Factors The slowdown in Egyptian national economy has impacted the role of the association.
This was reflected into low interest rates on savings and high interest charges on borrowings. The inflation rate continued to grow reducing the purchasing value of the Egyptian pound. The long-term prospects for the economy Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita and other economic indicators will depend on the policies and procedures adopted by the new elected government. c. Socio-cultural Factors The dominant religion in Egypt is Islam. The association is not discriminating against either religion or gender. The partnership with morkoseya church is an evidence to support this claim.
The role of women continues to grow largely and rapidly in the Egyptian society. They are becoming well educated, highly paid, and having a self commitment toward volunteer work. The majority of people the association is targeting its services are illiterate. The general population lacks a solid awareness regarding green environmental issues. This is a very important role of the association in advocating for a green environment and promoting green activities. These include reducing consumption and disposal rates, saving energy, recycling disposed items…etc.
d. Technological Factors Technological innovations make life easier for all. The association utilizes as many of the technological facilities like wireless connections, fax, and international calls to carry out daily activities. The emphasis should be directed toward strengthening association’s technological infrastructure to be able to do business through online communication channels. There are strong promises regarding what the future can bring to the civil society in general and to the association in particular. This is manifested in several key points.
First: the majority of people are becoming motivated to volunteer work. Second: the increased public awareness of the importance of civic and collective actions in contrast to confining the role of the individual to achieve purely personal goals. Third: the strong promises and positive perception maintained by the majority of the poor toward the role of the civil society due to government failure to satisfy their needs. Forth: the diversity in working areas removes many of the restrictions imposed on the civilian work.
Fifth: the potential for cooperation from the new elected democratic government. Sixth: the potential for receiving huge inflows of international donors’ funds. Finally, the presence of many initiatives aimed at community and society renaissance that could be built upon. Conclusion and Recommendations Based on the previous systematic analyses, the following conclusions are reached. The selected association is one of an above medium size. It has several branches covering a range of governorates in Egypt.
In addition to that it has multiple international partnership agreements abroad with some countries like Kuwait and Dubai. It is innovative due to the creativity exercised by its members in proposing and launching new project initiatives given the limited financial and physical resources available to them. The diversity of its projects adds to its effectiveness by solving problems in multiple critical areas. Administratively, the association can be run more efficiently than its current status. The overhead costs can be controlled so that not to exceed 10% of the annual budget.
This can be achieved through cutting back on hospitality, renting, and utilities expenses or finding a sponsor company to offer them for free. The remainder of the budget should be entirely devoted to implementing key projects and programs. Once those two objectives are met – keeping O. H costs to the minimum and maximizing the pool of resources available to projects – the association can enhance its reliability and credibility as perceived by the various stakeholder groups. It has to overcome one of its critical weaknesses which is the deficient public media coverage.
Adopting innovative promotional campaigns, through media, flyers, and positive word of mouth, can bring in extra revenues, many volunteers individuals or corporations, government support, and a favorable public image. It has to integrate advanced sophisticated techniques to save institutional memory for the next generations. Applying digital archiving, video and audio recordings of important projects, seminars, and events, keeping records of association’s best practices are all effective methods to save memory beside the conventional paper-based archiving mechanism.
Web presence is very critical to the association. It is not well developed because the current website is down and the main gate to potential members is through the social media like the face book. Thus, developing a full featured website can provide good communication channels for the association both locally and internationally. The association has to allow potential members to register online. The composition of the board of directors needs some adjustments.
A combination of co-founders, highly prestigious figures, wealthy capitalists, experienced technocrats – given the fact that they are all politically and religiously unbiased – will allow the association to leverage each party’s privileges respectively. The reason is that co-founders are well informed about the association, its mission, vision, goals and have an intuitive inner commitment to achieve them. The highly prestigious, well known, famous, and rich members – who represent the status symbol – can bring in extra money through their special donations and strong contacts with bureaucrats.
The wealthy capitalists can have a win-win situation. On the one hand, they can enjoy public credibility and commitment toward social responsibility and on the other hand they will cash in the association to derive this legitimacy. Experienced technocrats can propose better structural reforms, manage operational complexities, and implement strategies to improve performance by capitalizing on strengths and overcoming weaknesses. The association is membership-based and it serves multiple interests. It channels members’ annual fees to implement projects serving members of the poor communities.
It also develops the skills and competencies of its members in return for their volunteer time, money, and efforts. The non-profit nature of the association should not hinder its attempts to implement profit-based projects. These projects are important to cover the high overhead cost, keep an emergency fund “ to hedge against bad economic conditions,” invest surplus in revenue earning initiatives, finance new developmental projects, and finally keep work flow smoothly while enjoying the tax exemption privilege.
Providing full fledged free support should be only restricted to severe cases. These include very poor, eldery, disable, and young sick children in highly marginalized areas. Otherwise, providing services should have something in return. For example, providing microfinance for poor families can be balanced against donating a certain percentage of periodical revenues to fund other projects. One more thing that should be emphasized specially after the revolution of January 25th is augmenting international funding options.
The association has to devise an effective strategy to share a large portion of international donor money coming into Egypt to support democracy. Only with a clear schedule of valuable projects, the association can guarantee international donors’ support without facing the threat of policy conditionality i. e. , imposing a certain development agenda on fund recipient as a condition to be granted the money. This can secure association’s activities financially, allow it to cover O. H costs, implement expansion plans, and better serve society’s compelling needs.
General recommendations to improve the civil society in Egypt; 1. The presence of a regulatory environment for transparency rather than for control. 2. Ensuring enough flexibility in law application and enforcement i. e. , the law versus the implementation issue. 3. Promoting an openness commitment to partnership between government and public institutions and the civil society. 4. Supporting a bottom-up approach to development from donors’ side. 5. Supporting the creation of institutions rather than only short or medium term programs to promote for sustainable development.
6. Mobilizing mechanisms to maximize the real value perceived by the beneficiaries from the donors’ dollars. Page (2011) mentioned that only 10 to 30 percent of this actual grant will go to the real beneficiaries. 7. Supporting the youth-led NGOs so that they can actually participate in leading the winds of change toward democracy in Egypt. P. S. for those interested in accessing the association for donations, or more research work, here are association’s contacts. Address