Does Sustainability Matter?

The largest non-profit in the developing world, BRAC reaches more than 138 million people in African and Asia through its programmes that address poverty by providing $5 billion in micro-loans to over 8 million borrowers, creating 8.5 million self-employment opportunities and 88,000 community health, education, legal and human right services. It was founded in Bangladesh in 1972.

Her ventures into social enterprises and investing in businesses have significantly reduced BRAC’s reliance on donations, from 100% (of USD 0.78 million) in 1980 to 29% (of USD 495 million) in 2010.

Will BRAC be able to sustain herself without donations in the near future? Most likely I think.

The leading and most diversified Non-Governmental Organisation in Thailand, Population and Community Development Association (PDA) has 18 regional development centers and branch offices located across 15 provinces in rural Thailand. It pioneered sustainable grassroots endeavours, marked by extensive villager involvement as partners, planners, managers and leaders. It was founded in 1974 with the initial aim to complement the efforts of the Royal Thai Government in promoting family planning in Thailand.

Her ventures into 16 different businesses since 1975 has generated 70% of the needed financial resources to maintain PDA’s ongoing activities in leaner years and in years with adequate donor support, the funds are used mostly for equipment, real estate and other items. However PDA needs US$250,000 to create a social eco-system for each village to equip them with skills; a village development bank fund and is in constant need of one-time donations.


With a government that provides much of the required funding, Charity Council that ensures that non-profit organisations stay reputable and the residents of Singapore being so generous in donations, what more will non-profit organisations need to do?