Creating Sustainable Charities: How to know when to exit

Hanna Stoner May 23, 2019

International charities often measure their success with numbers such as how many children are able to attend school, or how many people now have access to food. While these quantitative measures are useful, often charities jump from project to project using these past numbers as justification for moving onto the next project. This creates a cycle of charities asking for funding, doing the work they needed the funding for, then using the completed work to justify the need for future projects. This cycle is inevitable to an extent in most charities. Charities need to use past projects to show that their organization is legitimate and that they are actually putting the funding towards charitable projects. It is important for charities to take a step back and consider what their ultimate goal is, and if these smaller projects are actually helping them achieve their goal or if it is just a cycle of trying to obtain more funding. Considering the need that charities have for their supporters and donations it is challenging to find this balance...

Redundancy is an issue in charitable work, there are so many charitable organizations at this point that have plans to exist indefinitely. For charities to truly achieve their goals they should not exist indefinitely, they should be able to reach their goal and then leave the area. To reach the point where the community is able to sustain the changes and carry out the work on their own is a better goal for charities. Instead of continuing the cycle of small projects that appear to be impressive so that the organization can obtain more funding, charities can focus on a larger project that actually will accomplish the long-term goal. Once accomplishing this goal the charity can lessen their involvement and just become a supporter for the cause. This is a much better allocation of resources, since then the community can work towards the goal which empowers local people.

At Enhance a Village we are working to alleviate poverty in the Philippines. We are working with a small village, Kuyaoyao to help implement sustainable farming techniques. We are doing this by laying the foundation to help local people help themselves. We recognize that the best way to truly help these people is to give them the tools and educational foundation to use these tools in the way best fit for their needs. Essentially, we are trying to address the root problem instead of just symptoms. Enhance a Village recognizes that the way to be an effective charity is to implement sustainable practices that can be used by local people after we are no longer directly involved. Instead of planning to be permanently in Kuyaoyao we are shifting resources and knowledge from Enhance a Village to the people of Kuyaoyao. The projects we undertake are truly sustainable in the sense that one day the people in Kuyaoyao will be able to continue the projects with minimal outside support. Currently we are working to achieve three objectives, clean water, food security and education through a library to ensure a self-sustaining community capable of educating their children and bringing their community out of poverty. If you would like to be a part of our efforts please consider volunteering or making a donation.