Identifying the good NGOs - The Honest Truth By Ajit Dayal
Investing in India - Honest Truth by Ajit Dayal
Identifying the good NGOs A  A  A
10 OCTOBER 2013

There are NGOs and there are NGOs.

If it is true that India has an estimated 3 million NGOs, this would suggest there is 1 NGO for every 80 families in the country. Assuming that 50% of these families need help of some kind, this would mean that every NGO services about 40 families. With at least 5 working days in a week and with dedicated staff and an army of volunteers, one would assume that most of India's problems should be on their way to being solved.

The reality, though, is very different. Most of these NGOs are allegedly bogus, zero-person entities created to route money for politicians and bureaucrats - and their relatives. The founders of many NGOs seem to share the same DNA structure as many of those in the financial services industry: The people who are supposed to help others end up getting the fat checks, leaving their customers and supposed beneficiaries to rot.

But there are some good financial service entities who actually work for the benefit of their clients in a fair, transparent, and honest manner. You may consider this as a disclaimer, a boast, or as a statement of fact: we helped start 3 of them,, and

Similarly, there must be some good NGOs run by good people doing great work. And who need more resources to grow. The resources could be money, time, or materials. We decided to help these good NGOs get bigger - and better.

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A journey begins
In 1990 we started what was India's first institutional-style equity research house. Pradeep Mahtani, who helped in that journey and then went on to work with some of the larger foreign and local broking firms as a research analyst, is leading the effort at

The focus at is:

  1. To allow individual donors to identify those NGOs that are doing good work and support them with money, time, or materials;

  2. To equip the various companies who will, under the revised Companies Act, have to donate 2% of their annual profits for social causes. It is important that this estimated Rs 10,000 crore of annual flows be used wisely and not end up as another source of slush money for the well-connected and bad-intentioned, fake NGOs;

  3. To provide those NGOs who wish to improve with the knowledge and the tools on how to be better NGOs through training programmes. The video clips of these training programmes will be available on the web site for anyone to view for free.
Looking back at our careers in the dirty, corrupt, and messy field of finance Rahul, Subbu and I - ably supported by all our colleagues who chose the more difficult path of taking a journey with us - have built 3 alternative platforms for investors.

And now we have a platform to challenge the questionable NGOs and help improve the abilities and the capacity to do better for the well-meaning NGOs, of which there are many.

So, as Diwali approaches and you wish to share the joy with the less fortunate, I hope you will:

  1. encourage the NGOs you support to list their information on the website, and

  2. use the engine to select those NGOs you wish to donate your money to.

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Disclaimer: The Honest Truth is authored by Ajit Dayal. Ajit is a Director at Quantum Advisors Pvt. Ltd and Quantum Asset Management Company Pvt. Ltd. The views mentioned above are of the author only. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and has not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author, Equitymaster, Quantum AMC and Quantum Advisors do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. Please read the detailed Terms of Use of the web site. To write to Ajit, please click here.

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4 Responses to "Identifying the good NGOs"

hena sami

Jun 7, 2015

I am working with help india foundation new delhi.can u tel me its fake or not?



Oct 15, 2013

Hi - I visited the site in an effort to cross check whether my favorite NGOs figure in this list of good NGOs or not. To my surprise neither is listed here ... PETA and Greenpeace. You might say I should add those NGOs here ... but I really wanted YOUR or some expert's assessment on whether these NGOs are good. Can you help?


Anil Kumar

Oct 15, 2013

Going through the site I realised that Mr Ajit Dayal and the HelpYourNGO team have just initiated a small revolution here. What you're doing Sir, is making up for the huge gaping hole that we have in our Governance.

This is indeed wonderful.


VS Gurumani

Oct 11, 2013

Every once in a while, one reads about a great idea and ask, "Now, why didn't I think of that myself?" As a person who has spent considerable time in the NGO world (and completely agree with all that Ajit Dayal has said in this email), this is my moment too. Congratulations and best wishes on this journey! Count on me to volunteer my time in any which way I can to make this a success...

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