Our Mynd

Project Management Competencies

Segment : Best Practices
Topic : Project Management for CSOs

Competency is defined as the ability of an individual to perform a job properly. Competency is the combination of knowledge, skills, and behavior used to improve performance; or, having the ability to perform a specific role. A competency model identifies the competencies needed to perform a specific role in a job, organization, or profession. Simply put, a competency model helps define what people need to know and do to be successful.

For instance, project management competencies might include systems, emotional intelligence, negotiation, analytical, and persuasion skills. A competent project manager needs to be able to analyze a situation within different contexts and create different action routes. Regardless of formal training, the competencies grow with experience and the degree of flexibility to learning and adapting.

A competency model usually has different levels as a way to identify potential areas of improvement; so that people can work on building the skills that they lack. A competency model also includes areas designed to group the different competencies into similar areas that can help identify the skills, behaviors, and knowledge required. Philandure Academy has developed a simple competency model that describes the competency areas and levels.

Competency Areas:

Technical: Knowledge of methods, metrics, tools, and techniques of Project Management Process Re-engineering.

  • Behavioral: Shows understanding, courtesy, tact, empathy, develops and maintains relationships, deals with difficult people, relates well to people from varied backgrounds, is sensitive to individual differences.

  • Managerial: Knowledge of the principles, methods, or tools for developing, scheduling, coordinating, and managing projects and resources, including monitoring and inspecting costs, work, and contractor performance.

  • Leadership: skills required to influence, motivate, and challenge others, including the ability to adapt leadership styles into a variety of situations.

  • Strategic: critical skills that enable project managers to link any given project to the strategy, goals, vision, and mission of their organization.

Competency Levels:

  • Novice: At this level, a person begins its career in project management, most of the work assigned is rule-based; it requires limited behavioral skills, and little or no flexibility to move from the norm. Typical role: Project Assistant

  • Apprentice: At this level, the person is building experience, guided by a mentor. Type of work is routine with small assignments and responsibilities. Typical role: Project Coordinator

  • Practitioner: At this level, the person can take on small projects with small risks performing along with defined expectations with long-term goals and plans. Typical role: Project Administrator

  • Knowledgeable: At this level, the person is able to manage larger and complex projects, can see the situation as a whole, and acts from personal conviction whenever there is a need to deviate from the norm. Typical role: Project Manager

  • Expert: At this level, the person has an intuitive understanding of the situation, has the ability to create new conditions to adapt to complex situations, manages multiple projects or programs ensuring that all are interrelated to generate the expected benefits. Typical role: Project Director

Each level is built on the previous level. As the levels go up, so does the competency areas needed. A Project Management Competency model is a powerful tool that can help development organizations to identify the critical skill set requirements, hire more highly qualified people, and create effective development plans that best meet the needs of the organization. The benefits translate into the ability to manage all projects more efficiently, increase project impact, improve effectiveness, and increase the rate of successful projects. The model enables organizations to:

Create job profiles that meet the requirements and help select the right resources for the project.

  • Assess individual skills and organizational needs to develop the required training goals

  • Customize capacity-building efforts to meet organizational needs and measure the effectiveness of training.

It is common for development organizations to think that project management is a skill and that it is just for project managers. The reality is that project management is an organizational competency. If the organizational strategy implies strategic changes, and those changes are executed as projects, project management must be an organizational capability rather than a job skill. If project management is an organizational competency, it is required to define a training program within the organization to develop everyone's project management knowledge and abilities.

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The INFLUENCER: A secret ingredient to drive Fun.Race.Sing ?

Segment : Experience Sharing
Topic : Crowdfunding

Written By : Nurul Atiqah Anuar, Philandure & Co.

A lay man would define Influencer, as a person who has the ability to influence or persuade others, that result an inclination for a decision making. Psychologically, it has proven that people are a lot more convinced to their like-minded, feel more comfortable and secure whenever they need to share or discuss something be it related to personal or professional.

Why does influencer marketing is becoming more popular in making a fundraising initiative a success?

Let me tell you, how it works in the ongoing campaign by MERCY Malaysia: COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund for Vulnerable Communities in Malaysia. Excited?

Firstly, the Common Values are the threshold.

Values here mean, those influencers who already been doing the same flavour and have a clear purpose which makes the campaign as an added value to them. Since they have been doing it, surely, it makes the next step easy, because the followers are readily made available and ready to embark 😊. It’s like waiting a shuttlecock from your “opponent”, and hit when the right time comes. The opponent here is referring to the existing followers who are not willing to let the shuttlecock drop and try as hard as possible to keep it in the game.

Secondly, the Engagement Frequency is extremely valuable.

Why do we need to pay the mainstream platform to reach wider audience if we can just access it for free; and the best part is, they are the TARGETED “customers”. Sounds so cheapskate, right? But actually, we are not! This is how things work nowadays. The technology has played a major role here and we are just using it in a good faith manner 😊. An influencer who makes video or do some sharing via written posting on social media, do attract readers globally (side note: provided that the content is superb, of course…hehe). Once a posting is made, surely one of these will happen: an action of Like, Comment, Share, Repost etc. So basically, the point that we want to make is the engagement is not just stop at one layer, but it spreads to multiple layers of conversation. Can you just IMAGINE that? That’s a ripple effect which makes it trending and viral. Eventually attract more audiences even they are not within our TARGETED parameter initially.

Third and finally, the Credibility to Convince.

We are not saying public is not confident to those who do social works/charity. However, it is always be the case whenever influencers get involve, somehow, that will give them a little relief to believe that this something genuine and the trading of the influencer reputation is being used now. An influencer is a public figure where people can easily trace or know if something unprecedented to happen. In their eyes, nothing would go wrong or at least minimal risk they would be able to take, since the influencer is there, because it would be absurd for such influencer to tarnish his or her reputation by not doing some due diligence, true?

Having said these, let’s not misunderstood, let alone to judge us. This is just (politically correct word) a “realistic strategy” to encourage more people to do good things, as the saying goes, alone we can do so little, together we can do so much, right?

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Transparency & Accountability in Managing Public Donations: Are we ready?

Segment : Philanthropy Hub - Episode 29 April 2020 | Discussion Summary
Topic :
Managing public donations, transparency and accountability do matter

Editor : Nurul Atiqah Anuar, Philandure & Co.


Appreciation to:

a) Pn Shahirah Ahmed Bazari, Trustee and Managing Director, Yayasan Hasanah

b) Ustaz Hakim Mohd Nor, Chairman, Serantau Muslim

c) En Amrul Hazarin Hamidon, Head, Islamic Social Finance Fundraising, MERCY Malaysia

Introduction

In professional practice, a high standard is to be in placed when dealing or managing the public monies. That would be an equivalent to a situation of a public companies/listed companies, where lots of compliance exercises have to be done.

However, the spirit of philanthropy works shall not be halted due to demanding regulations process and commitment. Understanding the real situation on ground, not everyone is everywhere. There is an urge to work together especially with local people as they understand better on the real issues and needs. People of the soil, to be exact.

The soul of this kind of work would very much relatable to the big WHY of the mission or intervention, and not to forget, it is being driven by passionate people. However, they may or may not be an expert for such compliance exercise. There is a huge limitation especially on human resources of a civil society organisation.

Locus of discussion: To understand the importance of transparency and accountability

  1. Many stakeholders are doing charity works / social initiatives however, there is a question of whether (to what extent) donations are being used to serve the purpose of mission and operational consideration.

  2. What is the acceptable variation of reporting standard for the program manager to deliver to different types of donor?

  3. To what extent the project executor has to be transparent and accountable? What is the limitation?

  4. How do we manage frustration of donors if the donation has been misused and any appropriate "compensation" available?

  5. Should there be a need of authority or system in place, to at least monitor the transaction of donation collection? Not to be stringent, but more to monitoring purposes.

What we have discussed?

Get the Governance Structure in place

  1. Transparency defines the range of information for the people to know.

  2. Having some basic requirements to establish i.e. the governance structure, audited practices so as to promote the culture in uplifting the transparency and accountability.

  3. Although the process might be daunting but it creates an open gate for more opportunities in getting more funds or grants from various background entities.

  4. Some civil society organisations especially those humanitarian non-profit organisations (NGO) are obliged to follow principles/codes established at international level. The existence of such code / standard, has made the organisation to gain trust and receive good reputation from the people.

  5. Any organisation or individual wishes to manage public donations must ensure to follow the correct step on how to do it. Get it right at first intervention.

Make the report done and verified

  1. Another way to increase transparency is by way of having internal and external independent auditor (and the report to be publicly made available).

  2. Disclosing operational and program cost percentage, help the donors to feel comfortable and trust that the donations are utilised for beneficiaries, at optimum level.

  3. Based on community of practice, a range of 25-30% would be an acceptable portion allocated for operational cost (if implementer organisation). However, it is observed that some of the organisations are trying to maintain between 10 -15%, of course without jeopardising the quality of the implementation process and ensure the targeted mission achieved.

Let’s build the capacity

  1. It is important for those working in development sector to have capacity building, because the responsibility is huge as they are holding the trust of the donors, regardless of the amount donated.

  2. The capability of the personnel is important as this can be regarded as a tool in promoting accountability as well. Less competent personnel may not be able to manage the funds diligently and the interest of donors may be in question.

  3. Ability of an organisation to be reliable, would be much depended on how it is being governed. One of the advantages once the reputation is good, it enables to attract professional/skilled talents who are willing to volunteer their expertise, for the social mission.

  4. In this social development sector, the trust is earned, it is not questioning the good intention, however, it is more to further develop the capacity of those who are managing the funds. This, making the ecosystem of the third sector to become strong.

I understand you, you understand me, it’s all about the communication

  1. A good communication standard is another tool to promote transparency and accountability between stakeholders. Producing interim/progress and final report, keeping the donors informed, and if there is any variation to the initial plan, any miscommunication or manipulation of facts can be mitigated.

  2. Accountability has been a common word but what is the actual meaning to it, has yet to be clearly understood by some people. A good report has to show the execution flow of a social development project (pre, during and post), including the phases involved and activities/milestones. A scheduled disbursement is used to ensure that the project is executed as per the plan, would help both parties, i.e. implementer be accountable to the commitment to deliver, and donors feel satisfied and engaged, in a social mission to help the beneficiaries.

  3. Transparency and accountability can be done at organic level, which means through a system that integrates one-to-one donor experience i.e. once donation is being made, a notification SMS sent to donors and later, the issuance of official letter confirmed the same, a monthly newsletter is available and a telegram channel is created to allow more engagement between the donors and the organisation. This approach is suitable depending on the scale of the organisation, donor database available and profiling of donor; in order to manage both parties’ expectations.

  4. Identifying the impact value via impact assessment helps to improve the transparency and accountability efforts. It allows the retention rate of donors to increase.

Philandure & Co. believes stakeholders' commitment and collective efforts are needed in order to make the third sector become stronger. Surely if the urgency to appreciate the importance of transparency and accountability happened one-sided only, the intended culture that we want to cultivate among the people will be quite challenging. However, the hope is still there. An establishment of a supervising/monitoring authority may help to improve on the efficiency and effectiveness of the social development sector, serving the needy in coordinated, sustainable and impactful ways. Understanding the context in Malaysia, we are quite optimistic on the future of the sector, which is currently developing and requiring support from relevant stakeholders. Various segments of people who want to do good, are welcomed for collaboration, provided that they are working towards improvement and thirst for knowledge.

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Donors, are you fatigued?

Segment: Philanthropy Hub - Episode 6 May 2020 | Discussion Summary

Topic: Donors, are you fatigued?

Editor: Nurul Atiqah Anuar, Philandure & Co.

Appreciation to:

  1. Mr Bambang Suherman

  • Head of Program and Network Development, Dompet Dhuafa

  • Head of Forum Zakat, Association of Zakat Management Organisation in Indonesia

2. Ms Ros Atiqah Fatin

3. Mr Syed Zainal Abidin Jamallulail

4. Ms Siti Aisyah Shahid

Introduction

When a disaster happens, the common reaction by civil society organisation (CSO) is to launch an emergency response and activate its humanitarian mission; concurrently, donation drives started to go live and fundraising efforts hit. Many ways to do fundraising, it can be via online and offline methods.

From experience, those CSOs which act fast, will usually obtain the donor’s crowd dominance and manage to get substantial collection. Provided that the said CSO's reputation and track records are good, there is no other reason for people to think twice before donating.

This situation however, somehow makes it a bit challenging for other CSOs which may have reacted behind the prime time, that cause similar segments of potential donors have donated earlier, maybe reluctant to do so again as the mission is serving the same purpose. Multiple requests for donation could lead to less excitement for donation, the fundraising performance graph to downtrend, as donor started to feel fatigue.

Locus of discussion: To understand the underlying situation and solution in managing donor fatigue

  1. What can the CSOs do to motivate the donors and hype up the fundraising campaign?

  2. Have the CSOs understood the actual needs and expectations from a donor's point of view?

  3. What is the importance of fundraising strategy? i.e. campaign influencer, collaboration

  4. Will the donor management system be used to analyse the donor profiling?

  5. What is the alternative income stream for CSOs to explore, to be self-sustaining?

  6. What is the communication strategy being used, in order to show the proven impact from the donation; in order to retain existing donors and attract potential donors?

What we have discussed: How to overcome Donor Fatigue?

Share with donors, WHY we are in this together

  • When dealing with human, it is always important to rationalise what is the aspiration behind in doing this kind of social mission. With this, CSOs could offer a good bargaining tool to gain trust from donors on how transparent, genuine, honest and serious we are about it.

  • Understanding human, they also get attracted and easily emotionally touched to watch inspirational and true stories. Primary media footage capturing is worth for consideration in communicating the real values of contribution by the donors.

  • Some donors may just turn off when they are not very well understood about the mission of the initiative or the CSOs.

  • Introduction about the organisation to the public at large who have yet to know the existence of the organisation would help to create awareness on its existence and establishing accountability.

Know your donors well

  • Study your donor’s portfolio as it will create biggest opportunities.

  • Identify donor variation, which can be traced from the transaction trend.

  • Profiling details that relevant for analysis purpose, may consist of i.e. donor’s segment: individual, corporate, collaboration, etc. or donor’s behaviour: one-off, seasonal, angel giver etc.

Use the technology!

  • Optimise the most effective communication tool with technology, moving offline to online medium can help to reach borderless audience. However, offline would still be relevant to those community members who may favour to contribute in a conventional way, and that is totally fine! #nooneleftbehind

  • Social media is a platform that CSOs must utilise to communicate and make a call-to-action for any social campaigns, as it offers good speed and reached.

  • Hold your horses! Social media that we are talking about here is not meant to be IT savvy competency. Gathering your donors/volunteers in one communication platform can be as easy as creating a WhatsApp or Telegram group; start small and it will grow big, most importantly the messages that you are conveying.

  • So here is the secret on 3Cs formula for an effective Social Media Communication (3Cs): Community (Who you do it for), Content (What you create / share), Conversation (How you engage).

Be creative with your content for campaigns and do it right

  • Optimise campaign tool - right communication will increase opportunity to the payment donation channels.

  • Transform the approach from analog to digital based contents; this structure can be of a reference: (a) Issue – To identify the issue, (b) Portfolio – To offer a beneficial testimony (c) Influencer – To increase virality.

  • Contents of the campaign must address the donor’s expectation, setting to retail model, including rationale and persuasive caption.

  • Embed video story or story writing techniques in presentation of the campaign.

  • Make sure to have content variation on social media, targeting specific segment of audience.

  • Prepare schedule to maintain consistency in creating awareness of the content.

Engagement with donors

  • Important to establish a consistent close relationship between donor, volunteers and CSOs.

  • Variation to CSOs media contents is very important to increase engagement, it can be further enhance by way of embedding inspirational, project’s or organisation’s picture (live updates), on field activities, article blogging, Facebook/Instagram Live etc.

  • Aim to give more information to the audience (donor/volunteers) and create more engagement, consequently improve the relationship between stakeholders.

  • Provide opportunity to donors on social media to participate in the Telegram channel, Facebook Group, register as volunteer and receive email/newsletter from the CSOs, would make them feel engaged and be part of the mission, not just an observing third party.

  • As for the CSOs, try to be different and avoid similar project objectives because this create confusion to donors and not knowing which organisation to choose for donation.

Some other interesting points worth to mention

  • Create a win-win-win situation, especially donors, to feel appreciated and understand that their contribution makes a difference to someone’s life.

  • Making a communication platform conveying acknowledgment to those dedicated volunteers and donors for the support, also encourage donors if they are interested to involve in the knowledge and experience sharing related to the social mission, which are tangible consideration that they can benefit from.

  • Eventually, through a good supportive network, it promotes in exploring good talents for social mission. They become our unpaid ambassador too!

  • While depending on one source of income flow is risky, try to find alternative i.e. social enterprise so that the CSOs can be self-sustained and not so badly affected if there is any change in donation collection.

Philandure Academy agrees that it is a challenging journey to maintain and keep every stakeholder steadfast with continuous support but it is actually worth and satisfying effort if the objective and impact of the campaign can be achieved and visible. Surely the fundraising activity that makes the ball rolling and it becomes the engine of every CSO to serve its beneficiaries; and without donors, the intervention may be limited. Also, a dynamic team consists of competent talents is crucial in making an effective fundraising strategy successful. In order to ensure the consistency of donation flow, the said team has to be creative and innovative, for the donors to be motivated and engaged.

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Social Enterprise; The Untold Side

Segment: Philanthropy Hub - Episode 13 May 2020

Topic: Social Enterprise; The Untold Side

Editor: Hasan Al-Akraa

Appreciation to:

1- Mr. Hisham Talib

General Director of Ra'e Ventures Sdn. Bhd

Co-founder of Kami-Kita Community

2- Ms Anja Juliah

Social Impact Director, Athena Holding

3- Miss Douaa

Co-founder, Tripolizen

Introduction:

Social Enterprise (SE) is not easy to manage, especially when balancing between sustaining the business and benefiting the community. There are many challenges and obstacles faced by SEs in general especially when it first starts. Just like any normal business, SEs have the same responsibilities, accountabilities, products, customers and economic growth. Except that SEs contribute to a social issue or a community through the profit earned in the business, and that’s why it’s called Social Enterprise. This webinar discusses some of the main challenges that are commonly faced by SEs, as well as some practical solutions that our speakers themselves have implemented in their businesses.

Focus of the discussion: To understand the challenges and solutions in operating and sustaining an SE.

  1. What are the main challenges faced by SEs ?

  2. What are some untold sides of having an SEs ?

  3. What are some solutions and practices to deal with those challenges ?

  4. What are some strategies to be followed to have a better engagement and market?

  5. What is the importance of having a clear goal, mission and vision ?

  6. What are the benefits of having a team in the SE?

Discussion Points:

  1. Importance of having a mentor

  • Getting help from a mentor is very beneficial to ourselves and to the business

  • Be open to receive advice from our mentor and take the team to learn from them

  • Having a mentor who has background knowledge about SE is highly crucial

  • Mentors are there to guide us, but it is up to us to follow the advises or not

  1. Importance of having a team

  • Having a team is very important to share the work and the tasks

  • It creates a supportive environment physically and mentally

  • Can always seek advice and help from team members

  • Ability to learn teamwork skills, leadership skills and others

  • Helps us to see ideas from other perspectives

  1. Networking and Partnerships

  • Increases our knowledge and understanding about other SEs

  • Opportunity to listen and learn from other SEs experiences

  • Opens a door to collaborations and benefiting from one another

  • More partners creates bigger impact

  • Meeting like-minded people and learn from them

  1. Facts and Story

  • Ensure to stay updated on current issues around the country and the world

  • Re-establish the story from time to time according to current changes and news

  • Use facts, logic and numbers to create a more reliable story

  • Use a research or a survey to increase the knowledge of the SE and the community

  1. Marketing and Branding

  • Work with vendors who have brand value

  • Indirect marketing through networking and partnership

  • Creating a value that caters to the needs of the customers and the community

  • Use social media platforms and technology more often as everything is online these days

  • Adapt to new world changes and development

  • Create a monitoring system on the business revenue and income

  • Research the issue and connect it with the marketing strategies

  1. Customers Engagement Plan

  • Update your customers from time to time on new products, achievements, goals, community projects and others.

  • Invite customers to be involved physically as volunteers or changemakers in the community.

  • Create profiles, reports and summaries of impact and social change that was possible through their purchases.

  • Provide actual facts and numbers about the social issue and the solutions.

  1. Self-reflection and belief

  • Believe in yourself and your idea no matter how many challenges you may face

  • Always talk to people and let your emotions out so that it doesn’t affect the business

  • Take a break from time to time to rethink your idea and reflect on your challenges

  • Be proud and celebrate the progress or the achievement that you make in the SE

  • Be open minded, considerate and thoughtful about the team, the customers and the community.

Philandure Academy sees challenges as opportunities to learn from and become better. Without challenges, no business will ever succeed including the multi-millionaires around the world. However, finding the right solutions and strategies to implement are crucial and can be challenging to find, but everything starts small and solutions usually come step by step following advice from mentors and experiences of other SEs as well as research and knowledge. We believe with good resources and having qualified mentors can help to empower the SEs in becoming more resilient and competitive. Also, it is important to be within the Community of Practice where you can connect, learn, unlearn, relearn, and collaborate.

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