We often get asked why Milaap is registered as a regular company (private limited) and not as an NGO/non-profit organization.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, in an equitable society, it’s important to strive for maximum for all instead of all for maximum. We have our own interpretation of that - when trying to create social impact, we believe that it is important to create some impact for as many people as possible, rather than all impact only for a small set of people.
When we were starting up Milaap and we studied the whole social sector, it really frustrated us when we saw so many NGOs doing great work but only reaching out to only a couple of hundred or thousand people even after many years of existence. We also saw that talent was always short in such organizations (primarily due to lack of capital to pay well) and they always had to depend on volunteers to do work. We also saw little use of the latest technologies to improve operations.
When we started out Milaap, we wanted to change all that. We wanted to make sure that we get talented people and get them to work full time on Milaap. We wanted to build the platform on the best technology available and most importantly, we wanted scale. As the three of us (founders) decided to put in the prime of our careers in to Milaap - we were clear about one thing, we will not sit back and be content by helping a couple of hundred or a couple of thousand people, but we will help hundred thousands of people, may be millions one day.
And to achieve all that, it was important that Milaap be structured as a regular company. By structuring as a regular company, we can raise capital, which can then be used to get the best people on board, use technology to cut down costs and focus on using capital in the most effective way. We do not need to be dependent on donations from people or grants from organizations. Also we saw NGOs spending way too much time in trying to raise money for their survival - whether it be in the form of writing grant applications or writing reports after receiving the grants. All that time, which could have been better spent in working for the poor!
Since we are structured as a company, we are also more accountable to shareholders and investors, and that only makes the organization more accountable as a whole. It also ensures that we use every penny in the most efficient way.
At the end of the day, the biggest question which any social organization should be asked is not whether they are an NGO or not, but whether they are creating large scale impact in a transparent, accountable and efficient way. As long as these three tenets are adhered to, we believe that’s all that matters.
Sourabh, Anoj & Mayukh
*P.S: This blog post is written by the founders of Milaap.