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“We can play a part in transforming society by partnering with non-profit organizations. OPMC model is designed to help them plan and present their programs in an effective manner.”

The Fu Tak Iam Foundation board of trustees comprises family and non-family members. We all serve as volunteers. As a trustee, I sincerely hope that we can play a part in transforming society by partnering with non-profit organizations (“NPO’s).

 

We approve about one-third of all applications. I note that most NPO’s are knowledgeable about what they want to do and how to go about doing it. But a significant number of them can spend more time thinking through the results they desire to achieve and how to measure them. Outside the Foundation, I use a simple tool (called “OPMC”) to help NPO’s to plan their programs. The tool is distilled from the management processes of two highly respected Fortune 500 companies.
 

Objective (“O”)

A NPO wants to use web-cameras to start ex-mental patients and their families talking to each other. The program involves the purchase of webcam equipment and hiring of staff to coordinate with the parties. What is the Objective of their program?
 

It has been useful for me to ask “why”. For example, I may initially define the Objective to be the purchase of webcams, the hiring and the setting up of a webcam conferencing centre. In answering the “why”, I may say “to get the families to talk to the ex-patients”. In response to a follow-up “why”, I may say “to make it easier to talk through a webcam than face-to-face”. Finally I’ll be able to answer correctly that the ultimate Objective is to help rehabilitated mental patients to reunite with their families.
 

Defining the Objective properly will help the NPO to formulate their Action Plan with a heightened focus.
 

Plans (“P”)

This is the Action Plan. In the example above, it would include the number of ex-patients targeted yearly, the number of families to be visited, equipment purchase (how many and how much), how they are to be used, the number of co-ordinators, setting up of a conference room etc.
 

The Action Plan must align with the Objective. Questions will come to mind and the answers will facilitate proper planning. How do we help the families to overcoming the likely awkwardness if they are meeting for the first time on camera? We then think of the need for a social worker who is experienced in moderating. What about follow-ups? Family counselling? Hire a social worker with counselling experience or outsource the service? What about family workshops?
 

Measurements Of Success (“M”)

Defining Measurements of Success, Program Outcome or KPI’s (“Key Performance Indicators”) is a discipline in planning. Otherwise, how do I know that my program will achieve the desired results? This is the most challenging area for NPO’s.
 

Is the frequency of using the webcam equipment a measurement? The number of families to be visited by social workers? What about the number of families who agree to counselling? I would submit that they are not. They are part of the Action Plan or output.
 

One measurement is the number of families who agree to accept the ex-patients back at home after using the service or meet regularly with the ex-patients. Another measurement is a satisfactory index of the service gauged periodically from a baseline survey.
 

I do recognise that there are strategic programs the success of which is hard to measure. I recognise also that in some cases, there is only a co-relation between the Plan and the desired results. We have approved funding for such programs.
 

Measurements of Success helps greatly in resource allocation in that the “must do’s” and “nice-to-do’s” will be clearly identified.
 

Most donors require NPO’s to report on the progress of their programs post funding. Tracking the Measurements is an effective way to communicate with the donors. It is also very helpful in internal communication with the team involved in executing the Action Plan. Meeting or exceeding such Measurements is a reason to celebrate success. Not meeting them is a good trigger for lessons-learned reviews.
 

Critical Success Factors (“C”)

It is obvious that proper electronic equipment is critical to the success of the above program. What about requiring an experienced social worker to be present during the webcam conference? What about a post-conference discussion with the ex-patient and his family to encourage and guide them? These are Critical Success Factors.


Such factors again help a NPO to focus on where the efforts should be put. They also identify weak links in their program.


Other tools

The OPMC is only a tool and there are other tools which are equally helpful. Our Foundation’s application form is also a good tool to help NPO’s to plan their programs. I would encourage NPO’s to use each section to think through their programs. If they are stuck in any section, dig deep into them to see if anything is missing. It is designed to help NPO’s to plan and present their programs in an effective manner. 
 

Give beyond funding

I would appeal to other foundations and donors to be patient with the applying NPO’s. Their skill set does not normally include writing a moving application or presentation. Nevertheless, the people are just as knowledgeable and passionate to serve. Invest time in meeting with them and help them by asking the relevant questions. They may already have the answers which are not evident in their presentations. But do not colonialize their programs. We are not the owners………… they are.
 

Rick Tang Trustee of Fu Tak Iam Foundation
 

The Fu Tak Iam Foundation board of trustees comprises family and non-family members. We all serve as volunteers. As a trustee, I sincerely hope that we can play a part in transforming society by partnering with non-profit organizations (“NPO’s).

 

We approve about one-third of all applications. I note that most NPO’s are knowledgeable about what they want to do and how to go about doing it. But a significant number of them can spend more time thinking through the results they desire to achieve and how to measure them. Outside the Foundation, I use a simple tool (called “OPMC”) to help NPO’s to plan their programs. The tool is distilled from the management processes of two highly respected Fortune 500 companies.
 

Objective (“O”)

A NPO wants to use web-cameras to start ex-mental patients and their families talking to each other. The program involves the purchase of webcam equipment and hiring of staff to coordinate with the parties. What is the Objective of their program?
 

It has been useful for me to ask “why”. For example, I may initially define the Objective to be the purchase of webcams, the hiring and the setting up of a webcam conferencing centre. In answering the “why”, I may say “to get the families to talk to the ex-patients”. In response to a follow-up “why”, I may say “to make it easier to talk through a webcam than face-to-face”. Finally I’ll be able to answer correctly that the ultimate Objective is to help rehabilitated mental patients to reunite with their families.
 

Defining the Objective properly will help the NPO to formulate their Action Plan with a heightened focus.
 

Plans (“P”)

This is the Action Plan. In the example above, it would include the number of ex-patients targeted yearly, the number of families to be visited, equipment purchase (how many and how much), how they are to be used, the number of co-ordinators, setting up of a conference room etc.
 

The Action Plan must align with the Objective. Questions will come to mind and the answers will facilitate proper planning. How do we help the families to overcoming the likely awkwardness if they are meeting for the first time on camera? We then think of the need for a social worker who is experienced in moderating. What about follow-ups? Family counselling? Hire a social worker with counselling experience or outsource the service? What about family workshops?
 

Measurements Of Success (“M”)

Defining Measurements of Success, Program Outcome or KPI’s (“Key Performance Indicators”) is a discipline in planning. Otherwise, how do I know that my program will achieve the desired results? This is the most challenging area for NPO’s.
 

Is the frequency of using the webcam equipment a measurement? The number of families to be visited by social workers? What about the number of families who agree to counselling? I would submit that they are not. They are part of the Action Plan or output.
 

One measurement is the number of families who agree to accept the ex-patients back at home after using the service or meet regularly with the ex-patients. Another measurement is a satisfactory index of the service gauged periodically from a baseline survey.
 

I do recognise that there are strategic programs the success of which is hard to measure. I recognise also that in some cases, there is only a co-relation between the Plan and the desired results. We have approved funding for such programs.
 

Measurements of Success helps greatly in resource allocation in that the “must do’s” and “nice-to-do’s” will be clearly identified.
 

Most donors require NPO’s to report on the progress of their programs post funding. Tracking the Measurements is an effective way to communicate with the donors. It is also very helpful in internal communication with the team involved in executing the Action Plan. Meeting or exceeding such Measurements is a reason to celebrate success. Not meeting them is a good trigger for lessons-learned reviews.
 

Critical Success Factors (“C”)

It is obvious that proper electronic equipment is critical to the success of the above program. What about requiring an experienced social worker to be present during the webcam conference? What about a post-conference discussion with the ex-patient and his family to encourage and guide them? These are Critical Success Factors.


Such factors again help a NPO to focus on where the efforts should be put. They also identify weak links in their program.


Other tools

The OPMC is only a tool and there are other tools which are equally helpful. Our Foundation’s application form is also a good tool to help NPO’s to plan their programs. I would encourage NPO’s to use each section to think through their programs. If they are stuck in any section, dig deep into them to see if anything is missing. It is designed to help NPO’s to plan and present their programs in an effective manner. 
 

Give beyond funding

I would appeal to other foundations and donors to be patient with the applying NPO’s. Their skill set does not normally include writing a moving application or presentation. Nevertheless, the people are just as knowledgeable and passionate to serve. Invest time in meeting with them and help them by asking the relevant questions. They may already have the answers which are not evident in their presentations. But do not colonialize their programs. We are not the owners………… they are.
 

Rick Tang Trustee of Fu Tak Iam Foundation