Starting and sustaining an NGO in Nigeria: 3 important things to consider

You can actually set up the next big NGO, and maybe win a Nobel prize for your wonderful contribution to the society. Isn’t that amazing? But wait! Before rehearsing your Nobel prize acceptance speech, have you given enough thought to the sine qua non of setting up and sustaining an NGO? No? It’s not too late. Let’s start with the basics.

A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), according to www.ngo.org, “is any non-profit, voluntary citizens’ group which is organized on a local, national or international level.” In Nigeria, they play important roles, often filling gaps which the government is unable to while complementing existing government activities. These organizations, small or large, work in the health, civil society and other sectors of society. Individuals and groups often set up NGOs with altruistic motives, with the intention of impacting positive societal change.

Having worked for an NGO for several years, I know that most people assume that starting and sustaining one is a laid-back affair. On the contrary, it is in fact as critical as starting up a for-profit business. It really does not matter if it is on a small-scale basis, or whether you have vast amounts of cash, there are key guides to consider. Here’s what you need to know.

Legal requirements

A lot of times, enthusiastic newbies fail to consider the legal requirements of embarking on such a venture. Someone wakes up, scribbles an interesting name for a proposed NGO, then proceeds to print branded T-shirts. That’s not bad for effort, but you need a more structured process. For proper legal status, your NGO must be registered with the relevant body; the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). Take ownership of the process, and as much as possible, avoid using a proxy. That way, you will be in possession of all necessary documents and minimize the chances of a disaster.

Now, you’ll need to establish the following:

  • The legal obligations it will be subject to.
  • Your goals and objectives.
  • The problems you intend to solve.

Equally important, you’ll need a lawyer during this process. Having a lawyer at your side will keep you updated on the rights and obligations of the registered NGO you’ll soon be running.

Acquiring and sustaining funds

When setting up an NGO, you must be very clear on the source and availability of funds. You can’t begin with the, ‘Well, I just started’ or ‘Let’s see how it goes’ attitude.

Having said that, let’s see if you can answer these questions:

  • Do I have funds for the activities I’d like my NGO to embark on?
  • Are there government or other organizations’ grants I can apply for?
  • Can the NGO sustain itself on a long-term basis?
  • Do I have an efficient structure?
  • What are my planned activities, and who will be responsible for each activity?

Run your NGO like you would run a business.

Look, I get it. The society seriously needs solutions and you’re revved up for the challenge. Your idea is the best, most unique and different one and you’re in line to becoming the next Mother Theresa. Listen though, other NGOs are profit-oriented and well, only focus on making profit. If you want your NGO to be around for a long time, you’ll need to integrate these profit-making elements to your operations:

  • Have a defined strategy for hiring, operations and other organizational processes.
  • Have a strong financial system.
  • Have a target audience? A robust marketing strategy will cater to them.
  • Have a marketing budget.
  • Decide on what strategy to apply. Person-to-person? Social media? Flyers and posters? Or a mix of different strategies?
  • How about record-keeping? Do you have a plan?
  • How often would you produce reports? Bi-monthly, quarterly or annually?

The above requirements are essential, especially if your NGO’s activities are grant-funded (which means you’ll have to submit regular reports to your handlers).  The sad reality is not everyone gets grants at the start, but proper record-keeping would prove very helpful should you decide to apply for funds in the future.

#MotherlandMoguls should know that NGOs are businesses too. Your profit is in the satisfaction of helping people in profound ways.

5 skills your new team needs right away

Team work at She Hive NYC

So, you’ve got a new team on your hands. As a savvy manager, you’ve studied your team and decided that they need to work on some new skills. But you’re having a tough time making a choice on which skills are the most useful to ensure your team operates smoothly. Don’t worry, we have your back.

Communication

The importance of communication cannot be overstated. You have a new team of people, some of whom may have never worked together before or have never worked with you. In this case, clear verbal communication is essential for success. Your team should be able to easily communicate within themselves and also with you as their manager. Then again, excellent communicating ensures effective meetings, respect towards others and little misunderstanding during team work.

Being open-minded

Your team is going to have to learn to be open-minded and be willing to listen to new and diverse points of view without jumping into conclusions. You can’t have one member talking over the rest of the team or shutting down other’s ideas. As a manager, you want your team to work together and be supportive of each other. For that to be achieved, it is essential that everyone is open-minded.

Problem solving

Each member of your team should be able to problem solve on their own. Poor problem solving can lead to failure of the team, and your brand in the larger picture. As a whole, your team should easily identify problems and come up with different solutions. They should be able to take the initiative with coming up with new ideas. If they are having difficulties making a decision, they should know to notify you.

Management and organisation

Any efficient team knows the basics of project management. They know how to plan, manage tasks and schedule their time. It shouldn’t be the responsibility of just one person to ensure meeting and team goals are set. The whole team should possess management and organisational skills, this way everyone can remain focused on achieving tasks.

Questioning

Now this is an often overlooked skill, but it is extremely important for everyone. A good number of us are scared to ask questions, we don’t want to appear lacking especially in front of a new group of people. Your team will likely not be any different. Learning questioning skills encourages curiosity and knowledge seeking.

If you’re working with a team where roles need to be divided, consider having a rotation so this way your team’s skill sets are continuously growing and expanding.

Have you managed a new team recently? What skills did you encourage them to learn? Please let us know your answers by leaving a comment below.

3 subtle ways to increase your daily productivity

wocintech daily productivity

Daily productivity can sometimes feel so elusive. We all the many goals we would like to achieve each day. We easily make our to-do lists and set reminders then distractions get in the way. By the end of the day, we’re left feeling like we could have achieved more, and wishing that there were more than 24 hours in a day.

I’ve faced the same challenge. But with a few adjustments to my daily routine, I have been able to cope better. Here are three subtle changes that really help with increasing your daily productivity when you add them to your routine.

Choose your outfits the day before

If you’re going to work or attending a meeting tomorrow, you need to select everything you’re going to wear today. When I say everything, I mean everything. From your underwear to the mascara you’ll be using, to the shoes that will match your outfit and the jewelry you’ll wear. I have been a victim of casually deciding on outfits to wear…only to discover in the morning that the outfit needed a camisole, and then discovering that I could find said camisole. Everything got frantic from then on. I sent clothes flying in the air while muttering prayers and curses concurrently.

Do you know how much time you would save each morning by just planning ahead? If you’re able to do this effectively, you would have some time left over to jot down your thoughts or create a to-do list for the day. Trust me, you would start the day all calm, composed and dignified. This will be a huge boost to your daily productivity.

The woman rushing around in search of a missing earring while hopping on one foot as she tries to locate a second shoe only looks cute in romantic comedies. In real life, it’s just a mess and brings about unnecessary stress which you do not need.

Journaling for side-hustle success

You know that spare time you have at work to complain about Nigeria, your boss or whose turn it is to buy the office provisions? Or those times you waste daydreaming about a much needed exotic vacation (when you’ve actually exhausted your vacation days)? What about those other times you wished you had more time during the day to take note of your creative ideas?

It’s time to start using your spare time wisely. Get creative and write in a journal.

As a writer with a 9-5 job, I carry a journal with me everywhere. In it I write down random thoughts which eventually become poems, stories or essays. But journals aren’t only for writers. Everyone can benefit from a journal. It’s a place where you jot down the random ideas you have throughout the day, and which you can review when you have some down time. You’ll be surprised at the end of the day how many ideas you’ve come up with. Journaling also reveals things about your psyche. What you write down randomly could reflect your state of mind and highlight areas in your life which you might need to improve on. This will take you one step closer to achieving your desired goals.

If carrying a journal can’t fit into your designer bag, use your phone to capture your thoughts. Do whatever is convenient for you, just make sure your thoughts don’t fade away.

You are what you read: The social media feed conundrum

This, for me, is one of the most important things towards subtly increasing your daily productivity. So, you complain about not getting enough information about your areas of interest. Yet your social media feeds are only for entertainment, gossip and videos of cats playing pianos. Can you see the problem here?

Social media is a very useful tool for absorbing information in our digital age. Whether we like it or not, we need to consciously moderate our feeds to reflect our interests and aspirations. Let’s face it, I enjoy a good meme. Who doesn’t?! I spent hours on the internet last year laughing out loud to funny pictures inspired by Drake’s “Hotline Bling” video. However when I began to write, I started to follow blogs and forums which reflected my interests. I signed up to Reader’s digest, Writer’s digest, Grammarly, The Sparkle Writer’s Hub, The Reading Room, Writing Tips and of course, She Leads Africa for daily inspiration and motivation.

Think about the amount of time you spend on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media daily. Is it a normal part of your day to idly scroll through your feed? You should try to make this activity as intellectually stimulating as you can.

If you can’t let go of your social media pastimes, consider multitasking to increase your daily productivity. If, for instance, say you usually spend your lunch break playing Candy Crush on your phone whilst eating. You could use that time to browse the internet for topics related to your areas of interest instead.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s definitely a starting point to increasing your productivity as a #MotherlandMogul!

8 free business apps you should download right now

She Hive Lagos Participant on Email

We’re not going to point any fingers but some of you are addicted to your phones. Not in a cutesy ‘I just like to capture moments type of way’, but in an ‘if I don’t find network right now I will slap someone’ kind of way. 

It’s not our place to judge but that type of addiction might demonstrate your priorities aren’t straight. If you’re spending more time on your phone chatting and double tapping instead of getting work done, you might soon run out of money to pay for that data bill. Don’t fret —after all that doom and gloom you know your home girls at SLA have come to hook you up. 

What if you didn’t have to choose between work and play on your phone. What if there were these magical tools that could help you track your sales while you take your selfies?

That magical tool would obviously be two heads, and unfortunately for African parents across the world, we haven’t figured that one out yet. All we’ve done is find some cool mobile applications you can download right now to make it easier to get your work done while you’re on the go, looking for network signal.

1.Track My Life

Ever wondered how much time you spend watching makeup tutorials on YouTube? Track My Life can help you figure out how you’re spending your time. However, it won’t be able to stop you from clicking the next video.

This app can help you figure out which activities are taking up the majority of your time and if those aren’t high value tasks or helping you bring in more revenue, then they’ve got to go!

2. CamCard

Did you lose the business card you got from potential bae while you were “networking”? With Camcard you can manage and exchange business cards right from your phone.

Once you get a card, you scan details and they are stored directly in your phone. If you did mean to lose that card, what excuse are you going to use now? Your dog chewed it up?

3.Booksy Biz

Picture this, your side hustle as a makeup artist is starting to pick up, you’re getting booked every other weekend and it’s getting harder to keep track of your new clients. This is not the time for you to forget about appointments and lose the goodwill you’ve built up.

Booksy Bizz is a mobile appointment calendar and scheduling app that can help you manage staff, communicate with customers and manage appointments. This app will make it seem like you have a personal assistant working 24/7 when it’s actually just you in your pajamas, eating ice cream. 

4.QuickBooks Online

Keeping track of expenses is the worst!! Who even has time for receipts? says the person who doesn’t want their business running out of money. If you want to build a long term and financially sustainable business then you have to keep track of the numbers.

QuickBooks let’s you invoice clients and manage your expenses. Now you’ll have no more excuses figuring out where your money went.

5.Perch Small Business

Thanks to Perch Small Business you don’t need to reserve your Instagram stalking your friends and ex boyfriend’s new fiancée. You can now extend those skills to your competitors and their social media movements and know exactly what they’re up to.

Use Perch to get a bird’s eye view of reviews, social posts and promotion for you and your competition all in one place.

6. Tiny Scanner

Why is it that every single business transaction in Africa requires tons and tons of paperwork? I feel like the next time I go to KFC they’re going to ask for 2 passport pictures and a signed affidavit. If you’re in an industry that requires a lot of paperwork, then having access to your files in an organized manner is necessary.

Tiny Scanner let’s you scan your documents and save them on your mobile device, iPad, or tablet anywhere you go. 

7. HootSuite

It’s great that Instagram allows to switch between multiple accounts, but what about the wahala in switching between multiple social media platforms and keeping track of them?

Hootsuite allows you to manage multiple networks, schedule posts, and engage your audience all in one place.

8. Wunderlist

Few things can compare to the relief you feel after checking off something on your to do list. This app will keep your business in sync whether you are managing multiple projects, delegating assignments to co workers or just making sure you actually eat during lunch time one day this week.

Know any other cool apps that have helped you increase your productivity, keep your mind focused and helped your business grow? Share them with us.

7 habits to help you have a good day…everyday

Black Woman Yoga

Do you sometimes sluggishly drag yourself out of bed on a Monday morning? To stay on your A game, you have to cultivate certain habits to increase energy and productivity for the week ahead.

These seven habits are a sure fire way to give you the needed boost to start your day right.

1. Get enough sleep

Being able to wake up early in the morning has its perks, one of which is better control over your schedule for the day. If you can wake up early in the morning – awesome! If not, that is also okay. People have different sleep patterns and rhythms. Whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, the most important thing is that you find what time you are most productive at and invest your hours into that period of the day.

Image result for nicki minaj sleeping gifs

The trick however, is to either go to bed early so you can wake up earlier in the morning or go to bed late and wake up later in the day, but in accordance to your schedule for the day. Some of the benefits of getting adequate sleep include a strengthened immune system, improved focus and better mood.

Overall, you want to strive for that balance where you get enough sleep while being able to do your work when you function best.

2. Exercise

The benefits of exercising daily are innumerable. Exercise helps you fight diseases, increases your energy throughout the day and improves your mood by releasing the hormone serotonin. Biologically speaking, here is how this logic works: exercise increases your heart rate, which functions to pump oxygenated blood to your tissues and organs. A few side effect include an increased brain function and focus as well as an increased oxygen flow to the muscles providing adequate energy to do work.

Image result for nicki minaj eating gifs

Having trouble sleeping at night? Get some aerobic exercises in before bed, then thank me later. However, don’t feel you have to go overboard when exercising. A 10 minute jog, a walk, or any cardio workout will do. The key is to go slow and steady at first, then increasing the tempo over time until it becomes a habit. For starters, just grandma-shuffling through any of these also counts as exercise, as long as it gets your heart racing.

3. Pray or meditate

Prayer and meditation are a form of alternative therapy. Prayer has been in existence since the beginning of time and there is increasing evidence from decades of scientific studies that it works! Irrespective of your religion, the efficacy of prayer and meditation undoubtedly supersede the effectiveness of medications, especially when dealing with ailments of the body and mind like depression or anxiety.

Image result for nikky minaj praying gifs

Harvard physician Herbert Benson in his book The relaxation response discusses the correlation between health and prayer. At such times, the body’s stress level decreases from the lowering of the heart rate and the body’s metabolism to decreased blood pressure and a calmer and more regular breathing rate.

On a similar note, Dr. Andrew Newberg, director of the Center for Spirituality and the Mind at the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study of Tibetan Buddhists in meditation and Franciscan nuns in prayer where he found that prayer and meditation increase levels of the body’s “happy” hormone, dopamine. The goal is to set time aside in quietness, withdrawn from distractions to just focus on yourself and connect with a spiritual being.

4. Eat breakfast

Breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day. Just as cars need fuel, breakfast also plays a similar role in helping increase alertness throughout the day.

Image result for nicki minaj eating gifs

Without breakfast, people may become irritable, lack energy or focus.

5. Drink warm water and lemon

If you’re unable to eat breakfast, gulping down a cup of water and lemon before dashing out can help you get a head start on a productive day. The warmth of the water aids in digestion and the lemon provides the body with Vitamin C, which gives the immune system an added boost,  balances the body pH and clears the skin of blemishes.

So if you’re not able to have breakfast, this is a surefire way to re-hydrate and energize you before your next meal. Just don’t swallow the lemon!

6. Affirm yourself

Look in the mirror and smile at yourself for about 15 to 30 seconds. Yes, I know it sounds silly, but try it. Alternatively, if you feel embarrassed doing that, look in the mirror and speak to yourself words of affirmation like:

“I am beautiful”

“Today is going to be a great day’

‘I am an amazing individual”

“I have what it takes to succeed”.

Image result for nikky minaj praying gifs

Whatever mantra you choose to chant to yourself is guaranteed to not only boost your self-esteem, but also give you confidence throughout the day and help you overcome challenges as they come by. Words have power and can influence your mood. Choose them carefully.

7. Make a list of your top three goals

Make a list of the top three goals you intend to achieve for the day. You may have a long list of tasks that you plan to achieve, but worrying over those will get you nowhere. Narrowing down this list to three major goals will help you organize your day better, stay focused and get the most important off your list.

Habits take a while to form and require repetition. But these rituals are guaranteed to help you reach those goals no matter how difficult they may seem at first.

From our founder’s mouth to your ears: 3 tips to light fire under your behind

increase productivity she leads africa

Earlier, I wrote about how the devil was trying to drag me down with this curse they call inefficiency and being unproductive. As promised, I’m sharing three tricks I have used to get myself back on track.

1. To-do lists are wishlists if you don’t have deadlines

We all love to-do lists and know how important they are for keeping us on track. Most importantly, you get to buy a cute notebook to put them in. However, there’s a catch – for a to-do list to be effective, each task needs a deadline.

Beyonce countdown

Deadlines are key. They help you prioritise. Tasks that have an earlier deadline should obviously be completed first. Writing that deadline in ink forces you to acknowledge this.

This strategy is particularly effective in making sure you get through all those boring tasks that you don’t want to do and end up putting off for weeks.

Deadlines create a sense of urgency which is exactly what you need when you move from a corporate setting to running your startup.

Anyone who has made this transition knows that the first thing you’ll notice is all the freedom you have. Mmm…doesn’t that air smell sweet?

#MotherlandMogul Tip: Unfortunately, freedom is a double-edged sword. The freedom to do whatever you want includes the freedom to wake up late, stay in your pajamas all day and generally chill a little too hard. Having firm and clear deadlines will help you avoid getting too relaxed and comfortable.

2. Delegation is the wurrrd

Being productive requires energy. Having energy requires a fresh mind. There’s a little something known as Decision Fatigue. This is one of those psychological terms that you NEED to know about.

In simple terms, decision fatigue refers to the idea that people make poor decisions after they’ve made a long series of decisions. Your ability to make good decisions is a lot like your willpower to say no to a tray of freshly baked cookies or fried puff-puff – it’s not an infinite resource.

This is why leaders like Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg wear the same thing every day. They don’t want to waste precious decision making juice on something as non-essential as their daily outfit.

Mark Zuckerberg SNL

What does this mean for you and your productivity? It means that to stay productive and get stuff done, you need to minimise the amount of decisions you make. This is where delegation comes in.

If there’s something that someone else on your team can do – hand it over, step away and let Jesus take the wheel. (Okay, that’s a bit of a joke. You still need to provide oversight – abi the Big Man only helps those who help themselves).

#MotherlandMogul Tip: Delegation allows you to free up all your juice for the stuff that really matters and focus on getting that done vs. doing a bunch of busy work, and then making yourself too tired to do the important stuff.

3. Find an accountability overlord

The problem with working for yourself is that you are only accountable to yourself. We’re human beings so it is natural to be a little too nice to yourself. Missed that deadline – girl you had bad cramps, it’s aiight!

Rescheduled that business development call – you’d already had two calls that day, you don tire sef! Missed your targets – um, if you don’t acknowledge it, it never happened, duh!

You need to find someone who is going to keep you accountable, and unfortunately your co-founder or partner is not good enough, sorry. Afua and I tried this out but found that it didn’t work.

An accountability overlord requires an element of shame. We know each other too well to be embarrassed if either of us dulls.

Obama Can I Live

Our accountability overlord is called Jan. He’s an Africa-focused investor and used to be my older sister’s friend until I stole him. We have check in calls with him once every 3 weeks.

On those calls, we have a brief chat about what we’ve done over the last 3 weeks and compare it to what we said we would do in our last call. He also pushes us to make sure that all of the activities we’re doing are actually necessary and not just “busy work.”

Because Afua and I have a modicum of shame, neither of us likes to look like dullards on those calls so we make sure we get our work done. The 3 week cycle is long enough to actually run the business but not too long as to allow us to hide from our responsibilities.

For those of you who have investors or a board, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem – you’ve got enough hawks watching your back.

So there you have it. Three simple tricks to force yourself into becoming a productivity beast.

Less stress, more VIM: 5 daily activities for a healthier life

Studies show that African women are the most enterprising and hardworking people on the planet. While we fully embrace this title as Motherland Moguls, we know this work takes its toll. While some pressure can increase productivity, sustained emotional and mental strain causes stress, which distracts us and makes us sick.

It’s time for professional African women to take self-care seriously! These five activities are time tested to keep the blues and pain away.

It’s time for professional African women to take self-care seriously.

1. SweatAunt Vivian - Fresh Prince of Bel Air

There’s more to working out than getting a ‘bikini bod’. Exercise has been proven to stimulate the release of endorphins —that good stuff that makes you happy. Some people find long-distance running cathartic while others feel empowered with strength training.

From kickboxing, to dancing, to tennis, physical activity is a great way to release tension and increase self-confidence. No wonder Queen B. is always happy!

2. Set GoalsKermit typewriter

Goal setting  is a proven way to reduce stress. Spend ten minutes reflecting and writing your goals each day. When you know where you are going, you are less likely to stress the small.

Think about your goals – short and long-term. Evaluate your actions towards your goals and celebrate small and big wins often!

3. Control your thoughts and perspectiveShakira Meditation

Meditation is a great way to train the brain. Many people falsely believe that meditation means sitting still. Any activity that allows you slow down and take stock of  life, events, and people is meditative.

Try this five minute meditation technique called The Heart of the Rose; it will also increase your concentration.

4. SmileVeronica Bozeman

You know those annoyingly positive people who say “Turn that frown upside down” when you are upset? Well, sorry to break it you, but it turns out they are actually on to something.

According to studies, smiling reduces stress levels. When we get stressed our hearts beat faster; simply can reduce heart rate and calm us down.

5. Be your own cheerleaderGabrille Union - Bring It On

The journey to lead the pack is tough. At times, there will be no one to cheer you on. But do not lose hope or give up.   Knowing the power of a hopeful spirit, we share a positive mantra with you each morning.

You can also create your own. Remember, to keep your mantra truth; that you are strong, resilient, and powerful.

So Motherland Moguls, which of these activities do you already do and how do they help? Which acts of self-care do you want to implement this new year?