The Spastics Society of India was founded to provide services for children and families of children with the unknown neurological condition of cerebral palsy. Funding was based on the charity framework as no government support was then available for services. The primary driver of SSI/ADAPT for all these 45 years has and continues to be beneficiary-service based and not for profit. Our services are based on need, delivered in a holistic manner and not related in any way to any contributions by the beneficiary.
Four decades ago, the organization's financial management rested purely on a charity framework. All services were provided free or at no cost to all beneficiaries. The charity model was of prime importance in laying the foundations of a service non-existent in the country. The charity framework of operations depended on ad hoc donations, small-scale fundraising programmes and (for a few years) government grants. With the enormous growth of services and allied activities, it became a challenge to continue the charity of model of operations and financial sustainability became critical.
Thus, the critical issue for NGOs in the sector was to ensure a continuum of services and to make the service sustainable. It was of key importance to move from a charity framework to an entitlement-based one. Hence, the organization evolved its service delivery domain dynamically. On a parallel level, it had to evolve from a complete charity model towards a sustainable one, under the umbrella of a non-profit organization.
The project is strengthened through joint review efforts of ADAPT and HPCL annually and evaluated by external agencies periodically.
SSI/ADAPT has built up a reputation over the years of having successfully sustained its services for the last 45 years. In particular SSI has focused on sustaining services on principles of replicability within an economic framework within the Indian context. For example, SSI as an organization has set guidelines whereby each service component systemically generates at least 50% of its own funding needs for delivery of services, the remainder 50% being underwritten by SSI as the parent organization. This has involved various aspects including costing of services at the point of delivery, generation of benchmarks for per capita services, application of broad principles of ability to pay within a family/community/state responsibility framework. This is based on the broad philosophy of inclusion to bring within its resources all participants in the community. To this end SSI has built up cadres of parents and volunteers who have supported and promoted the work of SSI.
Fund raising is an ongoing activity of SSI/ADAPT. Every stakeholder in SSI activities over the last 4 decades has participated in the financial viability and sustainability of SSI. Needless to say, we are amongst the first few NGOs in the country who have created a model of sustainable service through a comprehensive organization of stakeholder responsibility. As we complete 45 years of dedicated service to the nation, many lessons have been learnt along this remarkable journey in trying to achieve economic sustainability.