MUMBAI: A few months ago, Shripad Desai made a radical shift - he joined the non-profit AmeriCares India, as its new managing director, after 20 years in the corporate sector. Desai, who earlier headed sales, marketing and strategic planning for Chiron Panacea Vaccines in Mumbai, will now oversee AmeriCares' aid programmes.
NGOs and foundations are being flooded with calls from corporates for help with re-doing their existing CSR strategies and implementing large projects.
Samhita, the non-profit arm of the Nadathur Group promoted by NS Raghavan, the co-founder of Infosys, has been getting requests from big-ticket clients like Vodafone, the Ajay Piramal Group and Johnson and Johnson, wanting to strategies on their CSR projects at a pan-India level. "They are looking for similar NGOs with a national footprint and reach, but few exist," says Priya Naik, founder and joint managing director. Samhita helps build capacity for NGOs, links companies with them and provides CSR advisory services for corporate clients.
Krishnan Neelakantan joined Samhita as the new managing director 20 days ago. He is the former head of equity research at CLSA. With 17 years in the financial markets, Neelakantan started contemplating a switch to the non-profit space to make a development impact. Last year, he went on a six-month sabbatical from CLSA and started meeting NGOs and various philanthropic foundations. He came across Samhita, and found a perfect fit. His new responsibility involves shoring up Samhita's corporate advisory vertical and streamlining internal operations.
When Neelakantan was contemplating this move, he recognised the fact that the compensation in this sector would be much lower. "I have taken a significant pay cut, but it will not make a huge difference to my lifestyle because I am not working at a grassroots NGO," says Neelakantan.
Jhaveri says the highest-paid people in this sector are the fund-raisers who come in at the level of director and can earn between 18 lakh and 30 lakh a year. For CEO positions, the packages vary between 18 lakh and 22 lakh for NGOs with a turnover of 5 crore to 8 crore.
"People moving from the corporate to the NGO sector take a pay cut between 10% and 70%," says Shalabh Sahai, co-founder ofJobsForGood.com, recruitment website for the social sector.
Desai of AmeriCares says his switch to the non-profit sector got him a marginal hike. "If you have a good funder, salaries are pretty good. NGOs are looking at investing in people as resources to materialise their strategy," says Desai. The greatest challenge NGOs face is people, hiring and retaining talent.
With big money poised to enter this space the tides are turning as NGOs are increasingly looking at people talent as an investment.