With continuous increase in population on the planet and high rate of sudden death of young parents, it is imperative that new orphanages are established and operated in our societies. While most of the governments across the world are not economically strong enough to execute and sustain such projects, it is saddening to see that not many rich people pay attention to this critical social cause.
If you are reading this article and care about this cause, please try inspiring at least one rich person on earth. Even if you do not know any rich person or philanthropist in your social circle, simply share this article on your social media, because you never know who re-share / re-publish it to inspire someone somewhere. Your little effort may result in huge benefit to hundreds (or probably thousands) of orphans. Right?
Let us start the guide on how to run an orphanage
1- Land Purchase for Orphanage
- If you are planning for a small scale orphan-house, you may need a small piece of land or even using a couple of rooms in an existing home to start this amazing God-pleasing activity. Tip: Please go through the rest of the activities mentioned below and setup your orphanage.
- For a professional orphanage, if practically possible, consider buying a large size land even if you have to purchase on the outskirts of the city. Reason being, you will end up needing more space for accommodating more and more orphans pretty soon because society does not allow orphans to survive alone. If you have limited budget and cannot purchase large area, yet you should not shun your thoughts about working on this project. Just go-ahead and purchase the land whatever size falls in your budgetary range.
- Before your purchase the land, consider a solid plan on what exactly you are going to have as part of orphanage. Check out “Architecture Planning” section of this article to get more insightful approach on this subject.
2- Budgeting and Financial Planning
- Explore different Sources of income. Remember the fact that you will need to have enough money for ‘Fixed’ as well as ‘Variable’ Expenses.
- Fixed expenses are the ones that you need to invest once; such as land purchase, construction, IT setup, fit out, furniture and etcetera
- Variable costs include bills, staff salaries, food, clothing, education, wear and tear of equipment and so on. Tip: Please read the fund raising section for getting more ideas on how to collect money for your project.
- An effective orphanage should work to attain the state of self-dependency instead of relying on donations. Following are some of the approaches that may be considered:
- Opening commercial shops on the ground floor of orphanage and earning rental money
- Teaching sewing skills to orphans and then selling the clothes stitched by orphans.
- It is better to do the monthly budgeting covering the costs of clothing, food, books, haircuts, washroom accessories which should be based on the number of orphans. This will help ensure better planning for meeting the financial needs of the orphanage.
- The orphanage should target to keep enough funds for at least 6 months (up to one year) though more is better (to manage unexpected needs of children)
3- Funds Raising Activities
- Use word wide famous portals such as Gofundme (or any other similar ones). Create your account and start marketing it using social media. Read this detailed article about 9 Unique Crowdfunding Platforms for Nonprofit Fundraising
- Place a donate Button on the Orphanage Website and link it with your bank or PayPal Account. Tip: If you plan to establish an orphanage or if you are already running an orphanage, please contact me to build a website for you Free of Cost.
- If you can, contact politicians, businessmen or your local government bodies to seek support for the noble cause. Share your detailed plan to convince them.
- Publish detailed financial report on the website on monthly basis. Providing transparency to the people will enable you winning the trust of people that would result in securing more funds.
- Muslims across the globe donate millions (if not billions) of dollars under zakat (Islamic mandatory annual tax for poor). So, if you are living in an Islamic country, launch a local campaign and seek help from common people.
- Search to find websites, NGOs, Facebook pages related to education, charity, orphans and donations.
4- Architecture Planning
- In order to estimate the size of the orphanage, in line with the available budget, please consider following services for Orphanage. Note: these services may not be mandatory yet good-to-consider; after all you are working on a great cause and want to give your hundred percent J
- At least one Multipurpose Hall for living (sleeping, resting, cloth keeping etc.)
- At least one multipurpose hall for Indoor activities (Sports, Dining, TV watching, etc.)
- At least one multipurpose hall for studies (Library, Study Room and Computer Room, skillset training etc.)
- One multipurpose store (for keeping food supplies, extra clothing, bed, blankets etc.)
- Adequate number of washrooms
- Prayer Room / Religious Education Room
- Other Areas (Security cabin, kitchen, laundry, store room etc.)
- Now that you have estimated the size of the orphanage, it’s time to consider other design aspects in order to finalize your planning phase. Following are the general expenses and space requirements you should be considering:
- Camera’s / CCTV deployment
- Telecom and IT setup
- Washing Machines, Cooking Range, etcetera
5- Constructing The Building
- If you have a Facebook page for your project, publish the details of your requirements on your page and request the building construction contractors to provide you the quote with minimum profit margins.
- Apart from your own Facebook page, search for the builder’s websites (in your area) or if possible visit their offices to discuss the project. Request them to provide you the best of the best quote for the construction of building. You never know, a kind-hearted developer comes up with the most suitable plan.
- If you are not construction expert, try outsourcing the project management and supervision to a company who would design the architecture, get it approved by municipality and provide on-site audit reports on weekly basis.
- Remember the fact that society is full of unethical or corrupt people hence do not get impressed by the fancy talks of the building contractors, instead build a professional detailed plan covering time based deliverables, cost of deployment, number and types of materials and monthly quality compliance reports submission.
6- Fit out setup of the Orphanage
Do not perform actions on “as you go” basis, instead spend time on planning so that you can avoid any risk of doing mistakes. For the fit-out, you need to focus on the low level details on things, their costs, their usability, warranty, design, capacity and size. Make a list of items that are critically needed, discuss with your colleagues, partners to edit and refine the list. Once finalized start working on purchasing the items. Always start with the most critical ones and avoid the least usable as much as possible. Your time, money and efforts are important so do things right from start. Following are the areas that you should be focusing on:
- Security and IT Room Setup
- Bed and Rest Hall Setup
- Gaming Area Setup
- Education and Skills Development Hall Setup
- Kitchen Setup
- Store Allocation
- Enough Power Sockets
- Shops Setup
- IT Setup
- CCTV Cameras Development
7- Marketing and Promotion
- Create a buzz in the vicinity as well as city and even country level. Broadcast pictures and videos on social media even during the planning and construction phase. Use website marketing, Facebook Page, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp etc.)
- Once operational, organize events such as “A Day in The Orphanage” or “Life of an orphanage” or “Orphanage life cycle” and invite industry icons to attend.
- Try reaching Media-houses chairmen, TV anchors and journalists, Newspapers writers and bloggers.
- Write and publish a detailed article on Quora that should link back to your website. Target to divert as much traffic to your website as possible. Remember the fact that the more traffic your website gets, the more respect from Search Engines your website earns which means you get famous soon (which is one the targets for running the orphanage)
- Maintain a Facebook page and keep publishing every day activities. Request people to share on their social media
- Hire a dedicated agent (or a permanent staff) who can establish a mailing group to broadcast news related to the orphanage, who can produce encouraging and appealing articles that can be sent to rich people of society, who can work on fund raising activities. Tip: Read social media management section of this article. [This article is about how to run an orphanage]
8- Managing Basic Needs of Orphans
- Establish a decent-size storeroom in the orphanage and keep ample supply of food, clothing, bedding, sweaters, shoes, caps, socks, pillows, blankets, note books, pencils, general stationary and etc.
- Always plan 6 months in advance for keeping the supply. In case of shortage of funds, please engage your IT team to start the campaigns (on social media or local areas) to secure funds for this.
- Please note that there would be many operational aspects that can be compromised during financial crisis. What cannot be compromised is the basic needs of the orphans (food, clothing etc.) hence careful planning need to be ensured.
9- Cleaning and Maintaining The Orphanage
- You need to hire facilities management professional who will not only take care of the premises but also ensure timely bill payment for Electricity, Internet, telephony etc.
- Maintenance, if carefully done, enhances the life of things. If washroom tiles are washed frequently, windows are cleaned frequently, refrigerators and all electrical appliances are taken care of properly, will help reducing the wear and tear. Else, you may end of replacing the stuff that would be costlier.
- Store cleaning once in a while will help avoiding loss of stuff (termites’ issues, food expiry issues, insects’ issues, odor issues and so on)
10- Addressing Educational Needs of Orphans
- Ideally speaking orphanage should sign a deal with any good schooling system to provide education to orphans either free of cost or at very nominal fee
- Orphanage should arrange the transportation for pick-up and drop of kids to/from the school. Cost for this can be saved if a nearby school is chosen.
- Kids van may be painted using meaningful messages for the society to contribute for the orphans’ education.
- Run a campaign on the orphanage website and request the community to provide their old books so that orphans can get benefit from those books. These can be curriculum books or any general knowledge ones.
- If there are computers available in the orphanage, dedicate one to two hours every day during which children should visits the mathematics and online kids’ learning websites. Remember there are wide variety of websites where kids can learn, play and collaborate.
11- Future Planning of Orphans
- Work with mainstream colleges and universities and request them to offer scholarships for the bright students.
- Request the institutes to allocate quota for the orphans
- Ask the orphans to support the orphanage when they become professionals.
- Check out the “Campaign” section of this article on how you can work on prosperous future of the orphans through community support.
- Visit local markets and shops and request the business owners to hire their staff from the orphanage. Note: Consider age restriction laws of your country.
12- Engaging Orphans in Sports and Physical Activities
- Indoor Games such as Chess, scrabble, checkers, carom-board, table tennis, etc. do not require a lot of investments. Consider these games for the kids.
- Brain games should also be planned. With the advancement of technology, several games on logic, town trivia, planning and strategy are available on Windows platform, IOS and Google Play Store.
- In order to keep orphans abreast of latest enhancement educational games should also be promoted. To make the learning process more interesting and worthwhile, frequent competitions to be held across different groups of students.
- Nothing can beat the effectiveness of outdoor activities as it builds confidence, enhances patience, promotes mental and physical heal and improves inter-personal relationships. So, if enough space is available within the orphanage area or if play grounds are nearby, it is highly recommended to take the orphans to such places frequently.
13- Website Establishment and Professional Email address
- Website development typically involves following:
- Domain Name Finalization – [example: orphansfuture.com]. Domains can be purchased from any registrar such as Godaddy or namecheap
- Hosting – Online computer (aka ‘cloud’) where the website contents will be placed. Usually hosting is available from $3 to $10 per month from many service providers.
- Website development – The process of website creation is called website development. Typically, it involves design (look and feel), contents, picture, videos etc. As I mentioned above, if you intend to work on an orphanage project please contact me and I will be happy to create a website for you free of cost.
14- Social Media Management
- In order to run an effective Orphanage, it is recommended that you hire a person who takes care of IT needs of the orphanage. This includes Social Media Accounts management such as posting picture and articles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. More and more updates on social media helps attract more audience which will be beneficial for the orphanage in terms of getting more funds and local support.
- The IT staff should also be working to create mailing groups and establishing Email Listing in order to broadcast the orphanage pictures so that more and more people are engaged and encouraged to provide financial support.
15- Skills and Training of Orphans
- This is one of the most critical points in my opinion. An orphanage should not be limited to taking care of shelter and food for orphans, instead there has to be a solid vision followed by proper planning to transform an orphan into a useful society member. This means, there should be focus on Technical, Educational, futuristic aspects for each orphan. Based on orphans’ age, they should be taught different skills (electricity, plumbing, blogging, sewing and so on). Some skills can be taught in-house (cognitive skills, internet exposure, English speaking, sewing etc. whereas advanced skills (wiring, plumbing, garage) can be taught through professional schools.
- There are many free online learning tools (trainings, detailed videos, certifications etc.) Orphans should be encouraged to learn and polish their skills.
- Orphanage team should work with Government entities, Schools and local NGOs who can sponsor orphans for their skills development
16- Integration with NGOs
- Plan to work closely with other NGOs.
- Check what other services other NGOs are offering that you should be adding to your portfolio.
- Offer services to other NGOs that you are good at.
- Plan day-out events with different orphanages
- Collaborate on the fund-raising activities
- Promote each other’s events on the respective websites and increase the foot-print on internet.
- If you have received extra donations in your store, share with them
- Arrange staff meetings on both sides and see what skills can be learnt and taught to each other
- You are reading How to Establish, Operate and Sustain An Orphanage Effectively – 24 Critical Points – A Full Guide
17- Orphan Adoption System
- There are thousands of people who would like to adopt orphans. Your website should help them on this matter. As explained in the “Campaigns’ and “Orphans Specific Record Management” sections of this article, the website should have detailed information about the orphans. This will encourage people to adopt orphans.
- With you love and care, an orphan becomes more ‘attractive’ (in terms of manners, outlook and speech) consequently it is high likely that he/she will be adopted by a decent family.
- Before handing over of an orphan, you need to demand certain documentation from the new ‘parents’. This should include local police clearance certificate, identity cards of the parents and their home address. This is for your record management that the orphan was handed over with preliminary checks.
- At the time of handover, you need to get sign-off on a formal paper that the orphan was in good health at the time of handover. This paper should have general instructions on what need to be taken care of after the adoption is completed. (this does not have to be complex, yet precise)
18- Registration Process with Respective Authorities
- In order to avoid any tax conflict or any audit by municipality, consult the right people in your community. Acquire the right information about registration process and initiate the process at early stage.
- You may visit any existing orphanage to gather information and to seek guidance.
19- Staff Hiring Consideration
- Some of the vital staffs that you need are Security Guard, IT person, Facility Management person, Cook, Cleaning worker and driver (optional).
- While a staff is supposed to be professional with a proof of specific skillset and work experience, it is recommended that certain qualities such as kindheartedness, high EQ, good empathy levels are considered since interaction with orphans is a job that requires cleanliness of heart & soul and a lot of patience and persistence. People with soft-heart are the best ones for such roles. Remember the fact that orphans are less fortunate members of society and may have not learnt the ethics and manners so, they need to be treated softly permanently. Hence a hard-nature person may not fit well in the orphanage.
20- Donation Boxes Installation
- If it requires permission from your local town authority, get the necessary approvals done and place a donation box in front of Orphanage and if possible, try installing at multiple locations within your vicinity. You will be surprised to receive a lot clothes, toys, gifts and books from your local community.
- Clearly mention on the donation box about what is expected from the community in terms of donations (books, toys, shoes, clothes etc.) and what is prohibited (under garments, food items, liquid products etc.)
21- Campaigns Management
- Adopt an orphan – From an orphan’s perspective, nothing can replace the benefits of a proper home. It will be a great achievement if you are able to find a caring family for an orphan. Hence, as much as possible, strive to find a good home for each of your orphans. On your website, publish full records and pictures of your orphans that will help people adopt the orphans. Proper social media campaigns, print media campaigns, local new paper advertisement and possible ways to promote such campaigns should be considered.
- Feed an orphan – There could be many people who cannot take an orphan to their home, yet they have a big heart to take the ownership of orphan’s food. Create and Run a campaign on the website where full details of the food requirements for an orphan is published (example: x liters of milk, 10-15 meals a week each costing 1$ etc.) Encourage people to opt in monthly contribution through Patreon or any similar service through which you are able to receive monthly donations.
- Educate an orphan – Similar to the “Feed and orphan” campaign, publish the educational needs of different categories of orphans and seek support from Educating an Orphan Campaign. One of the most important visions you should have is to secure the future of orphans through best-in-class education support.
22- Orphan Specific Record Management
Maintaining orphan’s record should be done with care.
- Basic Records
- Date on which orphan joined
- Fresh Picture (and annual pictures)
- Prepare a detailed document about the orphan (who brought him/her to the orphanage, what was his condition, any health test was done, any vaccination was done, any abnormality observed)
- Registration of Orphan with Government
- Check local laws on how to register the orphans. Do whatever is needful
- Apply for national identity card
- Detailed Records Management
- Try to update the records on monthly basis (preferably in digital file) for everything related to each orphan. Make proper excel files about what a specific orphan likes or dislikes, what are his personality traits etc. This records will you plan for his future. Also will help you to finding a good family for adoption.
23- Expense Check List for Orphan
Try to create a dedicated page on your website where you can publish monthly charges per orphan. Please note that there are many wealthy people who would love to provide monthly donations based on per-orphan-expenses. There could be many kind hearted people who cannot adopt an orphan but they can sponsor a specific number of orphans. The more detailed information you are able to provide on your website, the more confidence and trust you develop with philanthropists. If possible, publish monthly reports on the website and try to send these reports to all the sponsors to let them feel great about what they are doing. This will encourage them as well as others to contribute more towards this noble cause.
24- Sustaining an Orphanage
Great projects must be sustained for longer. Sustaining an orphanage is all about availability of enough cash (for at least one year) and commitment of the orphanage owner or executive committee. Following are some recommendations on this subject.
- Monthly cash flow report must be reviewed. This includes detailed analysis as well as audit of expenses
- Always find better ways to control the expenses (buying stuff in bulk, finding cheap but qualitative suppliers), signing yearly contracts with suppliers.
- Keep searching for sponsors for different categories of expenses. For example: search of a company that has Corporate Social Responsibility Policy to support noble causes. Contact them and ask them to sponsor the food expenses for one year. Find another company that can take care of clothes requirements of the orphans. Contact a mattress company and request them to sponsor 10-20 mattresses and so on.
- Keep on finding ways on how to establish a self-sustaining orphanage. How the orphanage can produce revenue (such as renting out space for shop, sewing clothes and selling, making footballs, Online teaching, website development and so on.
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