He is a dot connector, he can make his point with the correct examples balanced with humour. If put him in a spot, he will make it a comfortable one. He leaves his mark on your mind, certainly has left it on mine. Sharing his thoughts on the various dots…Luis Miranda …By: Meher Gandevia-Billimoria
I call myself a dot connector because… I like connecting people. My biggest value add is opening new opportunities for NGOs and donors.
My involvement with the social sector began… thanks to my wife, Fiona. Our whole family is involved in many of the causes we work with.
Challenges along the way include… balancing the heart with the head – how can we bring in business practices to make the NGO efficient, while at the same time retaining the soul of the NGO.
The role I enjoy most is… meeting amazing people and experiencing the great work they do. It charges me and makes me optimistic about the opportunities in India. We have failed the poor by running stupid programmes that actually create more harm by keeping them in poverty.
One learning with social organisations/roles has been… that people do not want to be beggars. They want respect and the opportunity to have a decent life. They are perfectly capable of taking proper decisions on their own and paternalism should be stopped.
Funding for any social sector organisation is… an art. Some organisations have very good at fund raising by spinning a great story. Others do fascinating work, but are useless at converting their story into funds.
Social Impact according to me is… over-hyped. It is necessary, but is a much-abused word. Building a great road connecting two villages to a market definitely creates social impact. Handing our free clothes is not necessarily social impact.
My thoughts on scaling up… is not mainstream. I am not convinced that everyone needs to scale up; this decision should depend on the DNA of the founder and team. What is more important is the quality and the sustainability of the impact.
The social sector has evolved today…Eradicating poverty is a big business and tough questions should be asked about who benefits more – the donor, the NGO or the beneficiary.
Evolution of any organisation… is not easy. People need to be carried along.
If I could change one thing about the social sector…it would be to pay people more. Why should those who help the poor be paid poorly?
My advice to non-profit founders… is to stay the course. You are icons for us.
Organisations starting out in the social sector should… not forget that transforming the lives of their beneficiaries is the main reason for their existence and that real success is when you become redundant in the community that you serve.
The one person who has inspired me… is my dad, who passed away recently. He taught me to genuinely care for people and to stand up for what is right. He also passed onto me his bald head and high cholesterol.
My greatest strength is… that I trust people and my greatest weakness is… that I trust people.
In my free time… I like to be away from crowds. I like to be on my own, even when I am in a crowd.
The best way I deal with a difficult situation is… to tackle it at the earliest in a fair manner.
An incident that changed my thinking… was when one of my mentors, Shekar, gave me the best advice I have received, “Focus on the important things in life.” It brought in so much clarity to my decision making.
A book I would recommend everyone should read is… “Poor Economics”, which makes you relook at poverty and how the poor see themselves. And a movie I would recommend is “Poverty Inc” whic describes how doing good can actually do more harm.
My greatest support / inspiration comes from… my Fiona. She is my soul mate and biggest cheerleader and critic. One day I hope to make her happy by cleaning up my study.
A day in the life of Luis Miranda is… always different. It could involve discussions on a variety of topics – education, rural transformation, TB treatment, markets and incentives, infrastructure, hospitality and fund raising. And there will be a lot of laughter and optimism.
Christmas to me signifies… joy and simplicity. To be God, you don’t need to be born in a palace Nor do you need to have a lot of money.
A gift I wish Santa would bring… is someone who can clean up my desk and file my papers for the whole year. It would make my wife so happy!
My favourite Christmas carol that relates best to the social sector is… ‘O Holy Night’ because it has a lovely tune and lyrics and is a song of hope. My wife Fiona sings it beautifully.
My three wise men from the story of the nativity would be… Anu Aga, Amit Chandra and Azim Premji; people who have inspired me with their unique gifts to the sector. There are so many more inspiring people, but you let me list 3 only.
A Christmas tradition I try not to miss… is being with Fiona and the kids on that day. Being with family is so important.
This articles was originally published on the website of Centre For Advancement of Philanthropy