The Voluntary Development Organisations (VDOs) concentrate their efforts and time on serving the communities in their respective areas of operation, their own interests and needs therefore tend to get neglected. Thus, over the years, VANI has taken up the task of advocating for enabling environment thereby safeguarding interest and strengthening the capacity and standing of Indian Civil Society.
Some out of many of VANI's achievements on regulatory framework, internal system strengthening and leadership in the international arena are enlisted below:
- VANI played a critical role to advocate for and widely disseminate Model Bill for Society Registration among the state level networks.
- On behalf of the sector VANI demanded major changes in FCRA Rules and relaxation in practices resulting in reduction in reporting requirement from biannual to once a year format.
- For the very first time in the history of Indian Constitution, the Indian Voluntary Sector, through VANI, proposed the historic Alternative National Budget which was an unfathomed move amidst TINA (There is no alternative) campaign of the government. The Alternative National Budget was later acknowledged by the then Prime Minister of India Mr. P V Narisimha Rao in the parliament house of India.
- VANI was closely associated with Planning Commission (an institution within the Government of India which formulated five-year plans to shape the economic development of the nation) to develop and disseminate the National Policy for the Voluntary Sector. With the help of advocacy tools like face to face interactions, appeals, representations, memorandums to Prime Minister, Union Ministers, Member of Parliament, Leaders of Opposition Parties, Senior Level Bureaucrats.
- VANI has been pursuing for sector friendly policies and interventions around the Income Tax Act, Finance Bill, Direct Tax Code Bill, Lokpal Bill and so on. VANI's successful advocacy initiative under Lokpal Bill resulted in relaxation in government's ask for personal information disclosure of governing board members and their family members is another landmark accomplishment.
- In the area of internal system strengthening, VANI has been playing a critical role in building the internal capacities of the Indian VDOs.
- VANI drafted its first Code of Conduct three decades back, when the Planning Commission expressed the need for drafting guidelines for regulating the Indian Voluntary sector. The organisation has thereafter been encouraging the voluntary sector to showcase the sector’s strength by complying with law of the land. At the behest of the sector as well as the changing socio-political and economic landscape, VANI updated its Code on Conduct titled, 'Declaration of Responsible Governance and Management of Voluntary Organisations', in 2017. The updation was undertaken in a participatory manner and in line with Global Standard for CSO Accountability (an accountability initiative of which VANI has been a part along with eight other networks from across the Globe).
- In the wake of changing regulatory requirements, VANI has been supporting its members and non-members through Workshops, Trainings, and Consultations and so on. In 2015, the FCRA Act was amended with stricter requirements (penalty clauses in instance of non-compliance) and digitised. In order to prepare the sector for the changed rules, VANI conducted FCRA Clinics around the country to de-mystify law, create awareness and prepare the voluntary organisations (especially grass-root level organisations) about the changed requirements and their adherence. Since India is a signatory to United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), VANI has been creating awareness among the Indian Civil Society (which are primarily issue focussed) to involve seriously in the monitoring of implementation of SDGs.
- VANl has played an important role in establishing global footprints of the Indian VDOs on global development discourse. VANI is a member of international Networks like Forus (formerly known as International Forum for National Platforms (IFP), CIVICUS, Affiliation Group of National Associations (AGNA), Asia Development Alliance (ADA), Asia Democratic Network. It has partnered with International Civil Society Centre, Accountable Now and few other global networks to draft Global Standard for CSO Accountability.
- VANI is the founding member of Forum for Indian Development Co-operation (FIDC) for exploring the various facets development co-operation. VANI partnered with FIDC and organised CIVIL BRlCS.
- In addition, VANI has been drawing attention of the voluntary sector to monitor social implications of international development partnerships including BBIN, BIMSTECH, Blue Economy.