The NGO of the Future?

28/12/2010 at 10:36 pm 8 comments

In early 2008, Dóchas wrote a discussion paper, presenting its member organisations with the outlines of a few of the major challenges facing Irish Development NGOs.

In essence, the paper argued that the context in which Development NGOs are operating is changing rapidly, and that their independence, integrity, credibility and relevance were increasingly called into question. Dóchas saw the solution in increased NGO accountability, and the introduction of NGO Codes of Conduct.

Internationally, NGOs are increasingly waking up to the importance of self-regulation and increased impact. The CSO Development Effectiveness discussions have led to the articulation of a series of principles for the work of Development NGOs, which are intended to guide the future work of organisations aiming to eradicate extreme poverty.

So will the NGO of the future be transparent, accountable, focused on people’s empowerment, and basing its work on a framework of human rights, as the Istanbul Principles would have it? And is that enough?

The NGO of the future should see itself not just as an efficient and accountable machine – it should be the ultimate networking organisation (as argued in this article in Dutch).

In a increasingly globalising world, NGOs can be the link within, and between, societies. NGOs of the future are not merely project implementers, they bring people together and bridge cultural, economic and religious divides. NGOs mediate, dialogue, unite, and engage people. Rather than doers, the NGOs of the future are matchmakers, facilitators and catalysts. NGOs provide the platform where others can utilise their own creativity – the iPhone for other people’s apps, so to speak.

The NGO of the future knows that “partners” are not just the donors and the NGOs in developing countries. It teams up with companies, academics and any other institution or individual that can help it achieve its mission. It knows that innovation is key, and it has the curiosity to want to learn more. It knows how to reach people, how to engage them, and how to inspire them to action.

The NGO of the future knows that it can crowdsource and map data and information from all corners of the earth. It knows that proactive transparency is becoming the norm, as data is increasingly made available through databases like AidData, Aid Flows and UNdata.

In short, the NGO of the future is ‘The Networked Nonprofit’, with high quality relationships with all their stakeholders, able to use those relationships to learn, improve their impact and meet quality standards.

It could be you.

Further reading:


Entry filed under: Development Effectiveness, NGOs, Overseas aid. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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