What does the future hold for Irish NGOs?
For some years now, Dóchas has been promoting discussion about the quality of Development NGO work. And we have argued that Accountability is the key to greater Quality: if you set clear standards, encourage meaningful participation of everyone affected by your work, and are transparent about your decision-making, then your decisions and activities will result in greater impact.
The second part of our Quality strategy has been to get NGOs to share experiences, and to get them to document what works, and what doesn’t. NGOs that want to be effective, must have a clear idea, not just about their aims and values, but also about the precise nature of the role that they are seeking to play: their “Theory of Change”.
And on that basis, they should consider if, and how, their role is changing.
This week, Irish NGOs were invited by Trócaire to do some more thinking about their changing roles. The publication of the “Leading Edge 2020” report provided a good opportunity to confront NGOs with criticism, and with scenarios for the future.
The report echoed some of our own, now slightly out of date, analysis of the challenges facing Irish NGOs, and it prompted some good reflections from the likes of Lawrence Haddad, and bloggers like “How Matters”. In the same week, The Guardian also published a blog about the future of “aid”.
So, plenty of input for NGOs that are curious about the future. (And don’t forget our own little contribution about the NGO of the future).
And we will continue to try to ensure that they remain curious. For surely, curiosity must be a key ingredient for anyone aspiring to become better at what they do?
< Read the report at http://www.trocaire.org/leadingedge2020 >
NB: Dóchas’ AGM conference 2011 will focus on the “added value” of Irish NGOs.