NGO mergers – Make sense, don’t they?

03/09/2011 at 11:26 am 2 comments

Earlier this week, the Irish Independent published a letter praising the high quality of the work of Irish NGOs responding to emergencies around the world, and stating that if those same agencies were to amalgamate they would save money and “have more clout and authority”.

We have talked about this issue before, and we’ll do it again: For aid agencies, their clout and authority does not come from size, but from the strength of their bond with the people they are trying to help.

No one NGO, however big, can hope to support all of the world’s poor people and communities. In contrast, a diverse range of NGOs, each working according to their own strengths, yet united through coordinating mechanisms and peer networks such as Dóchas, can respond nimbly, flexibly and effectively to the many different facets of “poverty”.

Granted, much of the coordination that is on-going may not be visible to your readers. But Irish NGOs are forever seeking new and effective ways to maximise their impact by making use of the power and ideas of all those who can make a difference – governments, companies, media and other NGOs. And they are committed to core professional standards.

In short: The diversity of the NGO sector is a strength, not a weakness.

And it is a direct reflection of the many ways in which their supporters – ordinary people in Ireland moved by the injustice of global poverty and exclusion – are seeking to end poverty.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Willie Nugent  |  05/09/2011 at 5:46 pm

    I agree with you Hans to a point. I am in the security training / crisis management area and I do think that NGOs are different and do different things in different places and that should continue. The only suggestion I would have is that small groups or NGOs might benifit by sharing resources in relation to security training, preparing procedures, conducting threat assessments etc. I would be concerned that some small NGOs may not have the resources to do this properly on their own.

  • 2. Quora  |  06/02/2012 at 1:43 pm

    Why don’t charities merge?…

    Paradoxically, it costs money to merge. Few non-profits (and few of their donors!) want to spend money on lawyers and accountants to assess whether a merge is a realistic option. And in charity work, Size is rarely an asset, unlike in the business worl…


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