Is your NGO ready for the new era?

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There are several changes in the donor landscape that call for pragmatic strategies. To survive, non-government organizations must clearly articulate the new emerging trends and develop responsive strategies to remain relevant and sustainable.

Some of the new developments with impact on NGO funding and sustainability are:

Changing global trend of donor aid; evolving regional and international refugee crisis; change in modes of channeling funds by international donors like CDC, DFID, etc; changing national donor aid landscape and the ever-tightening donor regulatory frameworks which increases the cost of doing humanitarian work. Most importantly, the Internet has transformed how NGOs mobilize resources and communicate the impact of their works. In the coming issues, we explore the challenges and opportunities posed by these new developments and how-to response.

It is a fact. Leaders with absolute power and authority world over love and thrive in economically disadvantaged populations. Biting poverty in most of the populace, holds people captive to the state. That way, dissent is minimized or exterminated altogether. People will focus on the next meal. The next school fees. The next burial. Instead of interesting themselves in politics and how the national resources are invested and managed.

Development and community support NGOs threaten to break the desired status quo by providing awareness of constitutional rights of citizenry, alternative access to healthcare and demanding accountability from elected leaders. Such is seen as anti-government. And so emergency of new regulatory regimes for NGOs to “water down the relevancy and responsiveness of NGOs. How can NGOs remain relevant and vibrant amid such disruptions and challenges?

As an NGO leader and stakeholder, you must take note of these and more developments in the NGO sector and explore strategies to thrive. Two years down the road, changes in US administration saw funding cuts for reproductive health and other causes. Along the way, new donors came up and adoptive NGOs have been able to continue by tapping into new funds through effective programming and communication. Each NGO leadership must ask: how do we remain relevant and deliver our mandate amid these dynamic changes?

The new VUCA era

We are living in the era of VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment. All the PESTLED – political, economic, social, technological, legal, ecological and demographic – factors are characterized by VUCA. In such environment, the need for humanitarian assistance across all areas of intervention is more critical and urgent.

In such times, “traditional approaches which got us here, cannot get us there”, says Marshall Goldsmith. He is right. Gone are the days of surviving on restricted funding, where NGO’s had committed funding for the next ten years and all they had to do is recruit a team of administrative and project staff to implement as per approved budget and monthly write reports in the donor provided reporting templates and tools. Today, such an approach is seen like driving a bus full of people at night without headlights on. Chances of a sudden impact are high.

About TransformYourNGO newsletter

Transform Your NGO newsletter aims to stir debate, create awareness and examine alterative strategic imperatives for NGO priorities, resource mobilization and sustainability. Every week, we highlight issues that impact NGOs for your awareness and proactive decision making. You are free to submit any topic of your interest for possible analysis or to comment on our blog. You are free to subscribe or unsubscribe or share a link with your team.

To contribute articles or suggest a topic, email Each newsletter will feature short, easy to read articles on NGO development insights covering strategy, resource mobilization, branding, programming, donors, success stories and structure, among others.

In this Newsletter, find a free case study you can use to train your team about fraud red flags. If you want to become a ‘magnet’ at attracting donors, undertake on-going anti-fraud awareness training and publish the lessons learnt on your website. Your prospective donors and partners will see and score you higher.

Mustapha Bernabas Mugisa, Mr. Strategy

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