Five Oaks Consulting

CHANGING THE MEDICAL CULTURE ONE TEAM AT A TIME

CHANGING THE MEDICAL CULTURE ONE TEAM AT A TIME

My guest podcast interview with Jen Barna, MD, CEO at DocWorking

What is organizational culture, how can we ‘see’ it in action, and how can we affect it, as leaders?

The ‘culture’ question is one that tends to be of great interest to many leaders—but ‘culture’ is a nebulous concept, at once both vague and changing. Misunderstandings abound about what culture even is—and how to improve it. We see this regularly with civil society leaders, but it is equally true for physicians who lead teams and for health care agencies working in the US (including nonprofits).

To provide some clarity on these issues, my friend Jen Barna, MD and CEO of DocWorking, the coaching resource for physicians who seek a better balance between their professional and personal lives, interviewed me as a guest on her podcast. Regardless of your professional sector, you may find value in listening in!

And – if you are a physician who leads virtual or hybrid teams, DocWorking and Five Oaks Consulting designed course just for you. Have a look if you are interested: https://5oaks.teachable.com/ (scroll to the bottom of the page for specific information on courses geared towards physicians)

Black and white picture of woman planting flag on tiny island in ocean

The many ways in which informal power shows up in civil society organizations

The many ways in which informal power shows up in civil society organizations

Black and white picture of woman planting flag on tiny island in ocean

Our question

How can we as civil society entities be more self-aware of how *informal* power shows up in our organizations?

How can we as leaders and managers be more self-aware of how forms of power that are not related to positional power play out?

This has been on the mind of many of us in the past few years.

My colleague-consultant Esther Kwaku who also runs the neat social enterprise the Nerve Network and I did some work earlier this year which, amongst many things, surfaced insights around the fascinating ways in which informal power plays out in our organizations. Some of these ways you will be aware of; others may certainly cause you to reflect on what’s really happening in our organizations — even during our attempts to shift and share power. The result is a thought-provoking list, we think.

Adding a visualization

And then Dorothy Nyambi, CEO at the development agency MEDA and her colleagues took it upon themselves to commission a sharp graphic designer to visualize the list – so that they too could use the content. Thank you, MEDA!

The result

Result? Voila!  Download your copy of the visualization of the many ways in which informal power shows up here:

PDF version of the Informal Power viz

PPT version of the Informal Power viz

How does informal power show up in your civil society organization? Feel free to use the content as well in your work (please credit us as creators, of course). Enjoy having good conversations about this!

When nonprofits conform to common financial management norms, they may sacrifice as much as half of their impact

When nonprofits conform to common financial management norms, they may sacrifice as much as half of their impact

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

By George Mitchell, Associate Professor of Nonprofit Management at the City University of New York. He reports on recently published research, conducted together with Thad Calabrese, Associate Professor of Public and Nonprofit Financial Management, at New York University. (George, Hans Peter Schmitz, and Tosca are the co-authors of the book ‘Between Power and Irrelevance: the Future of Transnational NGOs’, and have collaborated for close to 20 years.)

Charities that conform to common nonprofit financial management norms may be sacrificing more than half of their mission impact over a decade. This is the conclusion of our recently published research on a large population of US registered nonprofits and NGOs (domestic and international ones).

As charitable organizations, NGOs have long been under pressure to make themselves look financially trustworthy by following practices like:

  • minimizing overhead
  • being fiscally lean
  • diversifying revenue sources; and
  • avoiding significant debt.

Many funders, watchdogs, and other stakeholders routinely evaluate NGOs based on their conformity to norms like these. But how does following these norms actually affect organizational performance? My co-author Thad Calabrese and I analyzed data from thousands of US charities over several decades to find the answer. Read more (short article) at The Conversation.

Or check out our original research here  (open access/no paywall) or here (paywall).

Let us know how you react to this — perhaps counterintuitive — research outcome! Email me at george.mitchell@baruch.cuny.edu, or leave a comment.

man and woman near table

NGOs: Chasing Innovation, Funding & Impact?

NGOs: Chasing Innovation, Funding & Impact?

I recently joined Chris Meyer zu Natrup, MD of MzN International, for a 3-part short podcast series in which we had candid, thought-provoking – and somewhat provocative – conversations about the future of the nonprofit sector and the mindsets and mental models that shape the organizations of today.

Now we are back with a live Q&A session on April 7 from 8:30 – 9:30 am ET eager to your questions pertaining to: 

NGO innovation, in particular: 

– if nonprofits are at risk of becoming obsolete

– what NGOs need to do to survive and thrive in a modern, digital world

– what leaders can do to transform their organizations into better-equipped problem solvers and innovators in uncertain times

NGO funding, in particular: 

– the never-ending funding cycle and the seemingly outdated business model which most NGOs are forced to adopt

why some organisations continue to grow while others stagnate

– what NGO leaders can do to make their funding and business models more sustainable

NGO impact, in particular:

– if nonprofits can truly make and measure the impact they set out to achieve 

– why some organisations do not create the impact they desire despite the time and expenses they invest in their programs

– what NGOs can do to create a more learning- and evidence-driven culture

Please submit your questions for Chris & me here in advance and register here to join. We look forward to seeing you there! 

Set of earphones surrounding 3 books

Between Power and Irrelevance: are INGOs actually changing their roles? [ICSC podcast interview]

Between Power and Irrelevance: are INGOs actually changing their roles? [ICSC podcast interview]

Set of earphones surrounding 3 books

Are we transforming as INGOs? Or preparing to die well? Or die badly? (to use a term my colleague and collaborator Barney Tallack coined)

Between power and irrelevance: are INGOs actually willing and able to change their roles, where needed, in response to the many changes in the external environment? Where are leaders in regards to the case for transformational change? Is there (still) a lack of awareness? Or lack of action? Or is our ability to take action constrained by the (legal and normative) architecture in which INGOs are embedded? 

These and other questions were at the heart of an International Civil Society Centre podcast interview with George Mitchell, Hans Peter Schmitz, Barney Tallack and myself – all co-authors of and/or contributors to our bookBetween Power and Irrelevance: the Future of Transnational NGOs‘.

The upshot

In ICSC’s podcast episode, we discuss:

  • What’s the core claim of our book?
  • What does a culture of innovation look like?
  • What are practical levers for culture change?
  • Where are INGOs with respect to digital strategies, tactics, and capabilities?
  • And are our sector organizations transforming? Or preparing to die well? Die badly?

These topics reflect some of the chapters in our book. I really like how our ICSC colleagues allowed us to play off and complement each other. Have a listen!

PS: pretty soon, my new Youtube channel will include a recording of this discussion as well: subscribe to be in the know as to when!

blue skies

Nothing Lasts Forever: Exit Planning is Essential for INGOs

Nothing Lasts Forever: Exit Planning is Essential for INGOs

Guest blog post by Charlie Danzoll, independent consultant. The views expressed in this post are Charlie’s. You can reach him via LinkedIn.

For all the energy, time, and resources INGOs invest in starting new initiatives, their plans for moving on are often sorely lacking.

 

Whether it is transitioning from INGO status to a nationally governed entity or withdrawing from the country, an INGO planning for closure of its country presence is faced with a dilemma: How can the organization responsibly manage such a contraction when doing so pitts its commitment to core values against the cold hard reality of resources that have run out?  What does responsible transition or exit look like? How can organizations better prepare to uphold their vision, values, and commitments during and after they leave?

While many organizations plan for transition and exit at the project level, and these plans are sometimes included in country-level strategic plans, INGOs don’t often define milestones or benchmarks for country-level transition or exit. Poor planning and execution of country transitions and exits contribute to the very critique of neocolonial aspects of aid. They manifest as, for instance:

  • Disgruntled staff, partners, and stakeholders;
  • Organizational inertia and dissonance;
  • Gradual bleeding of already scarce resources;
  • Insufficient resources to support transition and exit;
  • Focusing on financial risk at the expense of staff and organizational legacy; and
  • Underinvestment in staff income security and opportunities for professional growth.
  • All of this increases the perception that INGOS are not accountable to the people and communities they serve.

Consequently, I argue that preparing for transition and exit is a matter of strategic importance and should be addressed at the very beginning of the work in that country. By naming a transition/exit strategy as a priority, investing early in its design, and maintaining this commitment throughout the program/project life cycle, INGOs can uphold their missions and values through the end of their initiatives and beyond.

Admittedly, the prevailing challenge is operationalizing this advice. “Walking the talk” is often quite difficult.

I therefore recommend the following:

  • Review and adopt the lessons from the excellent  Stopping as Success Project;
  • Set organizational intentions, including principles, benchmarks, and policies for exit and transition;
  • Build transition and exit into the organizational ways of working and strategic planning processes—i.e., viewing them not as a failure but as normal parts of the business cycle;
  • Earmark unrestricted organizational resources for transition and exit;
  • Define transition and exit activities as core costs and advocate that donors accept them as an accrual (similar to how staff severance is accepted as a core cost);
  • Dedicate time and resources to staff wellness as it relates to transition and exit; and
  • Balance the need for financial risk management with enhancing impact and legacy.

Commitment to aligning an INGO’s mission with on-the-ground realities starts with recognizing transition and exit as organizational imperatives that need to be planned for well in advance. Planning should begin years (as opposed to months) before such a strategy is needed and be included as part of country-level strategic planning and program/project design.

The true test of an organization’s legacy and, ultimately, its impact will be how well the transition is planned, managed, and carried out. Therefore, it is time to prioritize responsible transition, exit, and closure.

Beyond Diversity Training – What Works (Part One)

Mandatory diversity training, the need for short-term wins and a nuanced approach to a global challenge

A guest blog post by Richard Eastmond; Richard is the former Senior Director for People, Operations and Corporate Services at Amnesty International. He currently serves as an independent consultant. Richard is solely responsible for the views expressed is this post.

Responding to Tosca’s challenge on (mandatory) diversity training

Tosca @ Five Oaks Consulting recently shared her practitioner knowledge on what works and what doesn’t in diversity training. Pushing back on common trends within INGOs, she argues that mandatory training doesn’t work and that singling out certain groups or people for such training is unlikely to produce meaningful change. However, voluntarily attending a diversity training strengthens a person’s resolve to do more to fight bias, while a broader focus on management systems, mentoring for all, behaviour modeling by influential people, and allyship is key to systemic change.

In this two-part blog post, I argue that there can be a place for mandatory diversity training and that there is plenty of reason to leave room for local nuance and interpretation of what diversity awareness means.

Part One: Short-Term Wins with a Long-Term Plan

Organizations are always in a hurry, and never more so than when they need to change. Whether engaging small, simple changes or addressing issues as complex as diversity, they have no time to wait for the “tide to turn”; action must be engaged now. In fact, getting started is extremely important, because these actions, over time, become embedded and are what influence long-term changes in behaviour. It’s getting started—especially when the undertaking can feel so monumental—that can be challenging.

When an organisation recognises that it must address a big issue like diversity, it needs to balance many different elements that, collectively, will contribute to systematic and deep-rooted change. Leadership must seek input and collaboration in order to generate a sense of cocreation and buy-in from all relevant stakeholders. The organization must establish clear best practices with expert input and embrace a fully intersectional approach. Taken together, these tasks can appear overwhelming, and oftentimes their execution reflects that reality—many elements will be left incomplete or even entirely neglected as the will to see them all through slowly dissipates.

Quick wins matter

Consequently, quick wins are never more important than when beginning the process of tackling an issue like diversity. To me, mandatory training, often seen as the ‘sheep dip,’ is an admittedly blunt instrument, but it also acts to highlight the importance of an issue. It demonstrates that the issue affects everyone, regardless of identity or station within the organization, and demonstrates that leadership is invested in making a significant change. While it is no ‘silver bullet,’ mandatory training has its place at the start of a change journey; the key is incorporating it into a mission-centred story that demonstrates the necessity of diversity and how it will benefit the organisation, its people, its partners, and its beneficiaries.

Key questions to answer

If you are looking into increasing diversity within your organization, here are two key questions to answer early and often throughout your journey:

  • How have you balanced a symbolic training intervention with a long-term, multi-pronged plan around promoting diversity in an INGO?
  • What leadership acts have helped or will help your organisation ensure a systemic change—namely embedding diversity and inclusion in all its forms—takes place?

I look forward to hearing your perspective: please reach out to me on LinkedIn with your responses.

Richard Eastmond, January 2021

For part two of Richard’s argument, check below.

Beyond Diversity Training – What Works (Part Two)

Diversity Training: Maintaining Local Nuance when Addressing a Global Challenge

This is Part Two of a guest blog post by Richard Eastmond. Richard is the former Senior Director for People, Operations, and Corporate Services at Amnesty International. He currently serves as an independent consultant. For Part One, see above. Richard is solely responsible for the views expressed in this post.

In Part 1 of this two-part guest blog on diversity training, we address how often-maligned “mandatory diversity training” for an entire organization can actually play a vital role in a much longer journey by providing quick wins early on. A related phenomenon INGOs must address when tackling the need for greater diversity and inclusion is how to maintain local nuance while applying a global strategy to address the problem.

Any one action reverberates across the entire organization

On the one hand, there is a challenge, in an era of acute sensitivity to ethics and accountability in INGOs, where the impact of one individual within a single part of a federated organisation—which, in many respects, acts an independent entity—can cause a reputational tsunami for the global brand. On the other hand, the question when endeavouring to make a change such as increasing diversity, therefore, is how to best balance the need for a global, standardised approach with the reality of implementing such a complex change across a global network of entities of very different scales, resource levels, and leadership maturity. (And this is all without even mentioning the local cultural differences and understandings of what “diversity and inclusion” mean that deeply affect the people on the ground.)

Allowing for local nuance in implementing diversity training

Due to these myriad factors, INGOs need to carefully think through them and their nuances before adopting a “levelling up” or standardised approach to implementing diversity training. For instance, an approach that may be wholly appropriate for a European context might totally miss the zeitgeist in North America and have little relevance in countries in Asia and Africa. What is deployed needs to be adaptive, flexible, and localised, and must recognise how perspectives differ from country to country due to social norms, legacy factors, and the political and cultural context.

When developing an approach to diversity training within your organization, it is therefore necessary to use the following question as a guide:

  • How do you account for different ways of thinking and the need for local nuance when approaching diversity awareness at a global level?

I look forward to hearing your perspective: please reach out to me on LinkedIn with your responses.

Richard Eastmond, January 2021


DiverseTeamFacingBoard

Diversity training does not work. So what does?

Diversity training does not work. So what does?

For good reasons, there is lots of attention going to efforts to make our organizations more diverse, more equitable, and more inclusive. Diversity and unconscious bias related discussion and training abound in our international social sector. Clearly, NGOs are following the lead of many corporations and government entities that have installed such training and awareness-raising initiatives. 

There’s only one problem

There is one problem with this. What’s the evidence that these initiatives actually are helpful? Not much, when you look at it closely. The research is clear and consistent: diversity training does not work, and cognitive awareness-raising has limited utility (see here for just one example of a sum-up of the research). 

So what does work?

So what does work? A focus on creating and encouraging practical, widely shared organizational habits and behaviors, such as on recruitment, induction, mentoring, task allocation, talent management, and performance management,  backed up by organizational systems. And backed up by publically transparent metrics and benchmarking. During a recent presentation to the Global Perspectives gathering of the International Civil Society Center, I offered some practical handles. Please see my presentation here.

Instead of talking, let’s focus on our organizational habits and behaviors

I know we love to discuss our values and principles, including when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion. But let’s instead focus on some specific organizational habits and behaviors. Talk to me if this makes you curious, or you want more help!

Photo happy face, attached to arrow, made up of lights against dark background

The Future of Transnational NGOs: From Anxiety to Strategy

The Future of Transnational NGOs: From Anxiety to Strategy

In this blog post, George Mitchell and Hans Peter Schmitz, co-authors, provide a synopsis of one of the main arguments in our brand new book ‘Between Power and Irrelevance: the Future of Transnational NGOs’. You can read more about our book here, including where you can buy it — for a limited time period with a 30% discount.

Geopolitical shifts, increasing demands for accountability, and growing competition have been creating a more challenging environment for Northern-based transnational nongovernmental organizations (TNGOs). In addition to changes in TNGOs’ external environment, TNGOs’ own ambitions have increased. Many TNGOs today have adopted a greater focus on addressing the root causes of societal problems, often complementing direct service provision with longer-term strategies for sustainably improving environmental, social, and political conditions. Prominent TNGOs have expanded their strategic repertoires to include new forms of activism, including rights-based approaches to development and supporter-led digital campaigning. Over time, TNGO interventions generally have become more complex, requiring more resources and greater collaboration within and across sectors.

Why all the existential angst?

But TNGOs find themselves today at a point where their rhetoric of creating sustainable impact and social transformation has far outpaced the reality of their more limited abilities to deliver on these promises. Many individual TNGOs have moved to address this gap through organizational reforms, but these efforts have not yet addressed the larger challenges that exist at the systemic level. Meanwhile, there is continuing and sometimes growing criticism of TNGOs along several fronts, including charges of ineffectiveness, limited efforts to hand over control to local partners, and failures to live internally the values that TNGOs promote externally.

What is at the heart of the challenges confronting TNGOs? Many observers have argued that TNGOs have become too large and too focused on their own survival instead of their missions. Others have blamed the overall aid system and its inability to fundamentally change the economic conditions of millions of people living in poverty. And some have blamed increased competition and professionalization, perceived to be inimical to the sector’s ethos. These criticisms identify important issues, but they all miss a fundamental problem faced by virtually all TNGOs: TNGOs are constituted as nonprofits and therefore operate within a specific institutional and normative architecture that constrains their ability to embrace new strategies and roles essential for their future effectiveness, legitimacy, and survival.

How the sector’s architecture is failing TNGOs

In our new book, Between Power and Irrelevance: The Future of Transnational NGOs, we consider how the underlying normative and institutional conditions of TNGOs—what we refer to as the sector’s architecture—are expressed in restrictive legal regimes, societal expectations, and cultural beliefs that make it hard for TNGOs to pursue their expanded missions. The difficulties are not simply due to the magnitude and complexity of global problems or the failures of individual organizations. Instead, key stakeholders of the sector, including individual and institutional donors, the general public, and governments, have been too slow in shifting their outdated expectations about the appropriate roles of TNGOs. The gap between TNGO rhetoric and their ability to deliver on their promises is growing because TNGOs’ new strategies focused on sustainable impact are not matched by the required capabilities for executing such strategies effectively.

The modern institution of the nonprofit facilitates and carries forward centuries-old traditions of charity in which social value is consummated in the act of giving itself and in the virtuous intentions and actions of staff and volunteers. Although recent decades have seen the term impact become a ubiquitous buzzword throughout the sector, underlying societal expectations about how nonprofits should raise funds and operate have failed to change in step. Today, more and more TNGOs have adopted the rhetoric of impact and have staked their reputations on claims of not just being good stewards of donor resources, but of also making a demonstrable difference in the lives of those they claim to serve. Philanthropy is becoming more data-driven and outcome-oriented, stakeholders are demanding new forms of accountability and participation, and more sophisticated operational strategies are requiring longer-term time horizons and significant new investments in organizational capacities. However, the organizational forms and norms of the sector’s architecture are preventing TNGOs from fully embracing the kinds of changes needed to successfully adapt and evolve, and above all else, to reach their potential in serving their missions. We show, for example, how the architecture provides a permissive environment for ‘successful irrelevance’ (survival based on fiscal propriety, regardless of impact), how it binds TNGOs to a Northern donor-focused accountability model, and how it inhibits specific organizational investments in areas such as digital technology, measurement and evaluation, governance reform, leadership development, and collaboration necessary for long-term mission success

The need for collective action in addition to individual reforms

To make TNGOs fit for the future, individual actions and limited organizational change initiatives will only go so far. The sector must move beyond the false comfort of the status quo and confront the architecture with collective action. TNGOs have already decided what kinds of organizations they want to be, now they must work together to create an institutional and normative environment in which those kinds of organizations can flourish.

Order ‘Between Power and Irrelevance’ online at www.oup.com/academic with promo code ASFLYQ6 to save 30%!

Northern-founded NGOs: the time has come to face existential funding challenges

Northern-founded NGOs: the time has come to face existential funding challenges

Guest blog written by Barney Tallack, a long-time collaborator of Five Oaks Consulting and former Director of Strategy at Oxfam International with 29 years of experience in the INGO sector. The views expressed are Barney’s. He is an independent consultant and specialist in INGO strategy, transformation, and governance, with a focus on European-founded NGOs. This post is based on his recent paper ‘The Existential Funding Challenge for Northern NGOs’. Barney can be reached at barneytallack[at]gmail.com


How the pandemic may work out for NGOs is uncertain

It would be folly to attempt to forecast with certitude the impacts on Northern INGOs of the COVID-19 crisis. Their ability to achieve the mission will change for sure   – in both positive and negative ways. On the positive side, for example, we might see a shift in normative thinking by citizens, politicians and investment funds on the need to address climate change, inequality and other global issues because the pandemic has once again highlighted our global interdependencies. On the negative side, we could enter an even more isolationist, nativist way of thinking that exacerbates rather than addresses our global challenges.

But what is certain is that the pandemic further accentuates longer term downward financial trends

I would argue that northern-founded NGOs’ sustainability (and that of their national members for those who have those) had already been a problem for some years. By sustainability I mean both financially and in terms of relevance. The current pandemic-induced crisis merely accelerates this.

In studying the long term income trends of seven of the larger INGO families, several challenges are apparent:

  • INGO income grew at a steady rate between 2003-2009, followed by a more rapid growth until 2015/6, followed by a plateauing and then decline
  • The growth has come primarily from significant increases in institutional donor aid to the point where this is now more than half of their income for many
  • All the NGO ‘families’ of (con)federated NGOs are dependent for a significant amount of their income (as much as 2/3 at times) on the largest member of their federation/confederation. This means that a decline in that member’s income disproportionately affects all of them
  • There are five markets – for both public and institutional funding (US, UK, Canada, Germany, and Australia) which these INGO ‘families’ are dependent on. They are also competing for the second-tier markets (in terms of volume of income) – Scandinavian, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Italy.

Northern INGOs were already facing pre-existing headwinds — political and public attention to international development has declined since the 2005 ‘Make Poverty History’ moment. The rise of nativism and the political environment since then means that ruling political parties have less of a mandate or are not as interested in the issues. Only 5 donors now give 0.7% or more for development co-operation and humanitarian issues. The public fundraising markets have been saturated in these same countries and the “cost of acquisition” of new individual donors grinds down the returns on fundraising investments. Humanitarian crises have increased but are frequently slow onset, protracted, and are frequently seen as political issues, making it hard to get media and public awareness.  

The economic crisis caused by COVID-19, and the need to service hugely expanded government debt will put further pressure on development co-operation budgets – in the near and medium-term. The endowment funds of the major Foundations have taken varying degrees of hit. Recruiting new individual donors at a faster rate than the rate with which existing ones are ‘lapsing’ will get harder. Nativism and hostile media have driven trust in INGOs down over the last years and these trends do not seem to let up.

Growing new markets or new (global South) members requires major investment over very significant periods and hasn’t led yet to the kinds of growth in income that would significanty improve funding source diversity.    

Alongside this, leaders of many northern-founded NGOs have been wrestling with the “relevance” challenge – in a world where most countries are or were about to become middle-income countries, where Southern civil society is (rightfully) claiming its space from Northern INGOs and where the ability to get big advocacy led impact is dependent on local rootedness for legitimacy and accountability.

Consequently, Northern-founded NGOs may be able to weather the immediate storm – but the underlying fundamentals which were a challenge for their financial sustainability before the COVID-19 pandemic have accelerated.

Therefore, now is the time to say: nothing’s off the table

Now is the time for Boards and Executive Leadership teams to make the tough decisions that have been looming for the last five years (or more). Four areas to explore are:

  1. How do we ensure we are relevant, what is our unique niche and the best role we can play – in the wider movement – to achieve the shared social justice mission?
  2. Where do we focus, to deliver at scale and with quality in our niche – and where should we be more robust (should we cut our presence in countries, or drop (sub) themes? Let’s be honest with ourselves!
  3. Do we really need to grow global South members – what is our rationale and how does this fit with our response to the increasingly vocal call for localisation?  Should we at least, in parallel mode, consider mergers between smaller global North members for greater resilience and cost-effectiveness?
  4. Be realistic about financial growth.  Question whether equating financial growth with more impact is the right approach. Set flat or lower-income targets.

Global north-founded NGOs do have options

There are options for the future of northern INGOs and their respective members. Three might be:

a) to transform: through a more focused role, niche, programming approach, geography and consolidated members – based on a role and ‘theory of change’ that can be articulated to all stakeholders

b) to ‘die well’: transitioning expertise, power, connections and other assets to other global North or South-founded civil society organisations (merge, spin-off or close)

c) to ‘die badly’ – through financial collapse, without securing an appropriate legacy and handover of partners, resources, and programs.

The world needs Northern-founded NGOs, even if in a different role, niche, form or size

Just as the high street retailers who were most challenged by the move of consumers to online shopping were the first to collapse in the early days of the COVID-19 crisis – those members of INGO families with pre-existing challenges will need to address these soonest.

The good news is that some INGO families and/or some of their members had already begun to do this, for instance through a much tighter focus on theme, target group, expertise, or geography.

A world with global challenges needs a global civil society – working in solidarity and based on complementary strengths –  alongside other actors if we are to overcome the negative impacts of the pandemic, and deal with climate change, inequality, barriers to citizens exercising their human rights and the other global challenges of our time. Realism now about the existential funding issues gives global North-founded NGOs the chance to continue and to address those global challenges.