Cover Image
close this bookNGO Guidelines for Good Policy and Practice (Commonwealth Foundation)
View the document(introduction...)
close this folderPart I: NGOs: what they are and what they do
close this folder1. The rationale and purpose of this report
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1.1 The origins and scope of this report
View the document1.2 An overview of the report
View the document1.3 The purpose of this report
View the document1.4 The importance of NGOs
View the document1.5 The global dimension
View the document1.6 The local dimension
View the document1.7 NGOs, government and civil society
close this folder2. The historical context
View the document(introduction...)
View the document2.1 Care and welfare
View the document2.2 Change and development
View the document2.3 The historical evolution of NGO/government relationships
View the document2.4 Welfare pluralism
View the document2.5 The emergence of alternatives
View the document2.6 New concerns
close this folder3. NGOs defined
View the document(introduction...)
View the document3.1 Diverse current ways of defining NGOs
View the document3.2 Defining ''NGO'' for the purposes of this report.
View the document3.3 Is ''NGO'' the right term?
close this folder4. NGO activities described
View the document(introduction...)
View the document4.1 The spectrum of NGO activities
View the document4.2 Who and what
View the document4.3 How
View the document4.4 The diversity of NGO activities
close this folder5. A typology of NGOs
View the document(introduction...)
View the document5.1 Why a typology is needed
View the document5.2 Component 1: A descriptive typology
View the document5.3 Organisational terms
View the document5.4 Main forms of control
View the document5.5 Location between government and civil society
View the document5.6 Level of operation
View the document5.7 Legal forms
View the document5.8 Links with parent and subsidiary bodies
View the document5.9 Links between NGOs
View the document5.10 Component 2: An organisational typology
View the document5.11 Organisations in civil society which engage in NGO-type activities
View the document5.12 Fraudulent NGOs
close this folder6. The governance and operation of NGOs
View the document(introduction...)
View the document6.1 The accountability of NGOs
View the document6.2 Improving NGO governance and operations
View the document6.3 Management
View the document6.4 Human resource development (HRD) and training
View the document6.5 Reviewing, monitoring and evaluating
View the document6.6 Information
View the document6.7 Networking and alliance-building
close this folder7. The legal and institutional frameworks within which NGOs operate
View the document(introduction...)
View the document7.1 Freedom to associate
View the document7.2 The political dimension
View the document7.3 The law
View the document7.4 Regulation
View the document7.5 Collective, external and self-regulation
close this folder8. The framework of relationships within which NGOs operate
View the document(introduction...)
View the document8.1 A complex pattern of relationships
View the document8.2 Relationships with government: key issues
View the document8.3 Relationships with government: ways forward
View the document8.4 Relationships with funders: key issues
View the document8.5 Relationships with funders: ways forward
View the document8.6 Other strategies to strengthen relationships
close this folder9. The international dimension
View the document(introduction...)
View the document9.1 Forms of international linkage
View the document9.2 Funding links
View the document9.3 Operational links
View the document9.4 Partnerships
View the document10. Conclusion and introduction to the guidelines
close this folderPart II: Guidelines for Good Policy and Practice
View the document11. Guidelines for good policy and practice on the part of Governments
View the document12. Guidelines for good policy and practice on the part of NGOs
View the document13. Guidelines for good policy and practice on the part of funders
View the document14. Guidelines for good policy and practice on the part of ''North'' and international agencies
View the document15. Implementing the guidelines: A plan of action
close this folderPart III: References
View the documentAnnex 1: The process of research and consultation
View the documentAnnex 2: List of those submitting information, consulted, or responding
close this folderAnnexes
View the documentAnnex 1: The process of research and consultation
View the documentAnnex 2: List of those submitting information, consulted or responding

8.6 Other strategies to strengthen relationships

Relationships with funders can be and are being strengthened by action among NGOs themselves. First, by communicating and networking with each other. It was noted in Chapter 6 that NGO networking has many other purposes and dimensions than sharing information and collaborating over funding and funders.

The tendency, noted above, of the potential or actual availability of funds of promoting competition among NGOs needs to be counterbalanced by co-operation. The ASDAG network in Africa was stimulated by a concern to do this, the group noting that:

"...competition among NGOs for.....funds greatly erodes their capacity and commitment to mobilise collaborative action and achieve consensus around issues of common interest..."

In partnership with an international NGO, ASDAG has prepared and published a code of practice which it hopes others will follow when dealing with external funders. Those involved in this network noted:

"...the tendency of (NGOs) in the region to place a high priority on their external links. This externally-focused orientation undermines local NGOs' legitimate mission as co-actors in the struggle of...peoples and...communities for...effective empowerment and participation, and for sustainable development..."


Among the many policies and practices proposed in the code is that:

"...NGOs must exercise adequate institutional caution in entering into funding relationships with external partners. Funding/donor contracts must be studied in detail, and the implications of every condition must be weighed carefully against the receiver's own true objectives. In particular...NGOs must avoid opportunistic funding; although such funds may provide short- term gains, they are likely to compromise the receiver's autonomy and genuine institutional development in the long-term..."

The objectives of ASDAG go beyond networking and co-operation in fact, and illustrate a second strategy. Increasingly NGOs are recognising that dependence on governments and other funders will always place some limitation on their activities and can create a culture of dependency which limits their ability to achieve long-term sustainability.

There is therefore a growing trend among NGOs to find ways of increasing their ability to be self-financing. The starting point for many is the realisation that they have specialist (and often advanced) knowledge and expertise. This may be in dealing with particular needs and problems, or in activities such as resource mobilisation or research in particular fields. In this, organisations which choose to remain focused upon activities and services which relate closely to their objectives (rather than branch out into various activities in an opportunistic manner, regardless of their objectives or knowledge and skills) are at an advantage. In the search for self-sufficiency this specialist knowledge and expertise is the greatest asset of NGOs that can be capitalised upon. Doing so includes selling the expertise by providing services or goods: for example, NGOs that have become expert in providing training for the unemployed can sell such expertise by selling training services to the private sector. This in turn means setting up enterprises to do so. Mechanisms for self-sufficiency also include establishing endowment funds, making investments, and increasing fund-raising abilities generally. Networks and individual NGOs are pursuing such strategies more and more.