Strategy and Resource Mobilisation Strategy

27 July 2023

Revolutionise asked me to present at their skillshare session in Cape Town on Strategy and Resource Mobilisation Strategy. The presentation defines strategy, the various components of an organisational strategy and key processes relevant to strategy development. The last part deals with Resource Mobilisation Strategy and how it links to the overarching organisational strategy.

Click here to download the presentation:

The allocation of Overhead cost

20 July 2023

I recently facilitated an exchange seminar for VENRO on the allocation of #overheadcosts between INGO and local partners. It was fascinating to hear about the perspectives of local partners and how some don’t receive any overhead costs. If they do, many feel they have little agency to negotiate the rate or percentage. There was also an acknowledgement on the part of some LNGOs that they need to do more to understand the details of what constitutes overhead costs in their organisations.
Listening to the INGO perspective offered interesting insights into how they struggle to develop a fair and inclusive overhead policy and how the pressures from their funders often limit their ability to find more equitable models of overhead sharing. Critical questions were raised about how to fill the funding gaps of overhead costs. For one of the sessions, Tim Boyes-Watson joined, presenting on the Fair Recovery of Support or Overhead Costs.
Resource and research conducted by Humentum were spot on and helped contextualise the topic.

Takeaways from the seminar:
·     There is a need to lobby and build coalitions to mobilise for systemic changes on overhead costs.
·     ‘We are not alone’ – many organisations are in the same boat regarding overheads.
·     There is a need to share templates and guidelines on how to calculate overhead costs and how to include overhead costs in restricted budgets and overhead policy templates.
·     Power relations and cultural differences play an essential role in the overhead discussion. NGO partners in some contexts might not be comfortable asking or negotiating concerning overheads.
·     There is a lack of strategies and policies regarding overhead allocations.
·     Platforms and sessions to discuss the ‘nuts and bolds’ of overhead costs are needed.

Thank you, Karoline Kraehling and VENRO for the opportunity to facilitate such an important discussion.

#overhead #ingo #decolonisation #NGO #LNGO
Photo – Unsplash

Paying the Price of Transformation

11 May 2023

Mary Ann Clements and Tim Boyes-Watson wrote this amazing article containing honest and insightful reflections. I think the write-up is very valuable as it describes the real struggles organisations go through. Transformation is not easy (and is not necessarily meant to be). Reading about how ‘shifting the power’ happens in reality is very helpful.

“We recognise, therefore, that INGOs need to do more than transform the way they are led and structured. They also need to transform their funding practices if they are to genuinely share power and work in solidarity.”

“There are some difficult financial withdrawal symptoms from leaving the traditional and highly addictive project-based funding system. How do you sustain the programme staff that you need to design and implement the new participatory grant-making mechanisms, if you don’t keep applying for the next project in every country? And how do programme teams find the time to reimagine and design the future in partnership with indigenous disability rights organisations – if they are stuck on the treadmill of project-funding delivery and reporting timetables?”

InterAction 2023 CEO Insights on NGO Futures: Adapting in a Changing World

23 May 2023

The 2023 InterAction CEO Insights on NGO Futures: Adapting in a changing world report is out. –

It is the sixth time InterAction has asked its members’ CEOs to respond to the NGO Futures Survey. The analysis of the responses of 100 CEOs from different types and shapes of NGOs is contained in the report.
Three key points that summarise the main findings of the report:
1. OPERATING AND FUNDING ENVIRONMENTS ARE CHANGING – And in turn, CEOs are spearheading substantial transformations within their organizations.
2. EVEN ORGANIZATIONS WITH STABLE BUSINESS MODELS ARE UNDERGOING SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO THOSE MODELS -Half of the surveyed respondents are diversifying their revenue streams, and their organizations are undergoing substantial program changes by adapting existing programs and expanding into new areas of programming.
3. THERE IS A STRONG COMMITMENT TO LOCALLY LED DEVELOPMENT – When it comes to what that looks like, there are differing opinions. But CEOs are rethinking systems and roles and what it means for their own organizations to localize and make changes.

I am glad to read and see that change and transformation are happening. Organisations are critically engaging their purpose and impact and answering the key questions: why should they continue existing? Those are good questions any organisation should ask itself once in a while.