Core requirements for resource integration

April 9, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

Whether they began that way or evolved over time, many organizations are international nongovernmental organizations (INGO). Certain principles of operating a nonprofit can apply across the spectrum of all organizations, but in their book “Building a Better International NGO,” James Crowley and Morgana Ryan suggest that INGOs face special core requirements that can help an international organization have an effect that is more than the sum of its parts.

They are the points on which INGOs can seek to have greater integration without taxing limited resources and shifting focus from the things that matter most. Those core requirements can be listed under three separate headings, program legitimacy, operational maturity and distributed “virtual” headquarters.

Program legitimacy

  • Quality local programs with sustainable impact;
  • Alignment around a theory of change and programmatic approach;
  • Ruthless clarity and alignment on organizational core competencies; and,
  • Capacity, contribution and impact at an international/global level.

Operational maturity

  • A mind-set of dual citizenship;
  • Essential global processes aligned at a sensible level;
  • Integrated organizational planning, performance and accountability;
  • Credible leadership and governance;
  • A single, integrated global leadership team; and,
  • Matrix management approach aligned to management and process maturity.

Distributed “virtual” headquarters

  • Strategic mini-region with interlinked contexts and programs;
  • North-south power balance; and,
  • Sensible, representative governance.