On this page, you will find selected articles, tools, case studies, resources or links on issues relating to the future role of international NGOs (international civil society organisations).

Over recent years, there has been a growing view that the traditional role and ways of working of international NGOs may be under threat, due to a combination of geopolitical, social, and technological shifts. While there is no consensus yet on speed of change, or the best way forward, there is a growing range of publications exploring the issues, and seeking to identify how international NGOs may have to change in order to remain relevant in the future. This section aims to capture the best of the analyses published to date on this issue.

  • Future Role of Civil Society‘: World Economic Forum, Jan 2013, 30 pages + appendices. Reviews critical driving forces affecting the sector, and explores the potential implications of four future scenarios.
  • Ahead of the Curve: Insights for INGOs of the Future‘: FSG, Nov 2013, 21 pages (3 page Exec Summary): Draws out four ways in which INGOs can change their role to grow their impact in a changing world
  • Diversify, Adapt, and Innovate: International Civil Society Centre, Nov 2014, 32 pages (3 page Exec Summary): Review of the global trends that are challenging established global civil society business models, and emerging new models
  • Fit for the Future: Development Trends and the Role of INGOs‘: Duncan Green (Oxfam), June 2015, 20 pages. Using Oxfam as a case study, this discussion paper identifies critical new ways of working for INGOs of the future
  • The Hedgehog and the Beetle‘: Burkhard Gnaerig, ICSC, April 2015. Review of new book on the future role of ICSOs
  • Building a New Role for US NGOs as Active Global Citizens‘: Sam Worthington, Interaction, August 2015, 7 pages. Focused on US NGOs but many¬†comments also¬†of relevance to NGOs in other countries
  • Reinventing Humanitarian Aid‘: Mark Malloch-Brown, CGD, June 2015, 11 pages. Essay on future role of humanitarian aid, based on the author’s wide experience in global humanitarian sector leadership


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