Maxwell School

TNGO Updates

Recent happenings from the TNGO Initiative

AEA Think Tank 2015 - Developmental Evaluation approach to Evaluating INGO Organizational Change

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Join the American Evaluation Association for a session that explores how development evaluation can support organizational change within International NGOs.

TNGO Director Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken to facilitate.

AEA Think Tank 2015 

Developmental Evaluation approach to 

Evaluating INGO Organizational Change

Skyway 265 --  Sat, Nov 14, 2015 (09:45 AM - 10:30 AM)

Session description

Several large INGOs are currently undergoing significant organizational change processes. These are emergent and complex in nature, take place in a highly dynamic environment, and involve many interdependent factors as well as feedback loops. 

Developmental Evaluation (DE) documents and interprets dynamic developments, interactions and interdependencies that happen as the intervention occurs. Thus, DE approaches naturally come to mind as a way to assess and support organizational change processes.  But what is their utility? This session is an open space to explore this question. 

The Question: 

Can DE help organizations respond to the evaluation questions and need for learning that INGO leaders and staff express? Can it help evaluate both change planning and management approaches as a process, as well as their emergent outcomes? How to apply systems and complexity thinking without it becoming overly ‘theoretical’ to busy practitioners? 

The Invitation: 

What are session participants’ experiences in encouraging organizational learning about change processes? What has worked and what has not? What are the contexts in which DE can be useful, and what are its limitations? How to develop collaborative, evaluative ways of sense- and meaning- making and pattern spotting in INGOs, while being realistic about the amount of time and effort that can be invested in this? 

These questions will be the focus of this exploratory, ‘open space’ Think Tank, which is facilitated by people who do not claim to be DE specialists at all – we merely are interested in offering this space and are curious about the answers participants will come up with.

Learn more here.

The Nonprofit Leadership Development Deficit

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Succession planning is the No. 1 organizational concern of US nonprofits, but they are failing to develop their most promising pool of talent: homegrown leaders. Read more here.

2015 #PublicDiplomacy Symposium - Building a More Secure World: Public Diplomacy for 21st Century Actors

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*Please note that this is not a TNGO sponsored event*

The Public Diplomacy Symposium is an annual meeting that provides an environment in which critical and collaborative discussion and networking can occur between students and professionals in order to advance the field. This year, attendees will have the opportunity to discuss the ways in which public diplomacy is addressing the rising influence of new, 21st century actors.

Questions to be addressed in the 2015 Symposium:

1. How are traditional institutions – Governments and IGOs -- dealing with new challenges, new communication vehicles and far broader, youthful, and engaged audiences?

2. What are the successes and shortcomings of non-traditional PD?

3. What are opportunities for improved cooperation between traditional PD institutions and transnational NGO networks?

4. What are the limits and boundaries to government-NGO cooperation?

5. How can their efforts help advance a more secure and just world?

Each panel will have a moderator and 3-4 speakers, each of whom will be selected for their expertise in the public diplomacy/communication dimension of the highlighted issues. Brief presentations addressing a mix of PD process and contemporary policy concerns of approximately 10-15 minutes per panelist will be followed by audience Q and A.

Moderators and Panelists:  Sam Worthington, President and CEO, InterAction; John Prendergast, Founding Director, Enough Project; Robert Bole, Director of Global Strategy, BBG; Dr. Beatrice Edwards, Government Accountability Project; Marie Harf, Strategic Communication Adviser to the Secretary of State;  Macon Phillips, Coordinator for the Bureau of International Information Programs; Ken Harper, Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University; Dr. Jennifer Clinton, President, Global Ties; Shanthi Kalathil, Georgetown University; Dr. R.S. Zaharna, American University

Panel 1: How have governments, NGOs and international institutions adapted their public diplomacy efforts to respond effectively to growing threats to security?

Moderator: Shanthi Kalathil, Georgetown University

Panel 2: How are transnational NGO networks advancing human security goals of social justice and well-being through public diplomacy and global engagement?

Moderator: Dr. R.S. Zaharna, American University

Panel 3: How can Civil Society engage in public diplomacy to address issues of human and national security?

Moderator: Dr. Jennifer Clinton, President, Global Ties

Thursday, November 5, 2015
8:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Center for Strategic and International Studies
1616 Rhode Island Ave, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036

Space is limited. RSVP here!

Dicussion on civil society organizations

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Missed out on our discussion on civil society organizations and their role in global governance? No worries!

You can download Dr. Pallas' powerpoint here!

Ending Hunger in Our Lifetime

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Chef and Activist @AshaGomez shares the importance of having access to healthy and nutritious foods during World Food Day

Click here to watch the video.

The Burning Platform and Civil Society: Transformational Changes in Civil Society Organizations

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In this brief discussion, Burkhard Gnärig, Executive Director of the International Civil Society Centre in Berlin and Daryl Conner,  author of the 1992 book "Managing at the Speed of Change," discuss whether transformational change within civil society organizations requires fear or can be achieved in other ways. 

You can watch the video here.

Discussion with Ken Berger, Former CEO of Charity Navigator

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Missed out on our discussion last week on the challenges and opportunities within the U.S. nonprofit and NGO sectors with Ken Berger, former CEO of Charity Navigator? Don't worry!

You can view download his powerpoint presentation here.

Climate change and hunger: El Niño could push us into unchartered waters

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"El Niños don’t necessarily cause serious climatic disruption but...What makes this year’s El Niño especially dangerous is that it is happening on top of rising global temperatures."

Read More

Discussion on the Role Faith-Based Movements in Global Civil Society

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Missed out on Dr. Alsandogan's discussion on the role on faith-based movements in global civil society?

Click here to download his powerpoint presentation

Alp 1      Alp 2

Alp 3      Alp 4

Alp 5      Alp 6

Alp 7

Undemocratic Activism? Transnational Civil Society the World Bank, and the Democratization of Global Governance

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Join @TNGOInitiative and Chris Pallas, Asst. Professor of Conflict Management at Kennesaw State University, for a discussion on civil society organizations and their role in global governance.

Chris Pallas

(Event -Tuesday October 6) Ken Berger, former CEO of Charity Navigator

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Winning the Battle for the Soul of the Social Sector

Join Ken Berger, former CEO of Charity Navigator for a discussion on the challenges and opportunities in the US nonprofit and social sector.

Tuesday, October 6, 341 Eggers Hall, 12:30pm-2:00pm

 Updated Ken Berger

How are disasters linked to inequality? Review of ‘The Disaster Profiteers’

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Debbie Hillier, #Humanitarian Policy Advisor for @Oxfam reviews The Disaster Profiteers: How natural disasters make the rich richer and the poor even poorer, by John C. Mutter.

Read More

On the Red Couch With Doctors Without Borders Executive Director Jason Cone

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Check out the latest interview from Inside Flipboard with MSF Executive Director and @TNGOIniative Leadership Institute alum Jason Cone!

Tuesday, September 22, 12:00pm - How Do Faith-Based Movements Fit Into Global Civil Society: The Case of the Gülen/Hizmet Movement

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Gulen Hizmet Movement Event Poster

The Transnational NGO Initiative (@TNGO Initiative) invites you to a talk on September 22 by Dr. Y. Alp Aslandogan, the President of the Alliance for Shared Values (@AfSV_US), a non-profit serving as the umbrella organization for the dialogue and cultural organizations associated with the Gülen/Hizmet Movement in the United States.

Dr. Aslandogan will talk about the transnational activities of the movement, with a focus on organizational structures including both social and institutional leadership, NGO governance and effectiveness. 

Tuesday, September 22, 12:00pm 220 Eggers Hall

The Fortune Change the World List

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Check out Fortune's new "Change the World List", which highlights companies around the globe helping to address some of the greatest social challenges. 

Dutch court, spurred by citizens, requires government to cut emissions.

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The Guardian reported that 866 Dutch plaintiffs have successfully sued their government to change their stance on climate change. Other national courts may follow suite. 

Consider this before posting your resume.

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3 things to consider when posting your resume online include: 1. Know whether the site has a privacy policy. 2. Find out who is behind the site. 3. Do not share any sensitive information that an identity thief could utilize.

Volunteering still an important path to dream job

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"The Guardian’s piece on how to start your career in the nonprofit or charity sector is refreshingly clear."    -Nonprofit Quarterly

New Listserv Aims to Connect Environmental Scholars

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The 2015 Wesley Conference on Environmental Politics and Government took place on Bainbridge Island outside of Seattle, WA. The participants expressed a strong desire for a platform to foster excellence (theoretical and empirical rigor) in social science research on environmental issues. This platform welcomes scholars located in any discipline, working at any level of aggregation (village, city, province, country, regional, or global) and studying any sort of actor (individuals, communities, governments, firms, international organizations, etc.).

To join the listserv follow this link: EnvironmentalGovernance

Nonprofit fundraisers forgetting about Gen-X donors?

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While fundraisers are honing in on the digital preferences of Millenials, members of Gen-X are approaching their peak income earning and donating years. 

10 reasons why Gen-Xers are still important


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The Hedgehog and the Beetle – Disruption and Innovation in the Civil Society Sector. -By Burkhard Gärig, Executive Director of The International Civil Society Center, a sister organization of the TNGO. Comment on the book here!

New Crowdsourcing Platform Launched for Human Rights,,

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Check out our new youtube videos!

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TNGO has been busy this semester with two visiting fellows as well as guest lecturers and out Digital event in DC.

Catch up with some of our videos on the Maxwell School Youtube channel.

Career Interviews: Richard Marshall, Josephine Oguta

Practitioner Interviews: Sophie Delaunay, Richard Marshall, Josephine Oguta

Guest Lectures: Sophie Delaunay, Richard Marshall, Josephine Oguta 

'Breaking Digital' Debate Video Recording Now Available

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Special thanks to all those speakers and organizers that made this event possible! Check out the full video here.

Disrupt&Innovate website launched by International Civil Society Center

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This new site maintained by International Civil Society Center seeks to extend the discussion about the future of the sector beyond the realm of their usual audience of leaders and experts. New blog posts will become live discussion sites every Tuesday, and Dr. Burkhard Gnarig (Executive Director of ICSC) will publish his new book, The Hedgehog and the Beetle on the site on April 21. Anyone will be able to comment on specific parts of the book. Find the site here: Disrupt&Innovate and follow ICSC on Twitter and LinkedIn.

TNGO Initiative and Moynihan Institute present NGO debate in Washington DC!

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DIGITAL AND 'BRICK AND MORTAR' NGOS DEBATE. April 2nd, 1:30-5:00 pm and CSIS in Washington DC and the Global Collaboratory at the Maxwell School.

NGOs Debate! for more information.

The Innovator’s New Crystal Ball: Crowdfunding

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The TNGO Initiative is researching the potential as well as limitations of digitally enabled civil society platforms and organizations as compared to those of traditional, ‘brick and mortar’ NGOs. This article is an example of how digitally enabled crowdfunding is able to produce tangible social goods and enables customer and citizen involvement at the same time:  Crowdfunding

Falk College Research Brown Bag Forum with International HIV/AIDS and TB Institute

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Falk College presents: "How Ukrainian Social and Public Health Interventions are Adapting to War-related Environment: Challenges and Opportunities" given by SU alumni Yuliya Chorna and Iuliia Pylypas of the International HIV/AIDS and TB Institute. The talk is from 12:30-2:00 Tuesday March 31st in 101 White Hall. Lunch is provided so it is necessary to RSVP to


TNGO Initiative Presents: Sophie Delaunay

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Sophie Delaunay is the Executive Director of MSF USA, also known as Doctors without Borders, and will deliver a talk titled 'Keeping Core Values, Adapting to New Realities: The Case of Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors without Borders.' this Thursday, March 26th, at 12:30pm in Eggers 341. MSF is one of the largest actors in humanitarian relief operations. Delaunay's talk will speak to the organization's core identity and goals and how it strives to maintain a field driven mantra while adapting to the professionalization and internationalization of MSF. She will also deliver a career talk at 2:30pm in Eggers 209.

Thought Piece produced by TNGO Fellow Richard Marshall

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Richard Marshall, Senior Director of People and Culture at World Vision International, spent two weeks with us at the TNGO Initiative back in February to try and ask the question: What are the most important characteristics for the CEO of the future? Now that he has returned to his post here are the 5 Characteristics that he thinks a good CEO cannot be without. 

Grant-Maker Pay Outpaces Inflation for first time since Recession.

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Salaries for CEOs and program officers of grant making foundations have grown in the last year and turnover has decreased, according to the Council on Foundations. This high rate of retention may be coming to an end however. The report found that 40% of foundation employees are over 50, and 7% are already over the retirement age.

For more information on demographic salary differences and specific pay ranges read the article on The Chronicle of Philanthropy

New Corporate-NGO Partnership Allows Individuals to Direct Charitable Giving

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Viewers to Volunteers, by Ecomedia, allows individuals to direct how corporations contribute to NGOs by viewing sponsored media highlighting a cause or organization, amassing points and then spending them on their favorites.

"What we want to do is open up giving to virtually everyone, because brands are underwriting the giving opportunity," -Paul Polizzotto, President of EcoMedia. 


Continued relevancy of UK NGOs; a practitioner panel weighs in.

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The next ten years will present new challenges for NGOs based in the global North, whose relevancy is already being challenged by some civil society actors. This article from the Guardian takes a look at what current practitioners think will allow their organizations to evolve with these changes.

14 Changes

What would persuade the aid business to ‘think and work politically’?

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Form Oxfam's 'Poverty to Power' blog, this post looks specifically at the the goals of TWP (thinking and working politically) while asking poignant questions like "how do strategies along this line of thinking define political?" Are they advocating for political analysis in determining the delivery of aid, or are they talking about empowerment and transformation? Check out the full post here


Young Professional's Summit to be held at InterAction Forum 2015

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The Forum 2015 will feature a special opportunity for young professionals and students interested in working with NGOs to network with leaders from some of the largest organizations in the field. The forum runs from June 22-24 2015 with the summit on June 23. The Summit includes a networking lunch, workshop sessions and a ticket to the Forum's Gala event. This is a great opportunity to network with senior level members as well as other young professionals working in NGOs.

To register online or find out more: InterAction Young Professionals Summit

Organizing Through Social Media: Mobilizing, Slacktivizing, or Fetishizing?

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Social media has received attention for its role mobilizing movements in recent events such as the killing of Michael Brown and civil unrest in Egypt. Some traditional activists think that this form of "hastag activism" is simply a low risk way of expressing complaints against a system that doesn't care. The tension presented in this article from Non-profit Quarterly relates specifically to the TNGO Initiative's ongoing research on digital NGOs. 

'Partnering with big business: 4 key lessons'

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Oxfam and Unilever started Project Sunrise in 2010 to assess how effective corporate-NGO partnerships have been in improving livelihoods. A blog summary of 4 specific lessons gleaned from the support so far is available here:


New 4-Week Citizen Engagement Course to be Offered Online

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The World Bank Group, the London School of Economics, the Overseas Development Institute and Participedia have come together to offer a four week online course. The course begins by synthesizing the theories and concepts that underlie citizen engagement, and goes on to explore how citizens can engage in both policymaking and public service delivery. Finally, it investigates how recent innovations are shaking up the field, through detailing both successes and failures of these new approaches. The course begins March 15th but registration is already open.

For more information on the syllabus and instructors: Citizen Engagement

Powerpoint presentation from Josephine Oguta's talk on the role of board governance.

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If you missed our talk from visiting TNGO Fellow Josephine Oguta (of World Vision International) last week, or simply want to view her presentation, the Powerpoint presentation can be found below:

Oguta Presentation

Powerpoint Slides from Richard Marshall's talk on CEO derailment and psychology

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In case you missed our visiting fellow from World Vision International give his talk last week his presentation can be accessed below

Marshall presentation

Act fast for early, discounted registration for InterAction's Forum 2015 taking place this June.

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Early registration ends this February 13th! This is a great networking and learning opportunity for those interested in not-for-profits, philanthropy and civil society collaboration.

Register and learn more here.

Billions Go To Victims Of Disaster And Disease. Does It Really Help?

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NPR 'follows the money' to see if recipients of humanitarian aid really benefit  from programs or are essentially utilized for marketing purposes.

Read here: Does it Really Help?  

Short Term Consultancy Opportunity with FHI.

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This paid short term consultancy opportunity runs through March 31st (deadline to apply is February 6th) and consists of conducting institutional interviews by phone.

Please inquire directly with FHI if interested.

Position Information

Organization website 

'52 reasons not to date an aid worker'

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Humorous compilation published by the Guardian looking at some of the odd habits and outlooks of aid workers.

52 reasons not to date an aid worker

Why CEOs of NGOs fail when their ‘dark side’ gets in the way

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Richard Marshall, visiting TNGO Fellow, will draw on his career at World Vision International as Senior Director for People and Culture to reflect on how leadership traits change under increased strain. Marshall, a trained occupational psychologist as well, will also draw on the applied research of Dolitch and Cairo to discuss some of the examples of failures in transnational NGO leadership. Lunch will be provided.

Date: Thursday, February 5th

Time: 12:30-2:00pm

Location: Eggers Hall 341

Coming Together or Falling Apart? Trends to Internationalize Northern NGOs May Come with Trade-Offs.

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Sarah Stroup, professor of political science at Middlebury College, outlines some of the challenges that arise with the new trend to internationalize and decentralize NGOs away from donor base countries to those which have larger target group populations. Access to funding, of course, is the most blatant, and Stroup discusses others in the article below and her book Borders Among Activists.

Maxwell Faculty work with Amnesty International to review the NGO's shift in organizational structure.

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Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken, Director of the TNGO Initiative and Steve Lux, Head of the Executive Education Program at Maxwell are working on an external review of Amnesty International's  organizational reconfiguration attempt "Moving Closer to the Ground."

The following article outlines the need for the organizational shift and challenges that the initiative faces. 

The Chronicle of Philanthropy Outlines: '6 Trends to Watch in 2015'

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More eye-popping gifts like Gerald Chan's $350-million donation to Harvard, a chance for Generation Xers to shine as leaders, a focus on nonprofit privacy issues, and more are in store this year. The Chronicle of Philanthropy 

What social-sector leaders need to succeed.

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Chronic under-investment is placing increasing demands on social-sector leaders. New research suggests ways they can meet the leadership challenge.

A look by McKinsey&Company

Launch Dates Announced for .ngo and .ong Domain Names.

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Sunrise and limited registration for domain names ending with .ngo and .ong (the Spanish language equivalent) will start March 17th of this year. General registration begins May 6th 2015. These designations will serve to develop better communication channels between NGOs, donors and businesses to ultimately improve local communities and help appease social issues. Follow this link for more information.

TNGO Initiative Co-Director Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken will speak on 'Organizational Change in Transnational NGOs: Collaboration, Conflict and Unpleasant Conundrums'

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This talk is part of the Program for Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration's (PARCC) Conversations in Conflict Studies Series. NGOs are forced to initiate organizational change to counter threats to their future relevance, credibility and effectiveness. Tosca will share her reflections on how this has led to both collaboration and conflict in her experiences working with and leading diverse NGOs. The talk will take place Wednesday, January 14th from 12:30-1:30pm in the PARCC conference room Eggers Hall 400. Pizza will be served and attendee participation and discussion is encouraged.   Announcement here: PARCC Conversations

Billionaire Silicon Valley couple pioneers new approach to philanthropy through how they give and how they decide who to give to.

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Dustin Moskovitz (Facebook co-founder, 30 years old) and Cari Tuna ( age 29) are giving away their fortune with the intention of redistributing their wealth during their lifetimes. This has led them to found their own foundation, Good Ventures. They have also taken a systematic and analytic approach to best determine where their money can have the largest impact on humanity through partnering with GiveWell.

Follow the Washington Post article for more details on how they are evaluating causes and grant petitions. 

Would you like to know how many people around the world helped a stranger in 2014? Or how many people donated money or volunteered time? What are the top giving countries around the world?

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Check out Charities Aid Foundation's (CAF) World Giving Index full report here or view the summary.

Why the 'conventional wisdom' is wrong and development NGOs are too quick to scale up projects.

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Stop Trying to Save the World: Big ideas are destroying international development.  Michael Hobbes takes a detailed and supported look at why national governments and development NGOs are too quick to scale up programs while shunning continual program evaluation measures. Out of this Hobbes also looks at why minimal overhead spending shouldn't be the primary criteria for donors.   

Funny look at some of the common social situations NGO practitioners find themselves in.

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25 Situations Only Nonprofit People Can Understand: You’re dedicated, filled with optimism, and you want to make the world a better place. So you get a job at a nonprofit, where your talents will be appreciated and you’ll be paid handsomely to improve our world, right? Here are 25 reasons working at a nonprofit is a little different.

The UN launches its biggest ever humanitarian appeal; 5 factors tell us why

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This month, the United Nations launched its humanitarian appeal for 2015, just like it always does around this time of the year. Except this time, it is the biggest appeal in the history of the organisation, calling for $16.4 billion to assist 57.5 million people in 22 countries over the coming 12 months. Humanitarian appeals increase annually, click here for observation into why and what this means for future development efforts.


How “vanguard” countries might lead an unexpected transformation in setting Sustainable Development Goals next year.

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"Who might change the rules of global development?" Oxfam America speculates about the changing role of vanguard countries in setting long term Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the shifting nature of which countries can be considered potential vanguards. 

Red Cross uses misleading overhead ratios in reports

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Scholars at the Transnational NGO Initiative have been among the many voices that have called in the last 5-10 years for ‘busting the overhead myth’ that claims that nonprofits should primarily be assessed on what their program-overhead cost ratios are. Overhead ratios tell us nothing about the effectiveness of the nonprofit or about the cost effectiveness of outcomes it produces. However, transparency about the true overhead costs of a nonprofit continues to be important of course and this articles showcases how the American Red Cross recently has received critical media coverage about its apparent attempt to significantly understate its true overhead ratios.

Read the article here

Activists are divided by aim and by geography, with goals of justice for Michael Brown or an end to lethal police force against minorities.

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This New York Times article illustrates the difficulties in civic mobilization, including how to unite around common 'asks' and mobilization methods while preserving internal diversity of views and strengths.

Protesters United Against Ferguson Decision, but Challenged in Unity

'The United Nations needs a shorter, stronger game plan for humanity.' -The Washington Post

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The UN gears up to debate the global priorities that will be focused on for the next 15 years. Click the link to read why its better to limit this number of priorities.

'The Ice-Bucket Racket'

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This NY times article explores the peculiarities of successful fund raising trends such as the ALS Ice Bucket challenge and why other similar imitations have not produced the same results.

The Ice Bucket Racket

The 2015 TNGO Fellows are set to come Feb 1st-13th with the opportunity for student collaboration.

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Josephine Oguta and Richard Marshall, both of World Vision International will tackle the question "What does the CEO of the future look like." Student input is needed and there are opportunities to help with research. See the full announcement for details or contact Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken or Carlo Abuyuan for more information.

Interested in how NGOs affect accountability and human rights standard setting? Check out Janet Lord's attached paper.

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Lord's paper below explains the 'boomerang scrutiny' that NGOs face and explains how this is actually a measure of the success of NGOs is affecting decision making processes.

 Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Voice Accountability and NGOs in Human Rights Standard Setting

Powerpoint presentation for Janet Lord's talk on Human Rights Law and the drafting of the CRPD

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Find Janet Lord's Presentation here.

Video Available for Dave Karpf's Analytic Activism talk

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For those of you that missed or enjoyed Dave Karpf's talk on Analytic Activism this past October 23rd, please find the link to both the formal talk and interview below.

Analytic Activism

Interview with Dave Karpf

'Is the Mexican Summer rooted in the Spring Protests?' Protesters demanding explanation for abducted missing students in Mexico organize through social media

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“Twitter was our velocity, Facebook our formal organization and YouTube our ideological reinforcement."

Student activists and Mexican civil society lobby the federal government for information and action surrounding the disappearance of 43 students in Iguala, in the the state of Guerrero. The #yosoy132 slogan has been conceived as a denunciation of the current lack of government responsiveness. The TNGO Initiative is currently researching similar virtual social movements and digital NGO platforms.  Click here for full article by Rafael Fernandez de Castro

Powerpoint presentation from Dave Karpf's talk on social petition through online campaigns

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The presentation attached below is from George Washington University's Dave Karpf from a recent talk at Syracuse University hosted by the TNGO Initiative on October 23rd. Dave Karpf is an Assistant Professor at the School of Media and Public Affairs at GW University and has written one book, The MoveOn Effect: The Unexpected Transformation of American Political Advocacy, and is working on another book about analytics and activism. (Karpfpresentation)

Saturday Night Live parodies non-profit donation commercials

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Saturday Night Live clip titled '39' cents pokes fun at the methods used by non-profits to fund-raise money.  Click on the link to watch the video!

'Doctors without Borders changed the way we heal the world' -NPR Morning Edition Oct 9th

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As a result of the Ebola epidemic and the scramble to respond Doctors without Borders (MSF) has received increased exposure for their work in East Africa as well as throughout their 40-year history.

Link to NPR's Morning Edition Oct 9th segment:


Developing Stories, Developing Countries: Documentary Short Film and Discussion with Jake Herrle EIR

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Executive Education's Peer to Peer event with Jake Herrle explores the post-conflict life of a Ugandan women that was kidnapped by the LRA and forced to be a child soldier before escaping. The 11 minute film will be followed by discussion. Thursday, Oct 9th 12:30-1:30 204 Maxwell Hall. 

Jake Herrle

Oxfam blogpost on Australian government's climate change strategy

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Reveal a Corruption Story together with and Transparency International

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Come participate in Maxwell alum Vivek Srinivasan's talk titled Combating Corruption with Mobil Phones

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Viveck Srinivasan talks on how to combat corruption in India with mobile devices

New York Times: Foreign Powers Buy Influence at Think Tanks

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‘Beyond our two minutes’: which international bodies are good or bad at consulting civil society organizations?

(Research, Practitioner Engagement) Permanent link

An Open Letter to our Fellow Activists Around the Globe

(Practitioner Engagement) Permanent link

Shifting sands: the changing landscape for international NGOs

(Practitioner Engagement) Permanent link
New Link

TNGO Initiative: 2013-14 report of activities available

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A summary of activities of the TNGO Initiative for 2013-14 is now available for download on the main page.

'Corporations and NGOs' is a top-cited article

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The 2012 article 'Corporations and NGOs: When Accountability Leads to Co-optation,' co-authored by Dorothea Baur and Hans Peter Schmitz, is in the top five of most cited publications at the Journal of Business Ethics.

Article: ''Canada Revenue Agency says ‘preventing poverty’ not allowed as goal for charity''

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The Canada Revenue Agency has told a well-known charity that it can no longer try to prevent poverty around the world, it can only alleviate poverty — because preventing poverty might benefit people who are not already poor.

The bizarre bureaucratic brawl over a mission statement is yet more evidence of deteriorating relations between the Harper government and some parts of Canada’s charitable sector.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Article: ''How can politics change to serve future generations (on climate change, but lots of other stuff too)?'

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From Poverty to Power has posted a new item, 'How can politics change to serve future generations (on climate change, but lots of other stuff too)?'

No-one objected to yesterday’s rehash of a recent BS (blue sky, OK?) session, so here’s another. An hour in a cool café in Brixton market with Kiwi academic Jonathan Boston, wrestling with the really big question on climate change and the survival of our species: how could political institutions emerge that govern for future generations?

Jonathan, [...] 

Click here to read the full post.

Michael Edwards, well known author of the book 'Civil Society', summarizes his latest edition in 1000 words

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Title: When is civil society a force for social transformation?

Tagline: There are more civil society organizations in the world today than at any other time in history, so why isn't their impact growing? 

When you look at the numbers, the growth of civil society has been remarkable: 3.3 million charities in India and 1.5 million across the United States; NGOs like the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee that work with hundreds of millions of people; 81,000 international NGOs and networks, 90 per cent of them launched since 1975. That’s not counting all the street protests, social movements and informal community groups that are often omitted from the data. In the UK, for example, these latter outnumber registered charities by more than four to one.

Click here to read more.

Sterling, Toby - Greenpeace Loses $5.2M on Rogue Employee Trading

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Greenpeace has suffered a 3.8 million-euro ($5.2 million) loss on an ill-timed bet in the currency market by a well-intentioned — if reckless — employee in its finance department.

The environmental group, which is based in Amsterdam, said Monday the employee — who had bet the euro would not strengthen against other currencies in 2013, when it did — had acted beyond the limits of his authority.

Greenpeace International fired the employee, whom it did not identify, but said there was no evidence of fraud.

"Every indication is, this was done with the best of intentions but not the best of judgment," said spokesman Mike Townsley in a telephone interview from Mexico....

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Stephen Kinzer, ''Are human rights activists today’s warmongers?''

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ALMOST EVERYONE likes the idea of human rights. The phrase itself is freighted with goodness. Supporting human rights is like supporting world peace.

The modern human rights movement began as a band of outsiders, fighting governments on behalf of the faceless and voiceless. President Jimmy Carter brought it into the American foreign policy establishment by naming an outspoken assistant secretary of state for human rights. This meant that concern for the poor, the brutalized, and the imprisoned would be heard in the highest councils of government.

To read the rest of this article, please click here.

Fascinating visualization of long term changes in global poverty

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This set of data visualizations represents in a very accessible way how much global poverty has changed in the past couple of decades. How have TNGOs contributed to these changes?

The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University is looking for a hero

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At a gala dinner on November 20, 2014, special guest Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, will present the Maxwell Spirit of Public Service Award to an individual or organization whose contributions to the public good epitomize the highest ideals of the School.

We are currently seeking nominations for this prestigious award.  Nominees may be drawn from the Maxwell community or from the world at large.

Do you know someone who fits the bill?  Or can you pass this along to friends and colleagues who might have ideas?   For the full criteria or to nominate someone, please go to   The deadline for submissions is June 6, 2014.

Rafia Zakaria, ''The White Tourist's Burden''

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"Growing Western demand for altruistic vacations is feeding the white-savior industrial complex..."

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The Rise of NGOs in China

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This week’s issue of The Economist has two interesting articles on the rise of NGOs in China. These articles provide a helpful background on the differing political contexts and how they affect the development of the nonprofit sector.

"Enter the Chinese NGO

"Beneath the Glacier"

Duncan Green: 'Understanding the nature of power: the force field that shapes development'

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Duncan Green wrote this post for ODI's Development Progress blog. It went up last week, closing a series of posts on the theme of Political Voice.

Women’s empowerment is one of the greatest areas of progress in the last century, so what better theme for a post on ‘voice’ than gender rights?

Globally, the gradual empowerment of women [...]

Read the full post by clicking here.

Peter Bell: Global Activist Battled Policies That Disenfranchised the Powerless

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Peter Bell, former President of CARE USA, visited the Transnational NGO Initiative in 2008.  He was a well known civil society leader.

"When Peter Bell died of cancer at age 73 this month, the nonprofit world lost one of its most passionate, visionary and humble leaders. Peter was uniquely both a statesman and an activist. He devoted his life to reducing poverty, defending human rights, and advancing political freedom in jobs that included heading the nonprofit aid group CARE......"  Please click here to read the rest of the article.

Podcast Interviews: Owen Barden of the Center for Global Development (CGD)

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Students focused on International Development may find subscribing to this series of podcast interviews between Owen Barden of the Center for Global Development (CGD) and a diverse range of development thinkers useful:

New publication: Addressing non-communicable diseases

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Hans Peter Schmitz contributed to the latest issue of Dialogue (King's College London) the article: Addressing non-communicable diseases: the role of the United States government, philanthropies, and civil society.

INTRAC, ''Calling our bluff on capacity building''

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''International NGOs are under threat.  Between 2009 and 2011, the proportion of funding through Northern NGOs as compared with direct funding to Southern civil society fell by 60 per cent.  Across Europe, government donors are questioning the added value of international NGOs (INGOs). They are no longer satisfied with glib INGO responses about ‘we build local capacity.’  They want to see evidence.  They are calling our bluff.....''

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Interviews: James Crowley, Associate, Accenture Development Partnerships

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The interview is at

Career interview is at

About James Crowley:

James is a business advisor with more than 25 years’ experience with a variety of large private-sector companies and, more recently, with a range of agencies in the international development sector.   James joined Accenture’s strategic consulting practice in 1989, became a partner in 1997 and worked across a range of strategy and organisation change issues for energy, consumer products, high tech and public sector companies, including major international clients such as SmithKline Beecham, Hewlett Packard, Shell and British Gas, as well as a range of energy companies. Up to 2005, James led Accenture’s strategy practice in the United Kingdom and Ireland and was the practice lead for the European Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances practice for many years.   He formally left Accenture’s commercial consulting practice in 2005 to focus on strategic and organisational performance issues in the international development sector. However, he has continued to work extensively with Accenture’s not–for-profit practice; Accenture Development Partnerships. Over that time, he has led a range of assignments on international strategic issues for clients such as Plan International, African Medical Research and Education Foundation (AMREF), World Vision, Amnesty International, Catholic Relief Services and Voluntary Service Overseas.     In parallel with his ongoing advisory work, James invests a portion of his time on new independent research pieces which aim to stimulate new management ideas around the effectiveness of large international NGOs, as well as new collaborative approaches between development and private sector organisations. The first of these was released in 2009 in collaboration with World Vision and Accenture Development Partnerships, “The Rubik’s cube of cross-sector collaboration” [].  In 2013, James published a series of new research papers in a book titled “Building a Better International NGO - Greater than the Sum of the parts?”, which has been widely reviewed and appreciated by leaders in the sector across the world, and is now available on Amazon.com James holds a first-class honours degree in Engineering from University College Cork, a Master’s degree in offshore engineering from University College London and a Master of Business Administration from London Business School. 

From Poverty to Power, ''The Civil Society Flashpoint: Why the global crackdown? What can be done about it?''

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This guest post comes from Thomas Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, drawing from their new report, Closing Space: Democracy and Human Rights Support Under Fire.

When the concept of civil society took the international aid community by storm in the 1990s, many aid providers reveled in the alluring idea of [...]

Read the full post here.

Public Interest Registry is preparing a new domain for NGOs: .ngo

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Public Interest Registry, a US based NGO that is the top level domain provider for all organizations on the web with an .org domain name, is preparing a new domain for NGOs: .ngo. Please see the information here.

Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken of the TNGO Initiative recently held an interesting discussion with PIR’s top leaders about how to make sure this new global directory function associated with .ngo would be open primarily to “genuine”  NGOs – a complex undertaking.

Presentation: James Crowley, ''Building a Better NGO''

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Here you can find the presentation from James Crowley's public talk entitled, "Building a Better NGO: Contributing to Breakthroughs in the Fight against Poverty and Injustice." 

James Crowley, Presentation

Information about Talk:

James will summarize what international NGOs need to do to be able to assist in the delivery of breakthroughs in the fight against poverty and injustice. He will touch on questions covered in his recent book, such as: what do international NGOs need to do to get in better shape; what are and should be the core competencies of international NGOs; what about their structure; what about ICT for development; how to craft strategy; and what does accountability really mean.

About James Crowley:

James is a business advisor with more than 25 years’ experience with a variety of large private-sector companies and, more recently, with a range of agencies in the international development sector.   James joined Accenture’s strategic consulting practice in 1989, became a partner in 1997 and worked across a range of strategy and organisation change issues for energy, consumer products, high tech and public sector companies, including major international clients such as SmithKline Beecham, Hewlett Packard, Shell and British Gas, as well as a range of energy companies. Up to 2005, James led Accenture’s strategy practice in the United Kingdom and Ireland and was the practice lead for the European Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances practice for many years.   He formally left Accenture’s commercial consulting practice in 2005 to focus on strategic and organisational performance issues in the international development sector. However, he has continued to work extensively with Accenture’s not–for-profit practice; Accenture Development Partnerships. Over that time, he has led a range of assignments on international strategic issues for clients such as Plan International, African Medical Research and Education Foundation (AMREF), World Vision, Amnesty International, Catholic Relief Services and Voluntary Service Overseas.     In parallel with his ongoing advisory work, James invests a portion of his time on new independent research pieces which aim to stimulate new management ideas around the effectiveness of large international NGOs, as well as new collaborative approaches between development and private sector organisations. The first of these was released in 2009 in collaboration with World Vision and Accenture Development Partnerships, “The Rubik’s cube of cross-sector collaboration” [].  In 2013, James published a series of new research papers in a book titled “Building a Better International NGO - Greater than the Sum of the parts?”, which has been widely reviewed and appreciated by leaders in the sector across the world, and is now available on Amazon.com James holds a first-class honours degree in Engineering from University College Cork, a Master’s degree in offshore engineering from University College London and a Master of Business Administration from London Business School.

Article: Srdja Popvoic, Executive Director of CANVAS, ''The Secret of Political Jiu-Jitsu''

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Srdja Popvoic, the Executive Director of The Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS), recently published an article in Foreign Policy Magazine entitled, "The Secret of Political Jiu-Jitsu: How to 'make oppression backfire' by peacefully leveraging the brutality of the oppressors."  The article can be found here:  


CANVAS was a TNGO hosted visitor in 2012, and the Maxwell Public Administration students did a capstone project with them.  


About the article:


CANVAS has traced and documented how grassroots activists from Ukraine, Venezuela, Egypt and many other countries have dealt with oppression in the course of their human rights struggles.  Whether it is police brutality, illegal detentions or even the open fire on brave civilians, oppression can take many forms. But there are ways to deal with it accordingly - but that comes only with proper strategy and knowledge of tactics. 


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CANVAS has created a three-fold strategy about how to deal with oppression, which is discussed in depth in the article.  With proper planning is it possible for nonviolent movements to not only deal with oppression, it but make it work in their favor. They have a booklet that is not available for here:  CANVAS would appreciate you sharing this with your network so that as many activists as possible may learn how to make oppression backfire in their own struggles.


TNGO Initiative wins Moynihan Faculty Challenge research grant to research digital civil society networks

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The TNGO Initiative has been awarded one of five small research grants as part of the Moynihan Challenge competition. The small, exploratory study ‘Digitally Enabled Civil Society Organizing: What are the Challenges and Opportunities for Traditional NGOs?” will compare and contrast  the organizational as well as leadership attributes of digital networks as compared to traditional ‘brick and mortar’ NGOs. It hopes to examine organizations like, Avaaz, ONE, Ushahidi and others which have emerged as important civil society players in the last five years or so.
The study will result in publications as well as in a ‘debate style’ panel at the planned Moynihan Symposium (Feb. 2015) between leaders of NGOs as well as digital networks, and academics.
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