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Recent happenings from the TNGO Initiative

What academics can tell us about why some protests succeed (and others don’t)

(Research, Education, Practitioner Engagement) Permanent link

What academics can tell us about why some protests succeed (and others don’t)

Thoughtful Campaigner brings us 7 key points to make a protest successful. Full article here.

1. The size of your protest matters, but so does who is involved

2.  Make your protest appeal to others

3. Be innovative and flexible

4. Academics can’t decide on the best form of organisation

5. People will get involved for surprising reasons

6. Prepare for the day after the protest

7. All movements need to overcome the ‘coordination problem

Real Dollars: Realities of NGO Funding

(Research, Education, Practitioner Engagement) Permanent link

Real Dollars: Realities of NGO Funding 


New York Times: Foreign Powers Buy Influence at Think Tanks

(Research) Permanent link

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

(Research, Practitioner Engagement) Permanent link

New publication: The Planned Close of an NGO: Evidence for a New Organizational Form?

(Research) Permanent link

Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken has published (with David Berlan, ABD in Public Administration) the article 'The Planned Close of an NGO: Evidence for a New Organizational Form?'


The article examines a human rights NGO (Realizing Rights) that ceased operations after only 8 years. A voluntary and planned end, this case raises the possibility of a new form, the time-bound organization. Through a series of interviews with staff, board members, the founder, and key external stakeholders, this study examines the nonprofit’s leadership, time-bound structure, strategic approach, and wind-down process. Drawing on the lessons of this case, the article identifies benefits and challenges of the time-bound organization form. A range of voluntary organizations could learn from this example and consider the form, including nonprofits experiencing a leadership transition, facing environmental threats, or considering a structural change such as a merger.

Collaborative research agenda on human rights NGOs and adoption of ESC rights with Prof. Paul Nelson, University of Pittsburgh

(Research) Permanent link

On Nov. 10, 2009, Prof. Paul Nelson of the University of Pittsburgh and well-known scholar on Rights Based Approaches in development visited the Transnational NGO Initiative. He is the author, among others, of New Rights Advocacy (Georgetown University Press, 2008), while his current research agenda focuses among others on linkages between the Millenium Development Goals and human rights-driven approaches. Prof. Nelson is also well-known for his earlier publications on civil society influence vis-a-vis the World Bank and other forms of intergovernmental organizations.


Jointly, we developed a collaborative research agenda on human rights NGOs and Economic, Social and Cultural (ESC) right adoption, in which we will endeavor to examine the following questions:

  1. What are the motivations as well as barriers to adoption of ESC rights among human rights NGOs?
  2. How does implementation and 'mainstreaming' of ESC rights happen within these NGOs? What are some of the organizational incentives and constraints in such adoption? What are some of the organizational change dimensions ?
  3. To what extent are human rights NGOs attempting to assess the early impacts of ESC advocacy? What methods are used to do so? What are early signs of outcomes?
  4. What are the implications of ESC adoption for the need for NGOs to strengthen their citizen constituency?

We hope to start to address this research agenda in 2010, and aim to consult ESC practitioners within the NGO community about its scope and questions as well as about its outcomes, as they emerge.

Presentation on TNGO Interview Study at the Hauser Center, Harvard University

(Research) Permanent link

On Tuesday Dec. 1st, Hans Peter Schmitz and Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken, Co-Directors of the Transnational NGO (TNGO) Initiative, presented the National Science Foundation funded Moynihan TNGO Interview Study to a group of faculty and PhD students at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Management at Harvard University. This study is the first and only large scale interview study of its kind -- 152 leaders of TNGOs were interviewed. The resulting quantitative and qualitative data will soon be available for scholars outside the Maxwell School through our website. The presentation focuses on the nature, scope and methods of the interview study, and offers some emerging findings across a range of issues:

  • Motives and goals of TNGO leaders;
  • Effectiveness
  • Accountability
  • Leadership behavior and styles in the face of constraints
  • Networking and partnerships   Hauser Center PowerPoint (4) 
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