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Section 2: Four Approaches for Greater Impact

Getting ahead of these major shifts is challenging. Some INGOs are breaking the innovator’s dilemma by confronting these disruptions directly. These organizations are affirming their mission with future-oriented approaches and operational strengthening.

Enhancing direct implementation   

INGOs are implementation experts, but their model must adapt to changing times. To increase efficiency, INGOs are adopting technology and informing programs with cost-effectiveness data. INGOs may also explore “demand-based” capacity-building.

Influencing systems change

Today’s complex global challenges and the presence of numerous development partners are rendering more isolated, project-based approaches obsolete. INGOs that seek to influence systems are starting with new approaches to problem solving: systems mapping and gap analysis. Results from these exercises allow INGOs to identify both their own roles within the broader ecosystem of activities as well as new partners who need to be brought in.

Case Study snapshot: Habitat for Humanity is moving from a traditional project-based approach to one that takes full advantage of its assets to influence systems change. Habitat uses its relationships, network, and brand to bring together all parties needed to affect not just housing, but the entire ecosystem, including education and sanitation. 

Harnessing the private sector

INGOs have largely looked to the private sector for funding rather than impact, and skeptically, without concern for what these relationships can offer to businesses. Less than 33% of INGOs surveyed engage companies on initiatives core to their business. A new approach emerging among corporations—shared value—holds the potential to help INGOs achieve their mission, capitalizing on companies’ efficiency, networks, scale, and resources.

Case study snapshot: Building on decades of experience working with small farmers, TechnoServe is linking these farmers with the private sector, benefiting both farmers and businesses. Through the Project Nurture Program in Kenya and Uganda, TechnoServe partnered with Coca Cola to work with over 48,000 fruit farmers and increase their income.

Leading multi-sector action

In spite of the need for collaborations that can take on complex challenges, INGO leaders noted that the majority of current partnerships are designed primarily as funding mechanisms. Collective impact arrangements provide a level of discipline, mutual accountability, and longevity that most existing models lack.

Case Study snapshotBuilding on decades of experience working with small farmers, TechnoServe is linking these farmers with the private sector, benefiting both farmers and businesses. Through the Project Nurture Program in Kenya and Uganda, TechnoServe partnered with Coca Cola to work with over 48,000 fruit farmers and increase their income.

Section 3: Enabling the INGO of the Future >

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