This Blogpost relates to a recently launched "point of view" paper by Accenture Development Partnerships(ADP) based on over 6 years of priveleged access to the engine rooms of some of the largest international NGOs as they increasingly look to move from confrontation to collaboration in their dealings with the private sector. The foreword was kindly written by Jane Nelson from KSG, Harvard
"Point of View" Key Message:
In summary, the PoV argues that based on privileged access to the operations of majors NGOs over recent years, ADP is advocating a fairly transformative change journey if these organisations are going to be able to fully participate in a more complex, inter-dependent and collaborative development sector of the 21st century.
Development in the Downturn: How does the credit crunch impact our messages?
The bulk of the report was written well before the current economic crisis, but I think there are some fascinating developments and opportunities as a result. Indeed, the downturn could act as a positive catalyst for radical and necessary change across the sector. Change that I see as inevitable, but which has to a certain extent been put off through lack of a burning platform. Some further thoughts/assertions:
- ADP believe there will be a lag of 12-18 months before the full impact of the credit crunch hits the 3rd sector (due to pre-existing commitments by corporate donors, individuals, multi-year etc)
- The prospect of significant drops in programme funding will shine a spotlight on structural inefficiencies within the sector and will act as a catalyst for change
- There is a danger that NGO leadership will cut off discretionary investment in ongoing programmes and stall the change/transformation which is so necessary
- This would make these organizations less resilient to withstand the full impact of the downturn in 2010/11
- There is likely to be considerable consolidation within the sector – many orgs will not survive. Others will be forced to merge or be taken over. This will present opportunities for some and threats to others
…but there are also opportunities for the bold:
- To use the downturn as a catalyst and to make the “case for change” which may have thus far been resisted or avoided
- Access to new business skills and talent – the private sector is hemorrhaging jobs, MBAs are graduating without jobs to go to etc. Paradoxically, the current climate may provide a hiring opportunity for NGOs seeking to rebalance their workforces!
- Lastly, the private sector is at its most malleable – Trust in business is at an all time low – business leaders need to prove that corporate responsibility and a commitment to sustainability is not just for the good times. NGOs and social enterprise must have a voice in how “Capitalism 2.0” is shaped in order to harness the power of business towards development outcomes.
While the report is focused on international NGOS, it does reference the role of large multi-national businesses who will be increasingly looking to partner with the large development NGOs as they enter emerging markets and therefore have a vested interest in supporting the NGO transformation process and the broader development agenda.
Accenture Development Partnerships