GT Trend Report: Non-Governmental Organizations
An increasing number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are tackling an expanding portfolio of issues from poverty to productive retirement – and they are serious business. NGOs have public trust and more power than ever before. If civil society were a country, it would contribute about the same to global GDP as France. As the trend moves from confrontation to co-operation between NGOs, businesses and society, how can your organization make a difference? What are the opportunities to realize benefits for business and society at the same time?
From Confrontation to Co-operation
An ever-increasing number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is tackling an expanding portfolio of issues from poverty to productive retirement for ageing populations, both internationally and within countries. Sheer numbers, increasing funding (from both government and private sources) and multiple channels to make issues transparent to a global audience, mean NGOs have more power than ever before. Domestic NGOs number in the millions, with a 2010 estimate based on UN data suggesting there are around 40,000 international NGOs. A study by Johns Hopkins University across 40 countries suggests nonprofit organizations are staffed by the equivalent of 48.4 million full-time equivalent workers, and make an estimated US$ 1.9 trillion output contribution to the global economy, or around 5% of the world’s GDP — about the same as France.
These numbers are largely invisible due to the fragmented nature of the NGO space, but the power of the sector is becoming more visible as NGOs move from the often adversarial stance of even a decade ago to a climate of co-operation. NGOs are increasingly willing to move towards partnership with businesses and governments to realize mutual objectives, driving new approaches and business models. These partnerships will become increasingly important as the pressure for commercial organizations to contribute positively to society grows. How will your organization embrace this trend?
Questions for business leaders
What is the role of business in society?
How is our relationship with society (e.g. Regulations, behavior norms, consumer expectations) changing today? What are the implications?
- Who are the key stakeholders that we need to engage with in the emerging NGO landscape to be able to make the contribution we want to?
The GT Report: Non-Governmental Organizations offers food for thought, analysis and profiles of some leading international NGOs to help you as you tackle these questions.