The Importance of Funding for NGOs

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It is interesting that funding seems to be a rather immediate concern when discussing sustainability of NGOs, be they local, national, or international. Funding is integral as it permits for the existence of NGOs as well as sustains their operations. All things considered, it is an important aspect as without adequate funding NGOs would be unable to meet their objectives and realize their vision. However, it can also become a purpose in itself as securing funding to sustain an NGO can subvert initial intentions; even lead NGOs astray from pursuing their missions.

Besides the obvious need for funding, an integral aspect to NGO sustainability relates to the relationships formed, nurtured, and perpetuated. After all, NGOs are nothing without their members and the communities they serve; they depend on volunteers and partners to realize and implement programs; and they need private, public, and individual contributions to sustain their operations. Building successful relationships, partnerships, and other cooperative arrangements not only contributes to achieving organizational goals, but also links NGOs to their constituents, their unmet needs and concerns. Therefore, one tool for NGO sustainability relates to the ability to establish relationships and partnerships with others. Turning the point around, independence and insulation may limit NGOs influence, its ability to advocate policy and reach its target population.

According to the UNDP (2014), “The quality of management of a nation’s economic, social, and political affairs, or governance, is the single most important influence on the extent to which its human and natural resources are used for the benefit of all, now and in the future.” The statement also applies to NGO as ...

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...them to take on future challenges and allow them to adapt to a variety of environments – changing, dynamic, and evolving. Critically evaluating operations can improve activities and programs as well as enhance their ability to shape and advocate policies. Moreover, it can create and expand technical expertise, add and incorporate new ideas/information, as well as permit for the inclusion and assessment of diverse perspectives. As a result, learning is an integral tool for NGO sustainability.


United Nations Development Program. (2014). Home. Retrieved from

VanSant, J. (n.d.). Challenges of local NGO sustainability. Retrieved from Duke Center for International Development:

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