2023 CEO Insights on NGO Futures: Adapting in a Changing World

Photo by Debasish Chakraborty is licensed under the CC BY-NC 4.0 license.

2023 CEO Insights on NGO Futures: Adapting in a Changing World

International nongovernmental organization (INGO) CEOs agree—their organization’s operating environment is changing. The funding environment is changing. And in response, they are making big changes.

One hundred executives responded to the InterAction NGO Futures survey, now in its sixth edition. The report provides insights into how INGO leaders perceive the changing world and the adjustments they are making in response. It also sheds light on enduring trends that CEOs prioritize and strategies they employ to influence them, as well as challenges they face and where they feel stuck in their efforts to make an impact. Spoiler alert: “power shifting / power sharing / localization across programming” remained the top action priority for the second year in a row.

Despite obstacles, the survey reveals that CEOs are still confident in their ability to lead high-impact organizations amidst a constantly fluctuating global arena—a confidence that has been hard-won. Many organizations are making significant adaptations, such as diversifying their revenue. Open-ended survey responses indicate a number are grappling with how to excel with uncomfortably small discretionary budgets. And organizations are figuring out how to shift and share power and further enable leadership by those closest to their programs.

Section one highlights the changing world, examining transformations in the global operating and funding environments, and adaptations sparked by COVID-19. Section two looks at business, funding, programmatic, and operational advancements INGOs are making. Section three shares elements INGOs are advancing to support successful change—investing in leadership development, cultivating agility, and attuning governing boards to shifts in operating environments. Section four illuminates prioritized areas for affecting change and what organizations are doing, including in power shifting, power sharing, and localization across programming; climate; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and preventing sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment.

This is a time of great transformation in the world around us and within the organizations InterAction surveyed. See the full report to learn what organizations are experiencing, changing, and addressing. The report also curates helpful resources on topics such as our changing world; business models and finance; supporting successful change; locally led development; climate; and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Read the 2023 CEO Insights on NGO Futures: Adapting in a Changing World report here.

Plus, join us on May 17, 2023, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. EDT for the report launch. Register here.