Organisational and Business Development is a huge area of work in any field - and especially when volunteering in international development. Our volunteers use their skills to build the capacity of local development charities and often focus on organisational development and business planning. This area of work is particularly relevant to people taking career breaks and mid career professionals, who have strong skills in management and organisational growth. Placements in this area could involve planning, fundraising, Human Resources and finance.
Charities and civil society organisations exist to meet social needs and to advocate change. Unlike in the private sector where the aims of a company are usually clear, non-governmental organisations first have to define their aims, core objectives and strategic plans for how to bring about change. Facilitating the planning process is a valuable skill and can help an organisation to firstly identify its strengths, weaknesses and areas for development, and then to allocate the necessary resources to achieve its aims. For example, this could mean restructuring the governance of an organisation, deciding on the objectives of a new department, or helping the management team to budget for expenditure.
Fundraising is another key element of NGO management, and is linked closely to the skills of planning and project design. Organisations have to seek funding to cover their everyday costs and the costs of specific projects. This funding may come from private donations, institutional funding or from social enterprise schemes, enabling the organisation to be self-sufficient. It is the task of fundraisers to identify the most suitable source of funds and then secure the money, which will enable a charity or NGO to carry out its work. In the case of institutional funding from national or international donors, fundraisers must respond to ‘calls’ for proposals and submit detailed descriptions of their proposed project, logical frameworks (a tool used to identify the progression of a project) and realistic budgets. Successful fundraisers are adept at identifying the priorities of donors and ensuring that their proposed project meets those requirements; for those wishing to pursue a career in the third sector, this is a valuable skill to develop. Fundraising is often a suitable 'entry' role to recent graduates wanting to work in an organistaional development capacity.
The management and development of human resources is very important for civil society organisations; their staff and volunteers often have significant expertise in particular areas, which could represent a significant asset for the organisation. Volunteers in this area could work directly on the human resources polices of an organisation, helping them to manage their recruitment and staffing procedures, or could concentrate on building the capacity of the staff members in their particular areas of expertise.
The financial arrangements of non-governmental organisations are an area where knowledgeable volunteers can make a substantial contribution. In small organisations that do not necessarily have the resources to bring in finance specialists, accounting and financial planning can present a significant challenge. For non-profit organisations there is strong imperative to manage money carefully, not least because finance is often restricted, but also in order to ensure that the organisation’s resources are being put to their best use. In addition, international donors often have strict requirements about accounting procedures. Volunteers with knowledge and experience of finance, budgeting and accountancy can therefore help organisations to meet the requirements of their donors, manage their finances with more accurately and put in place long-term systems to guarantee good financial practice.
Organisational Development or Business-based Placements
2Way Development works on the basis that our volunteers build the capacity of our partners through skills sharing, rather than delivering essential services (health, education etc). That means we are far more likely to be able to place business specialists and managers from the private sector than we are teachers or doctors from the public sector. A placement involving organisational development and business would suit a mid or late career professional from any sector wanting to share strong management, finance and business skills in the NGO sector overseas.