Saturday, February 7, 2015
This is an article reflecting on the "corporatization" of NGOs, meaning their transition from smaller, community-based, volunteer-focused organizations responding to concrete local problems, to larger, professionalized, cash-focused organizations taking their cues from prevailing funding opportunities. The author worries that, when one organization or the bulk of organizations as a whole shift from bottom-up drivers of social change to mercantile respondents to top-down status quo priorities, it ends up weakening the remaining organic, grass-roots efforts to really drive social change. It strengthens the status quo! I hadn't reflected on this before, but it has often occurred to me that a fundamental change happens when an organization shifts from small and volunteer-based to bigger and reliant on paid staff. The motivations, the types of projects it takes on, and the community buy-in all often suffer, even as the organization may become more financially successful. This article begins to explain what I'd observed anecdotally before.