Megan Campbell

23 May, 2017

What do people want to make their lives better? Are we helping them get it? If not, what should we be doing differently?

These are simple questions. Sometimes, we mistake them as trivial or think that we already know the answers. When I led a water and sanitation programme in Malawi I believed that people in Malawi needed clean water. I believed I could help them get it by helping local governments build their capacity to construct and repair water infrastructure. I saw plenty of evidence that what I was offering matched what was needed and wanted. I knew about confirmation bias, knew that communities and local government officials were likely to praise my programme rather than risk losing free support, but I believed that I had strong enough relationships to be hearing the truth. MORE

Kimberly Coletti

16 May, 2017

Save the Children, in its founding, was a form of innovation—it was certainly a disruptive idea. Nearly 100 years ago in 1919—as Europe and the world reeled from the devastating effects of the First World War—a young British woman named Eglantyne Jebb made the argument for the first time that children had rights.  This thought, coupled with Jebb’s call to aid orphans of the war in Eastern Europe was unheard of and deeply unpopular. But she persisted, believing that children were innocent of the crimes of their parents and entitled to rights as individuals. She founded Save the Children because she saw a wrong and was determined to right it—and the regular way of doing things simply wasn’t going to fix things. MORE

Marc Maxmeister

9 May, 2017


Think about how you met the most important people in your life? Did you open up the sports page of the newspaper and check their stats? Did you have a meeting with your friends and weigh the character of all the people you could go on a date with? And yet that is how nonprofit funders claim to approach their relationships in this world. They want to be “strategic” and “evidence based” when what would really transform our approach to solving a problem is to be more human, to be a better listener, and to be emotionally present in a long-term relationship. As a PhD neuroscientist turned data scientist, you’d expect me to argue for the primacy of evidence in decision-making. Instead, I’m a believer that being human first will lead us to the evidence that matters most. MORE

Alexia Skok

16 August, 2016

In 2016, disruptive factors are being whirled04_Certain around civil society in what can feel like a ceaseless tornado of governmental crackdowns, natural disasters, digital revolutions, and global human movement – just to name a few.

So how can civil society organisations (CSOs) prepare for – and overcome – these ever-changing obstacles that affect both their internal and external operations?

Over the past month, leaders and innovators from within the sector responded to this very question in a series of blog entries, covering topics including: preparedness and leadership; business involvement in the sector; the pressing need for Northern CSOs to learn from the South; and paving the way for development mutants. Here are some highlights from our blog series on Managing Disruption: MORE

Joanna Maycock

8 March, 2016

At the European Women’s Lobby, we unite women’s organisations from across Europe fighting for a Feminist Europe in which gender equality is a prerequisite to achieving the well-being of all people and the planet. As part of our campaigning platform, we call for women to be at the heart of decision-making in politics, government, business, institutions, and in civil society.

EWL Young Feminist Summer School 2015 © Isabella Borelli

There has been increasing public attention to the lack of women in political and economic decision making overall: more than 75% of national parliamentarians and more than 80% of members of corporate boards are men. However, very little attention has been paid to the failure of our own sector to address gender inequality in leadership. Most of the evidence I have seen suggests that around 75% of all the staff employed in civil society organisations (CSOs) are women, but less than 30% of the leaders of the largest CSOs are women. But this is not only about having more women operating within a system, it is also about transforming the nature of the systems of decision-making to ensure they are more inclusive, diverse and effective. At its core it is about reconsidering what leadership skills and attributes, and what institutions and structures, are needed for transformative leadership in the 21st century. MORE