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New Report Shares Trends, Insights, and Actions to Shift Power

April 4, 2024

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New Report Shares Trends, Insights, and Actions to Shift Power

Data Synthesized from 5,000 Conversations in the Humanitarian & Development Sector

             Washington, D.C. —April 4, 2024 — Humentum, a global nonprofit focused on strengthening operations in the humanitarian and development sector, has released a new report synthesizing current trends and revealing practical ways to advance locally-led development. “Operationalizing Locally-Led Development: Cultivating a Healthy Global Development Ecosystem” also includes findings from Humentum’s second annual Equitable, Resilient, Accountable (ERA) 2023 Index.

“Last year we shared three reports, each focused on how different parts of the sector perceive and are trying to move toward effective and equitable locally led development,” said Humentum CEO Christine Sow. “This year we took an overarching approach, moving from perception and insights to concrete recommendations and action, garnered from extensive data from our convenings, our partners, and our clients, plus the 2023 ERA Index.”

Trends, Actions, and Levers

The report focuses on four key operational areas Humentum has found to be instrumental to locally-led, effective development: Institutional Architecture, Funding & Financial Systems, Risk & Compliance, and People & Culture. In each section, the report shares trends and actionable steps needed to make progress.

Institutional Architecture

Trends: Changing partnership policies and frameworks.
Actions: Testing new approaches, with multiple options gaining traction but no “one way” surfacing.

People & Culture

Trends: Equitable compensation is gaining traction, as is role-based versus geographic HQ. The line between DEIB and locally-led development is blurring.
Actions: More examination of culture, as leaders realize the key role it plays in living out organizational policies and values.

Funding & Financial Systems

Trends: While most organizations want unrestricted funding, the landscape is tight, competitive, and still too restrictive.
Actions: INGOs need to re-examine their role as an intermediary between donors and Civil Society partners; more amplification of alternative funding models and case studies.

Risk & Compliance

Trends: Growing acceptance that many requirements are outdated and burdensome.
Actions: Equitable risk-sharing and due-diligence passporting, both of which require donor cooperation.

The Ongoing Challenge of Financial Sustainability

Highlighted in the “Operationalizing Locally-Led Development” report are results from the second annual ERA Index. A self-assessment survey for INGOs, the Index measures progress on the journey toward equity, accountability, and resilience. More than 40 INGOs from Humentum’s member community participated, with revenues ranging from under $6M to more than $100M and staff sizes ranging from the dozens to the thousands.

The data shows that most organizations are between “talking and thinking about it” and “implementing systemic change” on a 4-point scale.  One area where implementation is definitely lagging: financial sustainability with diversified income and sufficient reserves.

“Part of accountability is measurement,” says Kim Kucinskas, Technical Director, Organizational Transformation, who led the survey work for Humentum.

We know shifting to more equitable, resilient operations is tough. Real change takes time. Diversifying funding sources, increasing unrestricted funds, shifting HQ to be role-based versus location-based, equitable compensation – each of those changes is incredibly complex. Today, organizations are working in an environment where they have to address them all at once. The key is to acknowledge the need to do things differently and then navigate that messy middle by taking a values-based approach to each decision, policy, process, and practice.

About Humentum

Humentum is a global nonprofit that unlocks the strategic power of operating models for social good organizations. We focus on practical solutions to improve the effectiveness of finance, people, risk, and compliance processes through the lens of equity, resilience, and accountability. We strengthen organizations through: Individual, group, and organization training; expert consulting delivered by professionals with decades of global experience; a robust membership community for peer-to-peer networking, resources, and problem-solving; and dynamic advocacy to address the sector’s most pressing operational issues.

Amanda Hinkel-Mauceri, Director of Marketing