Strategy & Research

Intelligence & Effective action

Changes in global social and economic trends and a challenging funding environment mean that non-profit organisations need coherent, inspiring and relevant strategic plans more than ever. Supporters, donors and beneficiaries are keen to know if they are living up to their mission and vision, if they are appropriately communicating their messages, and if they are fully aware of the risks they face. The answers to these questions are often difficult to come by, particularly when these need to reflect the realities of a variety of stakeholders.

ODS is skilled in supporting organisations in assessing and articulating their strategies. Our understanding of our client’s needs is rooted in careful analysis and an awareness of the socio-cultural context of their work. We work together with our clients in participative processes to help them think through longer-term objectives and plan for resilient programming despite a changing environment.

Furthermore, as we work with clients engaged in a wide variety of policy processes and have staff with strong previous experience in policy, ODS is able to provide intelligence on trends, effective advocacy strategies, political insights and many other areas relevant to civil society. 

Case Study

Lessons Learned

A case study of anti-racism organisations in Brussels

Life is not getting any easier for many non profit organisations in Brussels. Financial problems due to the economic crisis, the change towards more project driven EU funding, increased scrutiny by the media and the general public are among the many challenges facing EU NGO’s.

As a result, non-profit organisations are expected to work more efficiently and more effectively and meet ever higher standards of transparency and accountability. The competition for scarce resources is growing. At the same time, the EU itself is under attack, which reflects negatively on all organisations working in Brussels.

These kinds of problems are even more relevant for CSOs working in the field of migration, refugees, anti-racism and discrimination at EU level, as unfortunately the issues they cover are relatively low on the priority list of politicians and policy makers. As a consequence, they often get little support in terms of public policy and funding. Their beneficiaries are demonstrably unpopular with policy makers and have real and persistent trouble interesting public authorities for their needs or demands.

ODS has worked with quite a number of these organisations and has advised them on how to solve their internal and external challenges. We have supported changes in organisational structure, have guided transitions to greater professionalism of management and have suggested revisions of their governance structure. In addition, external communication and fundraising issues can place a substantial burden on these organisation and our external help has proven very useful in solving these problems.

Read the ODS report on our lessons learned from our work with anti-racism organisations