Network & membership development

Membership organisations are distinct from single NGOs in the diversity of their members.This leads to risks in coming to common action but also offers substantial potential benefits. Working with many such membership organisations as well as with donors such as MAVA Foundation, the European Commission and Open Society Foundations on network issues, ODS has built up its expertise on how CSO networks function and what the conditions for success are. 

Crucial is to find the right balance between using the added value of network organisations - including representation of smaller or less powerful CSOs, agility, horizontal learning, increased advocacy capacity and reach, and additional fundraising opportunities - while also ensuring effective, cost-efficient and sustainable collaboration. This is especially challenging in multinational or even global networks. It is our strong belief that network organisation will continue to play a crucial part in civil society if it is able to find this balance.

We also strongly believe it is possible, if a light yet effective governance model is designed, if clear network objectives are set which are different from the goals of the individual CSOs, if the people in the network are given the opportunity to take risks, be creative and take ownership of their work, and if technological tools are implemented which allow effective cross-border collaboration and communication. 

ODS Provides:

  • Network (governance) models
  • Membership development & engagement strategies
  • Supporting the implementation of membership strategies
  • Membership rules & procedures
  • Facilitating & organising network meetings
  • Assessing network strength for donors