Possible Governance Structures/Models

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Possible Governance Structures/Models

A wide range of models exists for NGO coordination bodies, each differing slightly depending on context. These can be summarised into three possible governance structures:

·       Independent NGO model

·       Lead agency model

·       Alliance model.

These models are ‘flexible,’ and no perfect model exists. There are many variations created for specific needs of the actors involved.

Models range from very formalized structures to very informal structures, and are dependent on the members and personalities within individual NGOs. Some NGO coordination bodies or consortia start with one model and adapt over time. Changes are influenced by funding availability, changing context, the operational environment, the arrival and departure of key individuals within member NGOs, etc.

Independent NGO model

The NGO coordination body officially registers itself as an independent charity/NGO/non-profit, just as any other international or national NGO. With independent legal status it can apply directly for funding and sign grant agreements, as well as manage its systems and processes, including: signing staff contracts; renting premises; and holding bank accounts.



Simpler management processes

Financial sustainability

Ability to determine its own agenda

Maintaining engagement and interest of member organisations

Ability to develop independent networks and relationships

Difficulties of registering in the country


Lead agency model

This model is characterised by the consortium having one host/lead NGO that receives all funding directly and bears the operational, legal, and financial risks. The consortium sits within that NGO, manages its own work, and may have a separate office, separate logo, and separate salary scales and conditions. Either the member agencies themselves implement, or the Secretariat implements, the work of the consortium. Working groups are likely to be formalized in this structure.

Alliance model

Members cooperate more informally to a jointly agreed set of objectives. Any member can receive funding and directly implement activities themselves. The consortium may or may not be supported by a Secretariat or project management unit. If there is no Secretariat, the Secretariat function may rotate or be shared, and may be minimal. This model is sometimes just a collaborative platform with no formal structure except perhaps an agreed framework or principles. Working groups can be formalized or more spontaneous and reactive. There are many examples of NGOs, CBOs, governments, UN bodies, etc. coming together for a joint purpose, such as the joint regional platform to contribute to the Global Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (Latin America)


This section has been sourced from:

Hutton, J., Boeser, S. & Grootenhuis, F. (2014) A Review of Cash Transfer Programming and the Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP) 2005-2015 and Beyond , CaLP) 

Bradshaw, P., Hayday, B. and Armstrong, R. (2007) Non-profit Governance Models: Problems and Prospects , The Innovation Journal: The Public Sector Innovation Journal, Volume 12(3), 2007, Article 5).