NGO Management – Michael Edwards and Alan Fowler (eds)

Over the last decade NGOs have moved from ‘ladles in the global soup kitchen’ to a force for transformation in global politics and economics. Literature on effectively managing NGOs has also exploded. However, this enormous body of knowledge and expertise is widely dispersed across books, journals and other media, often making the process of searching for specific information long and hard. NGO Management brings together a range of key readings, organized according to the major challenges that NGOs face in their work.

The editors have brought together, in the almost 500 pages of this reader, a selection of key writings on how NGOs can position and organize themselves to achieve maximum impact and effectiveness. The reader focuses attention on ‘non-governmental development organizations’ or NGDOs, which are intermediaries working primarily on issues of poverty and injustice within ‘developing’ countries. NGDOs see social change as the ultimate goal of their activities, defined very broadly to mean a world without poverty, violence, injustice and discrimination.

Despite their diversity, NGDOs face a common core of challenges for management and organizational development. The editors have employed a definition of ‘management’ that is broader than mere techniques of decision-making, finance and human resources. As the reader makes clear, effective management requires:

  • articulation of a clear and common vision for the organization and a set of strategies to achieve it;
  • mobilization of all the necessary human, financial and intellectual resources and external contacts and connections that are required to operate these strategies effectively; and
  • continuous readjustment of strategy and structure in a changing context, implying an intimate relationship between organizational processes and a dynamic internal and external environment.

The reader is almost encyclopaedic, covering management themes as diverse as ‘vision, values and roles’, ‘strategy’, ‘managing growth’, ‘strengthening governance’, ‘good development practice’, ‘measuring achievement’, ‘learning’, ‘mobilizing resources’, ‘dealing with gender’ and ‘human resources’. The list of contributors is also quite impressive, bringing to this volume a rich and global diversity of thought and expertise. Each contributor has provided insights based on thought-provoking experiences gained over many years of involvement in the field.

The various contributors have tackled diverse management issues with a combination of academic excellence and grassroots-level simplicity and practicality. NGO Management is a celebration of the management challenges facing NGDOs in the developing world.

Noshir H Dadrawala is Executive Secretary of the Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy, Mumbai, India. He can be contacted at

NGO Management
Michael Edwards and Alan Fowler (eds) Earthscan £18.95

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