Operations Advocacy

Operations Advocacy

To support operations professionals, Humentum has a variety of forums for sharing, learning, and development of best practices across multiple disciplines. In our senior leader forums, roundtables, and other convenings, we focus on the many ways operations adds value, supports organizational scale, and implements new approaches to adapt to emerging needs.

Over the last few years, we have seen two clear trends emerging from these discussions: first, there is growing recognition that investments in operational talent, resources, and capabilities in international NGOs are essential so that NGOs can deliver on their mission and achieve results. Second, international NGOs’ operations are becoming more local, more integrated, and more strategic, enabling the transformation of traditional organizations to emerging models with an interest in collaborating with the private sector.

Building on the growing recognition that investments in operational talent, resources, and infrastructure are essential to organizational success, Humentum has worked with sector leaders to reframe the dialogue on indirect costs and the nonprofit “overhead myth”—the belief that the ratio of overhead expenses—general and administrative costs—to programmatic expenses is the sole measure of an NGO’s effectiveness.

Since our initial co-sponsoring of the first Summit to End the Overhead Myth in 2014, Humentum has continued to convene thought leaders, NGOs, and foundations to deepen the conversation on moving beyond using nonprofit organization’s overhead ratio as a sole measure of mission success. We have collaborated with Bridgespan, GuideStar, Independent Sector, and others to advance this dialogue.

Changing the dialogue on overhead is just one way in which we are advocating for a more flexible approach in supporting NGOs to achieve their missions. Together with our members, we are exploring the opportunities found at the intersection between the private and nonprofit sectors. 

In October 2015, we joined with Pact, Mercy Corps, and Goal to announce a new forum for international NGOs engaging in impact investing and social enterprise. This forum convenes leaders from a wide range of international nonprofits active in these areas to learn, collaborate, conduct joint research, and collectively advocate for new ways to advance global development.