In order to contribute to the strengthening of the ecosystem of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), since 2018 Humanize has implemented a cross-cutting program which is integrated to the areas of Sustainability and Public Management.
In Brazil, most CSOs are small and have weak and disjointed operations, which points to challenges such as long-term sustainability. In this sense, Humanize believes that many organizations need to find ways to: act strategically and systematically; rescue purpose, redefine role in the scenario, realign performance; optimize resources, expand the reach of results and enhance the impact of actions; develop skills and abilities. In the program’s view, the Third Sector needs to be proactive, influential and innovative, in addition to collaborating with the implementation of public policies and perennial locals’ transformations.
To promote development, our diagnosis involves:
• Openness and commitment of the leadership – recognition of organizations that have leaderships which are involved in institutional development;
• Co-construction – exchanges between donor and beneficiary/donee about the path to be followed;
• Network promotion – encouraging knowledge exchange and collaboration between organizations aiming the work in the territory, on the subject of action and institutional challenges;
• Patient support – medium term investment (three years) to consolidate intended changes and results of institutional development support agreed upon;
• Policy, governance and participation issues – for example, encouraging greater representation, inclusion and equality.
Facing the challenges of the sector, the program structured its four thematic axes. The first one deals with a systemic vision, involving systemic leadership, networking – with alliances for collaboration and strengthening of the ecosystem, diagnosis of gaps and synergistic action in the topics and territories. The second axis addresses strategic thinking and works on points such as strategic planning (mission, vision, purpose, objectives and goals), fundraising strategy, strategic communication and Theory U (a learning method that is innovative and applicable to businesses).
The program’s third and fourth axes address, respectively, technical and management skills. On the one hand, there is technical knowledge, team development and the ability to innovate in people and processes, as well as to influence decision-making. On the other, there are technical issues involving financial, accounting and legal capabilities, in addition to processes, monitoring and evaluation, projects management, Advocacy and Governance.
To contribute to the institutional development of CSOs, it is essential to conduct initiatives in partnership. Therefore, whenever possible, Humanize involves other partner donors in the journey of strengthening organizations. The idea is to share financial investments and responsibilities, achieving more consistent and long-term results.
In the course of the area within the Institute, the collaborative path has expanded over the years. In 2018 there were two projects with 23 CSOs strengthened in the “Third Sector Transforms” (“Terceiro Setor Transforma” in Portuguese). A year later, three projects involved 16 CSOs in the Strategic Planning and Resource Mobilization workshops, in addition to 16 participating in the “Data for Good” Workshop. In 2020, the program counted five projects. In the same year, 12 ID diagnoses were carried out, in addition to a study on the impact of Covid-19 on organizations and three CSOs strengthened (one via Humanize and two through the Covid Fund).
Addressing the general numbers specifically in the 2019-2021 cycle, this recent, and transversal, Humanize program marked its portfolio with more than 20 projects, which addressed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – mainly goal 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions). Also in this three-year scenario, Bahia and Amazonas stand out among the states that received the most support from the area’s strategy.
Working in collaboration, we understand that institutional development processes address specific issues of organizations and increase the possibility of effective results. Following this idea, in the period 2019-2021, the highlighted area achieved promising numbers, for example, about 150 organizations were served and more than 250 leaders and members of senior teams of CSOs were formed and engaged in the institutional development framework of the CSOs that they are part of.
Nowadays, there are 11 with a forecast pointing to 37 strengthened CSOs, 21 of which in the Creative Leadership program (“Programa Lideranças Criativas); 10 Oceans House (Casa Oceanos); and six with direct development support via Humanize. Also recently, the program sensitized 30 CSOs in the “Impact Mission” (“Missão Impacto Social”), as well as supported an NGOs recognition platform and the creation of a network of organizations.