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Your 5 biggest challenges and how to tackle them

We recently conducted research with 345 people from across our membership and sector to get a better idea of the challenges you face.

Our annual survey is a crucial way for us to learn more about your shared issues and obstacles so we can better support a sector that drives real global change.

At the end of 2017, we worked with ComRes to survey people from organisations of all sizes working across a diverse range of areas in roles at different levels of seniority. Below are the five biggest challenges our research identified, along with the opportunities we offer to help you overcome these issues.

Note: this survey was conducted before the sector recognised the need to drive up safeguarding standards and practices in February.

Biggest short-term challenge for organisations

41% of you said accessing DFID and other forms of funding was the biggest concern for your organisations.

We provide resources and guidance on securing sustainable funding, including our regularly updated upcoming funding opportunities page. Our funding working group is a forum for Bond members to share experiences of relationships with UK funders, including DFID, the Big Lottery Fund and Comic Relief. We also offer practical training on securing and managing DFID and other institutional funding.

Biggest long-term challenge for organisations

55% of organisations said they needed to diversify income and become financially sustainable.

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Our second annual Funding for Development Conference on 9 October is your opportunity to get insights into new models of funding to help your NGO adapt to increasing funding pressures. We also offer training on commercial contracting.

Biggest short-term challenge for the sector

42% of you are concerned about the implications of Brexit on policy influencing and financing.

We convene members and share knowledge on Brexit negotiations to ensure that the UK’s exit from the EU delivers for international NGOs and the world’s poorest. Our international development charter for the UK’s exit from the EU articulates key principles the sector wants to see to get the best deal for the world’s poorest, which we have presented to DFID. Check out our research on the implications of the UK exiting the EU on policy, funding and civil society collaboration.

Biggest long-term challenges for the sector

I’m going to highlight the two biggest concerns here, as both of these were raised by almost half of respondents.

48% of you said that you were concerned about the long-term legitimacy of international NGOs’ role within international development.

We help organisations innovate and prepare for the future through our practical frameworks and resources, including our toolkit on the future of livelihoods for developing countries.

43% of you also said the UK government’s positions and policies on international development were a big sector challenge in the long run.

We advocate to ensure the UK’s policies around development and aid are effective and transparent to enable sustainable development. We lobby government and politicians to ensure that the UK government works with the sector to deliver for the world’s poorest. We have 21 groups that advocate in a range of areas, including UK aid, disability, conflict, economic development, the SDGs and the charity operating environment.


While safeguarding wasn’t identified at the time of our survey, we are also working to support the sector to drive up safeguarding standards and practices.

Other ways to get involved

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Join a Bond group to maximise your expertise and take joint action in over 40 areas, including funding, Brexit, humanitarian wok, programmes, effectiveness, M&E, technology, campaigning and communications.

Checkout our training and events to develop your skills and better support your organisation in areas like funding, advocacy, leadership and effectiveness.