What is the purpose of this project?
The purpose of this project is to increase our understanding of what the UK-based international development NGO sector looks like as a whole. We ask: how many different organisations are there are of different sizes? How do growth rates vary across the sector? How are organisations related to each other through their collaborations, funding sources, and their social and media networks? What aspects of international development do different organisations support? Where are organisations based, where do they operate, and with whom do they collaborate internationally?

At present there are no ready answers to these questions and this research aims to provide them. Understanding the sector through this research will allow for more strategic thinking across the sector and by individual actors within it. In addition, we hope these answers will improve the ability of the development NGO sector to respond to stakeholders (such as DfID) who are looking for opportunities for strategic engagement with it as a whole, rather than with select organisations.

What will the project produce?
The project will provide an overview of the structure, networks and foci of the development NGO sector – effectively producing a ‘map’ of the sector in the UK, which has previously been lacking. We will make our data available in the public domain for anyone to use and download via this website. We will write short briefing papers about the main findings, as well as blogs. Finally, we will write-up longer articles aimed at academic audiences. Putting data into the public domain may sound scary, but all the information we use is there already, in NGOs’ annual reports. It has just not been compiled in the way that we are doing. Moreover, we will give organisations a chance to check and review our data before they are released. We strongly believe that the more open and accessible this sort of thing is, the better for everyone.

Who is funding the project?
This research is jointly funded by the Sheffield Institute for International Development at the University of Sheffield and the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester. The project is being undertaken by research staff and assistants, who you can find out more about here.

What will happen to any information I provide?
We have collated information from publicly available sources. We want to check these data, and the information you provide will be used to correct any mistakes and/or gaps in these records.

We will use the data to conduct various analyses on the patterns of activity and partnerships, and make our findings publicly available.

Dan Brockington, who co-leads the project in Sheffield, has done this sort of thing before and the results of that work are visible here.

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