A New Strategic Framework

I have returned from a relaxing and rejuvenating three-month sabbatical. I would like to thank Lindsay Coates for her strong and effective leadership as acting president & CEO during my absence. After fruitful discussions with InterAction members, staff, leadership, and various stakeholders, both Lindsay and I are proud to announce that the Board has finalized InterAction’s 2015-18 Strategic Plan.

As we move forward, we will collectively strive for a “sustainable world where all people live in freedom, prosperity, dignity, and peace” through leading the “global quest to eliminate poverty and vulnerability, strengthen human rights and citizen participation, safeguard a sustainable planet, promote peace, and ensure dignity for all people.” InterAction’s mission will be more rooted in its principles and our purpose rooted in our membership. 

Strategic Goal one, InterAction’s most nascent area of work, aims to “promote the ability of civil society to thrive around the world, and advance the independence and mission of its members.” We aim to increase civil society space by challenging harmful domestic and foreign counter-terror policies that compromise the ability of NGOs to operate independently and effectively. This includes coordinating with our global counterparts to highlight the value and relevance of civil society in an evolving development landscape. We will continue to support our member CEO’s ability to advance their missions and to ensure the independence of their organizations. Leadership training at our CEO Retreat and other fora will promote the ability of members to be strategic actors as they partner with other governments, civil society, and the private sector around the world. 

Strategic Goal two increases our current efforts to “mobilize members and partners to have greater collective impact.” We seek to assist members in achieving better results through elevating standards and operational practices for the NGO sector. Last month, in collaboration with Accenture Development Partnerships, InterAction hosted a successful Executive Leadership training for participating members. Building on this momentum, we plan to offer more opportunities for members to have access to cutting-edge business practices, engagement with the private sector, and innovative financing opportunities to increase overall member impact.

Strategic Goal three, InterAction’s largest area of work, continues our efforts to “convene, lead, and influence coordinated action to drive policies, practices, and behaviors that advance our mission.” We will actively influence U.S. government funding for assistance in development and humanitarian programs. We will advocate for the authorization of a comprehensive U.S. food security strategy and a successful implementation of the Water for the World Act.  InterAction also plans to raise the profile of NGOs in international platforms and multilateral organizations to make policies responsive to people in need and emphasize the role of NGOs as financiers and implementers of humanitarian and development initiatives.

I am grateful that the Board provided me with an opportunity to relax, unplug, reflect, and write on the U.S. NGO sector. I am delighted to return and I look forward to working with Lindsay, InterAction staff, and members to continue focusing and transforming InterAction’s role in a world with an array of emerging actors and shifts in the development landscape.

Samuel A. Worthington is president and CEO of InterAction, the nation's largest alliance of U.S.-based nongovernmental organizations working internationally. InterAction leads, supports, and mobilizes its members to take collective action, improve the impact of their programs, increase their global reach, and advocate for efforts that advance human well-being around the world.