Paul David Ronalds is CEO of Save the Children Australia. His previous positions include service as first assistant secretary responsible for the Office of Work and Family in the Australian Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and he has also worked for World Vision Australia as deputy chief executive officer and director of strategy.
This well researched and elegantly written book aims to map out the challenges that development and humanitarian NGOs must overcome if they are to continue to play a significant role in our twenty-first century globalised world. The author, Paul Ronalds, draws on his years of experience as Director of Programs and Deputy CEO for strategy of World Vision, Australia and illustrates many of his arguments using a sometimes forensic examination of that organisation's policies and practices. This thoughtful and intelligent analysis of the social, political and economic trends shaping the role of international NGOs in the fight against poverty is a valuable resource for aid practitioners and students of international relations alike. It concisely and convincingly makes the case for fundamental change in the way civil society organizes itself to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. The Change Imperative comes at an important time in world politics, a time when the world must decide either to tackle climate change and the development challenges we face or ignore those challenges and sit idly by while billions suffer. Ronalds cogently charts the role the large International Development NGOs have played in the past while cautioning that in their past successes lie the seeds of failure. These issues must be addressed in order for INGOs to prevail and thrive in an ever more complex, stressed and geo-political world. The INGOs role in global governance is too important to be allowed to ossify, atrophy or diminish change is an imperative. Paul Ronalds points the way forward. Richly informative, full of useful facts and figures and a incisive and clear-headed analysis for any NGO leaders wanting to understand the rising trajectory of NGOs over the last twenty years, the trends affecting NGOs in the coming decades and what needs to be done to ensure that NGOs remain relevant to their mission. This book by Paul Ronalds provides a well-founded introduction to what leadership and followership are likely to mean for a twenty-first century NGO. A required reading to add to the pile. NGOs must become more adept at dealing with the growing uncertainties they face and responsibilities they choose to carry. At last, we have an insider's perspective on what could be done if the will is there. In the 21st Century, an NGO s failure to regenerate will not be for want of the clear analysis and practical advice that this book provides. In the 21st century we have realized as a global society that finding common ground on such things as climate, environment and wealth is the central challenge. INGOs have emerged as prominent players in this task and the public certainly look to INGOs as key agents for solving these daunting challenges. Leaders of INGOs have only brief organizational history and sparse literature to guide them into the future. I am grateful to Paul Ronalds for adding to the store of knowledge on this topic and believe his work will prove useful in helping INGOs to remain relevant and effective. As a leader in one of the large lumbering INGOs Paul is aiming at, I find his articulation and analysis of both the influence we have and the challenges we face very real and insightful. The changes he advocates are helpfully influenced by wider learning on organizational development. It s a book that will help INGO leaders reflect and make their organizations more effective.