This is a guest post from Steven Worth of Plexus Consulting. You may have heard of Steven’s great book The Power of Partnership, about association alliance-building, and also his latest book The Association Guide to Going Global. Steve and his team do really interesting work with associations, specifically around the issue of globalization, and we hope to feature more of their work and case studies on globalization on this blog in the near future. Read more in their newsletter here.
What’s the hurry?—is it a matter of life and death? Well yes, actually…..
As management consultants there is no work more simultaneously satisfying and challenging than to help not-for-profit organizations achieve their goals more efficiently and effectively—unless it is to work with not-for-profits whose organizational success or failure can literally be a matter of life or death for people and businesses. We have that privilege now in working with two not-for-profit organizations whose names deserve to be more widely known given the critical nature of the work they are doing.
The first is INSSA, the International NGO Safety and Security Association. Started with seed money from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) INSSA is intended to serve as a rallying point, training center, and standards setter for those responsible for ensuring the safety and security of international development workers living and working in dangerous places around the world. International development work, once considered to be a kind of charity, is now viewed as a strategic necessity among much of the world’s most developed nations. With this change in status, so has funding and the number of people engaged in this vital work increased. And with this increase in the number of people who are motivated and trained to do good, so has the number of violent acts against them increased. These acts in the form of theft, kidnapping, rape and murder are committed either as opportunistic criminal acts or as calculated acts of terrorism by well-organized, well trained, and well financed groups that are motivated by pure hatred.
INSSA’s mission is to enhance the professional development, and improve the safety and security capacities, of those working in the humanitarian aid and development sectors. We are helping them to find the funding, as well as to develop the training, standards development, and credentialing programs they need to fulfill their mission and to achieve sustainability as an organization. If you are a not-for-profit organization involved in development work abroad, you should look into this organization and encourage your staff to participate. It is a worthy group, doing essential work, and we are proud to be on their team.
The second group is (ISC)2 whose mission is to make society safer by improving productivity, efficiency and resilience of information-dependent economies through information security education and certification. In other words they are the people who protect the Internet from sophisticated predators those who would steal, pervert, or otherwise hinder those who legitimately use the Internet for their business, government, humanitarian, and personal needs.
As you might imagine, (ISC)2 is growing incredibly fast—in fact they are growing so fast that they are outgrowing many of the operational and governance structures that date from when (ISC)2 was started. We are helping to guide the changes that will enable their continued growth. Are the people who manage your own organization’s use of the Internet certified by (ISC)2? Perhaps you don’t know?—if not, you should look into it. Even if you barely know how to use a computer yourself, chances are you manage or at least belong to an organization that has become extremely dependent on the free and unfettered use of the Internet. Check them out. This is an organization that is going places.
The key thing that these two associations have in common is how they serve as rallying points for those who help insure that millions around the world can pursue their lives without having to worry about their personal security. Their rather routine management problems then—how to expand globally without weighing their organization down by costly and unwieldy overhead; how to develop and fund globally recognized accreditation and certification programs; and how to develop awareness and consensus on key issues in the brief amount of time that represents a critical window of opportunity—sometimes mask the nature of the roles these two organizations are fulfilling. What is at stake of course, is precisely the reason why they cannot afford to fail.