Private development assistance is an increasingly important funding source for NGOs

Private development assistance is an increasingly important funding source for NGOs

NGOs provide around two-thirds of private development assistance (PDA). Financial reports from a group of 31 international development NGOs suggest that private sources are becoming increasingly important.

Over the period 2006-2011, private income of 31 NGOs increased by 37%. To provide a comparison, official income of these NGOs increased by 30%.

Individuals are the largest source of PDA funds going through NGOs, providing 41% of NGO private income in 2011. However, income from individuals only grew by 68% over 2006 and 2011, while foundation funding grew by 327% and corporate funding by 117%, and “own source” funds (private income generated by NGOs themselves) also grew rapidly by 105%.

But the source of a large proportion of NGOs’ private income is undefined due to a lack of sufficiently detailed reporting by NGOs. In-kind assistance is not always attributed to a specific source, yet it has grown by 88%. Based on NGOs’ reports, a large share of in-kind assistance includes corporate donations of medical or other equipment.

There have been calls for NGOs to improve their transparency, from partner governments and civil society. Transparency is improving, for example through reporting to the International Aid Transparency Initiative standard. Better data are essential to understand who benefits from PDA, where and when, and vital to developing country governments’ capacity to effectively manage the available resources to reduce poverty.

Data are available in Excel and CSV format.


NGOs include civil society organisations.

Source: NGOs’ financial reports

For full details on methodology and sources see forthcoming report.


Development Initiatives, Measuring Private Development Assistance (forthcoming, June 2014)

Factsheet on NGO resources for development.

Development Initiatives, Investment to End Poverty (September 2013)