Our services are based on the idea that progress requires organisation. ODS can help organisations improve, take non-core tasks off their hands, evaluate and learn, but also strategise, connect, challenge and offer fresh perspectives. We are supportive but challenging, are innovative and practical, and strive to be ambitious, modest and kind all at once.

Organisational Development

In addition to providing longer-term support in change or organisational strengthening processes, ODS also supports clients with more specific issues pertaining to their organisation. All these services can be provided independently, combined or as part of a longer-term engagement. As every organisation is unique and is facing unique challenges, the combination of services best suited to the organisation in question is discussed at or before the start of a project. 

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Our approach is built on understanding the organisation, its people and their work, and facilitating a collaborative process to assess the needs of an organisation and its capacity to absorb change. This knowledge will lead to the development of an Organisational Roadmap or change plan, in which actions are sequenced and planned realistically. Together with regular evaluation of progress and adjusting the process if necessary, this constitutes an effective iterative approach to organisational development.

Unforeseen circumstances or more generally, the need to maintain an agile organisation, may require an experienced external manager to step in and support or lead an organisation from day one. At ODS, we offer such interim management on an individual basis or even involving more than one of our most senior colleagues with deep experience in CSO management. Clients can also rely on the rest of ODS' experienced team to support the organisation during this interim period, as needed. 

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Membership organisations are distinct from single NGOs in the diversity of their members.This leads to risks in coming to common action but also offers substantial potential benefits. Working with many such membership organisations as well as with donors such as MAVA Foundation, the European Commission and Open Society Foundations on network issues, ODS has built up its expertise on how CSO networks function and what the conditions for success are. 

Strategy & Research

Once a strategic plan is agreed, we can support its implementation by providing advice on management structures as well as the implementation of monitoring tools. This implementation phase is crucial to benefit fully from a well-designed strategic plan as without proper management, learning and adjustment, even the best designed strategic plan will most likely fail to produce the desired impact. 

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Understanding the context in which you work, gaining knowledge of other actors within that space and determining your unique contribution, are crucial to success. Intelligence gathering helps organisations to consolidate knowledge, plan partnerships and assess potential for advocacy. Our support includes political and policy insight at regional, national and international levels.

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Using our experience working with a broad range of clients, including donors, CSOs, networks and public entities, we can design research frameworks which capture certain aspects of working in civil society in a more systematic way. Our consultants with research experience are then able to do the literature reviews, combined with fieldwork if needed, to produce reports, presentations or matrices, which are thorough, sound and most importantly, useful.

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We support our clients throughout the development of multi-annual strategies for entire organisations or individual programmes. We do this through advice, facilitation of brainstorming sessions, workshops, and stakeholder consultations. Throughout the drafting process, we can then synthesise inputs from multiple sources, and support the development of implementation and accountability plans. We have experience advising clients on multi-annual strategic plans, as well as advocacy, fundraising or communication strategies.

Monitoring & Evaluation

Anticipating the potential impacts of an intended activity, programme or policy can help implementers in the planning phases of projects to clarify ideas and tell a compelling story to prospective donors. Developing M&E frameworks early on can support programme implementation from Day 1 and make sure that monitoring data is collected throughout.

When planning an activity or programme, you want to make the most of your resources to achieve the greatest possible impact. Oftentimes it is hard to see the bigger picture and clearly mark the path from idea to impact.

Strong M&E systems allow organisations to learn through collecting and analysing data on their programmes. They also support the development of staff, who can better understand the linkages between activities and results. Evaluation summaries are useful in sharing lessons across teams and organisations.

Building M&E capacity strengthens organisations. It allows teams and management to understand evidence about programmes and adapt strategies based on these insights. It also allows organisations to find and highlight their best practices towards their stakeholders and peers. 

Taking a retrospective look at an activity, programme or policy, and its outcomes and impacts. Ex-post evaluations build a context-specific story around activities with a beginning (baseline), middle (implementation) and end (outcomes and outputs).

Capturing the effects of activities during implementation. The information gathered during this process can guide, and revise implementation with the best available evidence.

Weaving meaningful monitoring practices and evaluation into projects as early as possible can improve efficiency, effectiveness and the relevance of activities, particularly to the advantage of beneficiaries, implementers and funders. 

Toolkits & Facilitation

As experienced organisational development experts, ODS consultants can step in and facilitate a meeting in the way you think is best suited to the objectives of that meeting. A good external facilitator can ensure equal participation, keep to the agenda and capture outcomes. Our facilitators can also do more, animating the discussions or collective activities, or even leading discussions by challenging assumptions, feeding in additional information or our expertise, and taking responsibility for the outcomes of the meeting. 

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Many recurring activities benefit from well-designed templates or checklists, to ensure consistency, lower the risk of omitting important questions and communicate clearly to others what they can expect from these activities. ODS has developed a range of templates and checklist to be tailored to the specific needs of the organisation. 

ODS Provides (among others):