Paper 1

Paper 1: The mission-market tension in NGOs.

NGOs often face a tension between their charitable mission and purely pragmatic/financial imperatives. In class, we discuss several examples of these tensions, including:

  • The implications of pressures from contracts with donors and governments,
  • The problems due to competitive behavior between emergency relief NGOs
  • The debate over how NGOs are best selected and evaluated.
  • Can we cut or minimize intermediaries between charitable donors and the recipients of aid?

For this assignment, you must select one of these broad areas of investigation, and explore a specific and concrete question to expand on the class material. You can use one course reading as a starting point. Or you can go a different route, depending on your interests.

Sections: Please break your essay down into at least 3 or 4 sections (each with an informative title, starting with an introduction and a conclusion). This will make your paper much easier to follow than a single block of text.

Length: about 2000 words, excluding bibliography.

Citations: As in any research paper, you must cite your sources properly and provide a formatted bibliography at the end. In IPE courses, students use the Chicago Style, Author-Date system, but you are free to follow the standard format (Chicago, APA, etc.) that you are used to in your major. Just be consistent.

Grading criteria

Presentation of argument: Your thesis should be clear and the essay should be organized to defend it.

Presentation of evidence: The concrete examples you choose must be informative and illustrate your point.

Writing: Your writing should be clear and well organized.

Quality and breadth of sources:  A general rule to follow may be a minimum of 8 academic sources PLUS as many relevant popular (blog/magazines/news) pieces you can find. Pay close attention to the quality and relevance of your sources. You need to have enough substantial academic (i.e. books and full length academic articles) as well as short or long pieces you will find on good popular magazines, blogs.There is a huge supply of popular writing on NGOs and philanthropy all over the internet, make sure you assess your sources appropriately. As far as academic materials go, there is a LOT of academic research (both in journal and book form) on NGOs, nonprofits and philanthropy.

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