As someone who spent many years working or volunteering in multinational organizations and who cares deeply about international issues, I found the book to be an excellent primer for a nonprofit thinking about entering or deepening its international engagement. I truly believe that it is essential for every nonprofit to become more aware of its role in the global community. This book can get your nonprofit started. While most of the examples are from US nonprofits, in the spirit of the book, the author also includes examples from other countries. You might be surprised at the nonprofits that already have benefited from international connections, such as Chicago's StreetWise, Boston-headquartered City Year, or the Association of Fundraising Professionals. The book is easy reading and raises issues that any nonprofit will need to consider as it deepens its international involvement. It gives very helpful examples of other nonprofits that have addressed some of those issues. It is not in the scope of the book to give detailed answers to every question - for example, the mechanics of fundraising in other countries. Of particular usefulness is the author's attention to both strategic and practical advice for nonprofits going international - from big picture issues such as organizational structure to more mundane but essential challenges such as setting up phone meetings across international time zones. The book is particularly good at highlighting cross-cultural communication considerations. Ms. Koenig's 20 years of experience working with local, national and international nonprofits, and her time spent living abroad, clearly show through.
I work for a not-for-profit organization that has increased its non-US activity (as measured by revenue) by 150% in the last 10 years. Four years ago, we began considering the governance and operational implications of this change. Going Global for the Greater Good was one of the key tools we used to orient member leaders, managers and staff to what such change really entails. Her continuum, "The Six Stages of International Engagement," helped us understand where we were and to what we aspire. We were on the edge between levels 4 and 5 at that point. As a result of our work, informed by this book, we've brought in new member leaders from outside the US, added technical infrastructure in Europe, and continue to increase our non-US activity every year. A major change being contemplated in our governance structure this year (April and May 2008) could take us to the cusp of level 6.
Nonprofits considering expanding into the global arena are often overwhelmed by the complexities and sensitivities involved. Koenig's book breaks the process into practical steps for integrating global considerations into all the strategic directions and goals of the organization. It is realistic about the challenges but optimistic about possibilities. Useful features include bibliographies, an excellent index and case studies of global efforts by organizations. The book cannot be compared to any others I know of because there aren't any others. Koenig has filled a gap and filled it well.
The practical advice and examples from a variety of organizations both large and small are balanced with clear explanations of the principles as well as the personal and organizational challenges of action on the global stage. This sort of activism is not easy and Bonnie Koenig's insights are very helpful. Eve Sullivan, PARENTS FORUM®