With this step they took a slightly different approach than their colleagues at ICCO who have formed a cooperative association of civil society entities each still having their non-profit status and co-owning an implementation cooperative. The cooperative provides services to its members clearly differentiating between their different causes and effective implementation modalities.
How will Cordaid inform their partners about their changed status? And what about their back donors? Will they regard this new status as non-commercial? Increasingly however, funding frameworks already open up to commercial enterprises, shifting away from their traditional development paradigm to a social investment paradigm where clear social value return on investment is expected. Does this help the world in terms of transparency and clear divisions of tasks and responsibilities? How will private donations to Cordaid be valued in future? Can citizens still deduct these contributions from their tax base?
Civil society space
Knowing the CEO of Cordaid, Mr. Grotenhuis, as a thoughtful person I assume these aspects have been considered and issues have been sorted with relevant stakeholders. However, I would say that in the end civil society space might be reduced as a result as ties between government and private entities will even grow more intimate. Individual givers may not exactly know anymore what they are supporting as the brand Cordaid will still exist, but its mixture will have changed considerably.
I suppose Grotenhuis assumes that causes of people Cordaid is currently supporting are best being served in this new fashion. I sincerely hope he is not mistaken. Being a social entrepreneur myself with my own company URAIDE, I realize that I have very few people to be accountable to, except for my clients and those I choose to be accountable to through networks like ¥OURWORLD and blogs like these or contributions to websites that are being read by peers. I hope Cordaid will manage to do the same through clear packaging of their social products with the right label on it. Cordaid is welcome to adopt the U® label for the products they develop but would be wise to safeguard their connections with their constituencies in order to align with its mission.