What we think

Strategy in uncertainty

10th March 2023 Posted by: Ethicore

Original photo by Farrel Samuel on Unsplash

Post 1 of the ‘Strategy in uncertainty’ series

What if you didn’t follow your strategic plan, but it guided you on your journey? 

In our increasingly fragile world, we need to stay ever more alert to the threats of pandemics, conflict and climate change disrupting and destabilising the systems in which we operate.  The risk of shocks to the system are real – just look at the Covid disruption. Predictable surprises, like FCDO dramatic cuts to development funding, may be even more regular as long-term trends are accelerated. 

This challenges traditional models of strategic planning, where assumptions could be made for the planning period.  Now is the time for agility.  The role of the strategic plan has changed.  The agile strategic plan sets the ambition and goal, the general direction and the parameters for impact, guiding decision making along the way.  This allows the space to respond and adapt to opportunities and challenges, while keeping a laser-like focus on impact.  It requires an engaged team, who own the direction, and a strong external focus to navigate through.  In this blog series we will deep dive into the fundamentals for strategic planning and engagement in a time of agility.   

By Rachael Clay

A message for 2023, from all of us at Ethicore

20th December 2022 Posted by: Rachael

It is such a privilege to know how many of you incredible people are making change happen day in, day out. You let us in to your world and we experience your passion and commitment to impact. It gives us hope.

This year we have worked with remarkable people and organisations who are working to: support communities in West Africa; increase socio-economic impact of conservation; strengthen the UKs position on development, tackle corruption, support people living with HIV/AIDs, scale access to WASH, provide advice to vulnerable people, deliver climate justice, decarbonise banks, and engage people with our lovely planet.

We know that 2023 will see the same love and energy flowing towards people and planet. Thank you.

This year, your seasonal message is in support of: 

  • Emmaus: Providing a home and meaningful work for people who have experienced homelessness.  
  • DEC Pakistan Floods Appeal: Providing urgent relief to the millions in Pakistan whose lives have been devastated by the floods. 
  • Client Earth: Providing environmental change through the power of the law. 

Happy ReNew Year from Ethicore

15th December 2021 Posted by: Ethicore

This year we have worked with remarkable people and organisations striving to positively impact people and planet. People going above and beyond to creatively explore regenerative business, sustainability in food retail, tax reform and anti-corruption, support for communities with HIV/AIDs, housing access, universal WASH, sustainable pulp and paper, global health and sustainable development. It is a pleasure and a privilege to collaborate on such missions.

We hope that 2022 renews the energy, support and commitment to make a positive impact – whatever you do.
Happy ReNew Year!

This year, your seasonal message is in support of:
EMMAUS – a homeless charity offering active support to formerly homeless people and those at risk of homelessness.
DEC Coronavirus Appeal – Supporting people who are vulnerable and where vaccination rates are low.
Independent Food Aid Network – working so that everyone can afford to buy adequate, healthy, nutritious food.


Disrupted Development Funding 2030

2nd September 2021 Posted by: Rachael

Of the image the photographer said: "During our road trip on highway 66 we stopped at a local shop and I spotted in a dark corner this old map with pins and currencies left by visitors from all over the planet."
With thanks to Christine Roy and Unsplash for the use of the image. She interestingly informs us that the image was taken “during [a] road trip on Highway 66 [when] we stopped at a local shop and I spotted in a dark corner this old map with pins and currencies left by visitors from all over the planet.”

As the damage of the pandemic continues globally, with 100 million more people pushed into extreme poverty1, the disruption in development funding is in critical focus.  Devastating cuts to aid are already being felt.  Fundraisers are adapting to the shift in aid spending and seeking routes to close the immediate funding gap.  Once seen as an area for exploration, the ability to unlock development finance is now essential. Significant not just to access established funding from institutions, but to close the gap to the ambition of the SDGs. 

The environmental movement has demonstrated that leveraging finance can mobilise large scale climate investments. The Dutch Fund for Climate and Development leverages institutional funds from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with leadership of the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank, and WWF2.  Or the Blue Impact Fund from WWF and Finance Earth, focuses on the UK sustainable Blue economy.  NGOs are benefitting from private finance to pursue their missions. 

Development Impact Bonds (DIBs) show how finance can help tackle development challenges, with government funding to underwrite the outcomes.  The British Asian Trust is demonstrating results after two years of running the largest education DIB the Quality Education India DIB.  While still not mainstream, and technical to set up, the leading DIBs indicate this is a credible funding route, alongside other finance mechanisms. 

The challenge for INGOs is to speak the language of finance and build the capacity of institutional fundraisers or new teams to operate in this space.  Sharing capacity with global partners and moving beyond ideology will also be needed.  It is time to be bold to regain losses and boost progress on Agenda 2030. 

By Annabel Marks and Rachael Clay 


1ODA in 2020: Key facts from OECD DAC preliminary aid data – Development Initiatives (devinit.org) 

2 Dutch Fund for Climate and Development is supported by Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank, FMO, working with WWF and SNV. 

HOPE for 2021

16th December 2020 Posted by: Rachael

This year we have been privileged to work on: forests, decarbonising transport, WASH, best practice in HIV programmes, creating global prosperity, making nature pay, the future of work, tackling tax and corruption and improving shelter and housing, with some of the highest impact NGOs, funders, corporates and institutions.


Through turbulent times we have seen some of the best of human nature.  We have seen partners sensitively adapt their plans, funders increase support, collaborators solve problems and organisations prioritise issues and purpose.  It gives us hope for 2021.  Hope for a commitment to tackle climate change, action on inequality and true collaboration on the SDGs.


Here’s to 2021.