Aligning Organizational Culture in a Global NGO

Mark Minelli

Through innovative programs and groundbreaking partnerships, Pact has been leading sustainable development efforts around the world since 1971. Working in over 25 countries throughout Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe, Pact enables lasting solutions in the areas of health, livelihoods, and natural resource management. Pact’s vision is for a world where those who are poor and marginalized exercise their voice, build their own solutions, and take ownership over their future.

Under the direction of new leadership and armed with a new strategic plan, Pact had arrived at a critical juncture in its 40-year history. Facing a shifting donor landscape and a poorly aligned internal culture, the organization needed to reinvigorate its brand to raise awareness and attract new funders. Minelli, Inc. was selected as their strategic partner in rebranding the organization.

Having never been through a comprehensive branding process, Pact did not have a strong central identity. And with nearly 200 million dollars in revenue, Pact was the biggest NGO nobody had heard of. The complexity of their business model was also leading to inconsistent and confusing messaging. The new brand needed to unite a global workforce and resonate across multiple regions, cultures, and languages.

Pact’s promise is a world where resource-dependent communities gain lasting benefits from the sustainable use of the natural resources. By attracting more funding and stronger partners, Pact is better able to generate effective and localized solutions in each of the countries in which it works. Translating Pact’s vision and the complex work of the organization into an emotionally resonant idea has been essential in empowering communities to make their own resource management decisions.

Pact was struggling to build name recognition in today’s saturated market. Founded as a membership organization, under the acronym P.A.C.T. (‘private agencies collaborating together’), Pact dissolved is membership structure and dropped the acronym in 1992. However, the organization had never fully embraced the power inherent in its new name: Pact is a promise. We found that the notion of a promise has resonance across Pact’s diverse cultures and languages while providing a simple, unifying message.

Forging more lucrative partnerships allows Pact to keep its promise to facilitate healthy lives, decent livelihoods, and sustainable natural resources that benefit communities. Following the branding exercise, Pact continues to attract additional, diverse donor funding. Most notably, the organization has been awarded grants by multinational General Electric and one of America’s oldest private foundations, the Rockefeller Foundation. These wins can be in part attributed to Pact’s more clearly defined brand and role within international development.

The Organizational Heath Index measured Pact’s current operating culture and found a 100% improvement in respect to last year’s indicators, demonstrating that the new brand played a key role in helping Pact evolve and embrace a constructive global culture. This marked improvement includes the organization’s staff showing a nearly 30% shift in individual goal setting. Additionally, the organization saw a positive increase regarding internal communication with a 25% jump from the year before.

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About Minelli, Inc.

Minelli, Inc. is an innovative brand strategy and design firm. Our work creates momentum and positive change for organizations by making their vision understandable and beautiful. We call this unique process “vision made visible” and have successfully used it to forge internal alignment and drive external awareness for an extremely diverse range of clients.