What's in a name? The story of an NGO rebranding

Said Sefu, a mason, helps build one of the houses at a resettlement project site supported by Homeless International in Chamazi, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Will changing the NGO’s name help it attract more donors and investors? Photo by: Rémi Kaupp / Homeless International / CC BY-SA

On Sept. 16, Homeless International will be no more — at least in name.

The U.K.-based charity will be announcing its new name, a significant milestone in the organization's years of soul searching and role redefining in an increasingly competitive industry, where small and midsize nongovernmental organizations are forced to innovate and find ways to remain not only financially afloat but also relevant. Some go for mergers, others agree to be absorbed by larger aid groups and yet others choose to rebrand.

According to CEO Larry English, the organization has been undergoing an internal reform process for years, in part because of rising demand from local partners in developing countries to increase its investment portfolio to match their operational needs.

Homeless International was initially established in 1984 as a trust fund to mark the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless in 1987. It was supposed to end its mandate that same year but high demand for its services, especially in developing countries, led to a new entity that was set up in 1989 under the same name — providing a mix of seed funding and capital finance to NGOs working in urban slums all over the world.

This article is for Devex Members

For full access to the content of the article sign in or join Devex.

About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.