Mapping Best Practice Guidelines in working with Civil Society Organisations 

2nd April 2022
Author: Juliet Millican

This report sets out to map the different guidance documents available on how to work most effectively with civil society in the delivery of international aid in ways that deepen democracy and advance the rights of marginalised or excluded groups.

It includes a review of guidelines published by other key international development funders and implementors written for their own teams, an overview of guidance provided for DAC members within OECD countries and policy papers on cooperation between the state and CSOs. It looks primarily at documents produced in the last ten years, between 2011 and 2021 and includes those related to cooperation on specific issues (such as drugs policy or human rights, as well as those that deal with specific countries or regions (such as Europe or the MENA region).

The majority of documents identified are written by government aid departments (eg USAID, Norad) but there are one or two produced by umbrella civil society organisations (such as Bond) or international legal think tanks (such as ICNL, the International Centre for Not for Profit Law).

There was a remarkable consistency between the issues Millican addressed in the different documents although their size and length varied between outline guidance on 2 – 3 pages and a comprehensive (62 page) overview that included definitions of civil society, range of organisations, reasons for collaborating, mechanisms for financing, monitoring and ensuring accountability and challenges in and guidance on the ways in which donors might work with CSOs.

Download Report
Suggested Citation

Milican J. (2022). Mapping Best Practice Guidelines in working with Civil Society Organisations. K4D Helpdesk Report 1082. Institute of Development Studies. DOI: 10.19088/K4D.2022.092


2nd April 2022


Continent: Global