Project Management Career — NGOs and Disaster-Emergency Relief

Filed under Career | Posted by PMStudent

An awesome question came into my email inbox the other day. This article contains important information for those of you interested in working for an NGO or similar organization, and an important case study in networking.

Hello Josh,

I am a human and medical science graduate with several year experience in diverse roles including

  • Events management
  • Hotel management
  • Charity marketing director
  • Ambulance control room shift officer

I have been reflecting on where I want to go with my career and am particularly interested in trying to get into project management of disaster/emergency relief work with NGO’s/

Could you give me any advice; specifically whether traditional project management qualification such as prince2 are even used in these scenarios?

Thank you so much. It has been very difficult finding information on this subject

Kind Regards


Networking Case Study

What an excellent question! I haven’t had much experience specifically with Disaster/Emergency Relief — so I reached out to my existing network and built some new network connections to see if I could help Ellen find answers to her questions.

(Hint: This is a good example of how networking is a continuous process, not an event. It’s about building and strengthening relationships by helping people, not about trying to sell yourself in a cheesy way at cocktail parties–although cocktail parties are good places to help people too.)

This happens all the time and this situation in particular seemed like a great one to share with the?pmStudent tribe. A Google and LinkedIn search revealed a few people I could ask for help. I’ve known Andrew Stitt of the PMI Educational Foundation?for years, and I knew this organization does some work with NGOs from past conversations we’ve had and a bit of Google research to delve deeper.

Andy provided lots of great resources that you’ll see below, and also connected me with John Cropper who is the Director of Project Management Services at LINGOs and a great resource.

I set up a phone call with John, and you can listen to our conversation below.

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(Go here if the audio player isn’t showing up.)


These came from Andy and John, as well as some of my own research on this topic. Take advantage of them!

PM4NGOs website?and LinkedIn Group?(join this group!) and the PMD Pro 1 Certification –?From their about page: “PM4NGOs (Project Management for Non-Governmental Organizations) aims to optimize international NGO project investments by enabling project managers to be reflective, professional practitioners who learn, operate and adapt effectively in complex project environments. As a group of international relief, development, and conservation organizations, PM4NGOs works together and collaborates with private sector companies, professional organizations, and universities to achieve this goal.”

LINGOs?(Learning in NGOs) — “By providing a community for sharing learning resources and experiences, and the latest learning technologies and courses from our partners, LINGOs helps international NGOs increase the skill levels of their employees and therefore increase the impact of their programs.” ?(hint: check out their?list of member organizations?to find companies to target for job prospects)

Project Management Methodology for Post-Disaster Reconstruction (PMMPDR) — From the download page: “PMI?s?Project Management Methodology?was developed for global application by relief agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and/or governments following a major disaster.”

Oxfam International — “Oxfam is an international confederation of 15 organizations working together in 98 countries and with partners and allies around the world to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice.”

REDR UK — “We relieve suffering caused by disasters by selecting, training and providing competent and committed personnel to humanitarian programmes worldwide.”

Humanitarian Logistics Association — “…an individual membership association for humanitarian logistics professionals committed to increase humanitarian logistics effectiveness.”

Enhancing Learning and Research for Humanitarian Assistance (ELRHA) — ?”ELRHA aims to see a global humanitarian community where humanitarian actors actively collaborate with higher education institutes to develop highly professional responders, share expertise and carry out research that noticeably reduces risk and ensures that those suffering from the impact of disasters receive more timely, relevant and sustainable assistance.”

VSO International — “VSO is the world?s leading independent international development organisation that works through volunteers to fight poverty in developing countries.

VSO’s high-impact approach involves bringing people together to share skills, build capabilities, promote international understanding and action, and change lives to make the world a fairer place for all.”

Mercy Corps?(based out of Portland, OR, USA) — “Our mission: to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities”


If you have follow up questions, please leave them in the comments section. I’ll do my best to get the right people to answer them for you.