Traditional strategic management approaches are criticized for being inaccurate to suit the needs of NGOs. While economization tendencies seem to continually move on within the NGO sector, this paper aims to investigate empirically competition in general within this sector, and to find out about strategic reactions of NGOs on a broad scale. In the present paper, Porter’s Five Forces (1980) are used as a theoretical framework to understand and quantify competition in the NGO sector, as well as to explore differences in terms of NGOs’ budget sizes.
For this study, over 1.200 NGOs associated with the United Nations participated in our survey. Different mean values were found in the NGOs’ assessment of various dimensions of competition and among NGOs of various budget sizes. This led to the findings that NGOs of different budget sizes perceive competition differently and show differences in their strategic reactions.
Finally, we discuss that in order to enhance their competitive position, smaller NGOs should invest in their potential in concentrating on their specific skills and on fundraising. We also argue that large NGOs might need to intensify co-operations among NGOs and private partners.