Internationalization for voluntary organizations

A definition of internationalisation

The internationalisation of organizations, enterprises and other types of associations is a complex process, which can be explained from many different points of view depending on the context given. Therefore, providing a simple and easy to understand definition can be quite challenging.

An initial approach to a definition of this phenomenon could be the following: The internationalisation of organizations/enterprises is the result of the implementation of several different strategies which take into account the resources and capacities of the given organisation/enterprise, as well as its own opportunities (and threats) in its international setting, with the objective of moving its activity, either totally or partially, to that international setting, generating different kinds of flows (knowledge, resources, financial…) between the countries involved. Or, in other words, to go global.


This set of international operations leads the way to the establishment of different links between that enterprise/organisation and international markets, but this does not mean that non-profit organisations, as we will see next, are outside of this reality: Considering their goals, related to solidarity and international cooperation, such organisations are actually really prone to growing inside their own international “markets”. This growth is explained because of the high demand of those kind of services nowadays existing in underdeveloped countries.

Therefore, if we focus on non-profit organisations such as voluntary organisations, going international is actually growing exponentially through the creation of international links and the implementation of their activity in other countries and situations, developing specific projects either alone or with other partners in those countries. This will increase the reach of its actions and provide access to more resources and funds, as well as visibility in an international setting, increasing awareness about their field of work. Onn the other hand, costs will rise as a result.. The perfect balance between those extra costs and the extra funds obtained will be the key to success when internationalising your organisation, as we will see in the following units.