„YMCA Europe is a working fellowship to strengthen movements where people grow in body, mind and spirit.“


22nd November 2018

Movement Strengthening process starts now! All National Movements are welcomed to join!

Movement Strengthening is a key Strategic Priority of YMCA Europe. A consensus around the importance of Movement Strengthening as a key strategic focus was achieved and it can be expressed in the following terms:

  1. YMCA Europe contributes to strengthen National Movements by focusing on Mission Clarity, Relevant Programmes and Sustainability. 
  2. Movement Strengthening is the reason for the existence of YMCA Europe and what NMs expect from this working platform.

YMCA Europe Strategy “Towards 2020” indicates the following outcomes and key initiatives within the focus of Movement Strengthening:

  • YMCA Europe understands and prioritizes the capacity and support needs of every national movement;
  • YMCA Europe has evidence that each national movement is clear about its mission, is socially relevant and institutionally viable;
  • YMCA Europe identifies resources for national movements development in Europe by working in cooperation with WAY and other YMCA alliances/partners;
  • YMCA Europe identifies resources for youth leadership development.

Key initiatives:

  • Health check for YMCA movements (presently in consultation with NGSs);
  • Strengthening the National General Secretaries Forum as an active working platform;
  • YMCA Europe develops new projects based on identified needs in cooperation with the national movements.

So, Movement Strengthening within YMCA Europe focuses on building capacity of national movements in their:

  • mission,
  • social relevance,
  • institutional viability,
  • financial sustainability and
  • leadership development.

This  is  undertaken  by ongoing  cooperation  of National  General  Secretaries,  undertaking diagnostics of NMs, providing assistance of experts from YERT and coaching.

Movement Strengthening as a concept:

Movement Strengthening is process of assistance to National Movements in understanding and achieving desired changes in prioritized spheres of their work for the benefit of the target groups through self-analysis, empowerment of people and external expertise.

We provide some explanation for this definition:

  • A process of assistance National Movements: it is important that a NM is ready for intervention, has a culture of wanting to improve and is committed to make organizational change where required;
  • in understanding and achieving desired changes: the process of movement strengthening will include not only organizational analysis but also intervention and further coaching and support;
  • in prioritized spheres of their work: although we will use a holistic approach, we will have to prioritize the key areas for intervention so to be able to make the process realistic and measurable, such as human resources, governance, property, etc.
  • through self-analysis, empowerment of people and external expertise: it means that the process of movement strengthening will include diagnostics, education and coaching of leaders of a NM, invitation of experts to provide needed knowledge and expertise;
  • for the benefit of the target groups, i.e. who is the NM there to serve: it is important to understand that we strengthen movements so they become more capable and effective to create positive changes in their communities. It can be illustrated through the following scheme:

Using a holistic approach for movement strengthening, we understand that we need to take into account development of 3 main spheres of a civil society organization (CSO):

Principles of YMCA Europe for Movement Strengthening:

  • Self-development of a NM with assistance of YE (no intervention without permission);
  • Participation of key groups within the NM i.e. National Committee, NGS and any senior staff (not just 1-2 leaders);
  • Long term process and holistic approach;
  • Coaching as part of intervention;
  • Flexibility and individual approach;
  • Youth Empowerment as a focus of human resources development;
  • Governance development as guarantee of sustainability;
  • Change in NM to reflect the change in beneficiaries.

Methods of Movement Strengthening:

  • Diagnostics through communication, Health Check, SWOT, PEST analysis and other methods which the Diagnostic Team will find appropriate;
  • Bringing experts from YERT. They will work through on-line and off-line meetings (webinars, seminars, trainings, meetings, etc.);
  • Coaching (mostly off-line through skype conversations, exchanging e-mails, etc.);

Strategic Diagnostic Team (SDT):

This is a team of a limited number of experts, who will help NMs to run analysis of their organizations and understand which areas should be developed in a NM as a priority. The team will use various instruments for diagnostic, for example: conversations, Health Check, SWOT analysis, PEST analysis, etc.

When problematic areas are clear, the SDT and a NM will develop an action plan, which will include the following items:

  • description of desirable changes and indicators of reaching them,
  • description of needed intervention,
  • system of ongoing monitoring and evaluation.

The SDT will be involved in further monitoring and evaluation process.

The SDT is created by YMCA Europe and the membership determined by YMCA Europe.

YERT: YMCA Europe Resource Team:

This is a pool of experts in various topics. The Strategic Diagnostic Team (SDT) will approach the experts when the areas of intervention in a National Movement are clear and there is a need in external expertise.

YMCA Europe is announcing a CALL for experts who are competent in the following areas and have skills and experience to transfer their knowledge to other people through educational events and meetings (on-line and off-line):

  • Mission & identity: YMCA history and mission, key documents (Paris Basis, Kampala principles, Challenge 21, current strategies of YMCA Europe, World YMCA), role of a CSO in a community, mission of a NM, values of a NM, “Theory of Change” of a NM, etc.
  • Social Relevance: target groups and their needs, needs assessment, needs assessment by a community, vulnerability, vulnerability analysis, relevant programs, etc.
  • Strategic Planning: mission and values review, “target groups oriented approach” in strategic planning, external strategic priorities, relevant programs, internal strategic priorities, indicators, operational plan, etc.
  • Governance: role of a CSO in a community, democratic principles and human rights based approach in a CSO, governance vs management, structure of governing bodies in a CSO, functions of governing bodies, division of power, risks of absence of strong governance, key documents of a CSO, etc.
  • People development: motivation, work with volunteers, work with staff, management of human resources, youth empowerment, coaching leadership, talent development, change management as a competency, etc.
  • Communications & marketing: effective communication, internal and external communication, key message of a CSO, image and brand, social media marketing (SMM), etc.
  • Financial development: fundraising (public & private; European, national, local), diversification of resources, successful project application, project management, etc.
  • Property development: venue development planning, business planning, calculation of costs of services, management and governance, legal aspects, strategic partnership with a local community, image of a venue, staff management, etc.
  • Impact measurement: “results oriented approach” in planning, indicators, means of verification, monitoring, evaluation, impact assessment, etc.
  • Advocacy & representation: advocacy concept, political system of David Easton, duty bearers and rights holders, levels of participation, structure of local, national and European government; steps of decisions making, policy papers, campaigning, negotiations, building partnership, etc.
  • Partnership: strategic partnership, “win-win strategy”, stakeholders, partners, donors, risks of working with no partners, identifying your partners, negotiations, “rules” of strong and effective partnership, etc.

Criteria for choosing an expert for intervention:

  1. Qualification (proved by education, experience, their National movements, colleagues);
  2. Good command of English and/or other language relevant for a National movement;
  3. A National Movement agrees that a recommended person is appropriate for the role ;
  4. An Expert agrees to work with a suggested National Movement.


When the National Committee of a National Movement identifies that their organization could benefit from an intervention because they see signs such as loss of volunteers/key staff, income is decreasing, low visibility, absence of a strategic plan, governing system is not functioning, programs are not popular among clients any more, people are not qualified enough, etc.), they can approach the Strategic Diagnostic Team (SDT) of YMCA Europe.

The Strategic Diagnostic Team helps a NM understand key problematic areas, put priorities for development, create an action plan for intervention.

When a National Movement together with the Strategic Diagnostic Team understands the key areas for intervention and develops a plan for it, the SDT refers to the list of experts in YERT and suggests possible experts to a NM. The experts are chosen according to the mentioned above criteria. The members of the SDT assist in communication between a NM and an Expert. One of the members of the SDT has a monitoring a role during the intervention. After the process of intervention a NM and the SDT agree an evaluation process based on their plan and the key outcomes.

If a NM has a plan for intervention and knows which areas they need to improve, they can get in contact with the SDT and ask for assistance in finding appropriate experts. In this case, the SDT is not monitoring the process and is not involved in evaluation (only if asked by a NM).

National Movements, which are involved in a system of Field Groups, will come through the same process. The difference is that the SDT will involve Field Group members in any discussion of a plan of intervention. When choosing experts, the priority will be given to members of a Field Group.

Coaching process:

We expect that experts will agree to devote their time to further Coaching process, which should take place after any main intervention. The process will involve some communication between the  experts and NMs, so NMs can agree and reach the set goals, receiving additional information and guidance from experts and exploring answers to new questions.

Time commitment of Experts:

It is difficult to predict exact time, which should be devoted to intervention. Each case will be discussed individually. We expect that intervention will generally include:

  • Communication with the SDT and a NM before intervention (3-4 hours);
  • Preparing for intervention (very individual);
  • Intervention (depending on a format on-line or off-line: from 3 till 16 hours);
  • Further coaching (1-3 hours per month during 1 year maximum).

Financial conditions:

YMCA Europe is searching for external resources to support a movement strengthening project. YMCA Europe will agree financial conditions with each NM individually. But general approach will be the following:

  • Experts are devoting their time on a voluntary basis; we see the engagement as part of the professional development of the individual.
  • Costs of experts (travel cost, accommodation, and meals) will be covered by a NM, which receives expertise.

Applying to be part of YERT:

We invite potential experts to apply to be members of YMCA Europe Resource Team. Please, follow this link and fill in the questionnaire till 15 December 2018 https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PJFF2GK

The Strategic Diagnostic Team team will take a decision about personnel of YERT at the end of February 2019 and you will be informed accordingly.

For further questions, please contact Olga Lukina olga[at]ymcaeurope.com

Full document as pdf, available here.