NGO’s and Mendix, the story of Terre des Hommes

This news article provides the reader an insight in the project we did for Terre des Hommes NL. We will discuss NGO sector specific challenges and how our project has helped Terre des Hommes with facing these challenges.

In contrary to other industries, NGO’s are not only benchmarked on the services they provide, but also on how these services are provided and how these services fit in the bigger scheme of things. For other industries the how and the fit within the bigger scheme of things is an economic driver. If operational efficiency is low, the price of a service goes up and the relative quality suffers. Same thing with the bigger picture, i.e. vision and corporate strategy. Producing goods for which the market demand is low eventually leads to bankruptcy. Although harsh, the playing field in most industries is straightforward and focuses on process improvement. This has led to a culture where measuring operational improvements is clear relatively cut and guidelines on best practices are abundant.

Besides the traditional challenges, NGOs also have to justify HOW and WHY they operate as they do and all of this in formats specific to whoever is funding their operation. This makes focusing on the internal organization a challenge. Support systems should provide the stability needed to improve the internal process incrementally and on the other hand to be flexible enough to adhere to changes in regulations and reporting requirements. In the long run flexible systems decrease the need to dramatically change ones IT and thus provide stability in the long run.

With these challenges in mind, Terre des Hommes NL used the Mendix World hackathon as a proving ground for a Mendix based application that fitted their programme management department needs.  The goal was to integrate their complete application landscape. The hackathon marked the beginning of our collaboration with Terre des Hommes, NL. Finaps entered and won the hackathon initiated by Terre des Hommes in their quest to find a solution that matched their need for professionalizing their programme management and financial administration.

Now, almost two years later, all of Terre des Hommes programmes, partner contracts, institutional donations, and financial systems are integrated (or close to be) and a common language for reporting is established within Terre des Hommes. Besides stabilizing their internal processes, Terre des Hommes was amongst the first to implement a fully automatic and integrated IATI reporting mechanism. IATI reports are used by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to monitor the flow of funds to countries and sectors. Terre des Hommes was said to provide the most extensive reports of all strategic partners.

As Finaps we are proud to look back on a successfully implemented and globally deployed application and we want to thank Terre des Hommes for letting us be a part of their mission, a world in which children are no longer exploited.


Watch the interview with Terre des Hommes NL CFO Irvin wekking about the project: