Learning about change

in Christian organisations

Comments on Exit Gracefully - why was this piece important?

Two members sent comments to the October letter - Exit Gracefully, see below. You are all welcome to share your reaction to the monthly letters or weekly blogs by contacting us on cop@missioncouncil.se or comment directly here on the web.


SMC Admin


Dear all,

Thanks for putting this piece together an area we rarely talk about yet very important. We should consider discussing exist right from the time of entry so that we do not feel shy when the right time comes and reduce on the anxiety. Donors usually know how long they want to fund an organization at the start of a relationship. Of course in the process estimated time may change either by extending or cutting short but that is an easier discussion to handle.



Dear SMC,

Thanks for this week’s thought on Exit Gracefully, which is an unmissable part of an NGO’s strategy and also should be part of strategy of the recipient.  The seven principles for graceful exit are the main points mentioned and we appreciate what you have written about it to help us plan our thoughts and actions and talks.


Best regards,





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We are glad that you appreciated this month's letter! Please share within your network and also let us know what works in your practice. I believe you are cutting straight to the core of this issue by pointing out that the time to talk exit is during entry. That way, as you point out, the issue is on the table and not a stranger to the relationship dialogue. You also point to the problem of uneven power relations, and the importance of honesty on the side of donors. I agree, if donors know the limits of their commitment, they should be open with this. But we should not be so sure that donors really know or have capacity and awareness to be able to plan the exit dynamics from onset. Let us help them! Any ideas?



Thanks for your e-mail! We are always thrilled when members let us know that the topics we raise are relevant and helpful. I believe Rick James has made a great job putting together these 7 principles, but it would be even greater if you had some additional ones to add from you experiences. Please do!

You rightly point to the strategic importance of the exit process, both for donors and recipients. This is really an important dimension and one many tend to overlook - the responsibilities of recipients. It is also for the ones on the funding recipient end to carefully consider what lie beyond the end of any given relationship. Thanks for sharing this insight with us!


Thanks to Rick for this timely letter.  The organisation I work for has recognised that our grant making has not been done particularly well, and our exit has been even worse!  We are now in the process of developing a new grant making strategy looking at how this fits within the organisation's overall strategy as an instrument to deliver change.

We have also recognised that we need to define for ourselves what it means to truly partner with another organisation and that of course providing grants is one small (albeit crucial) part of this partnership.  Our aim should be to get our partners to be effective and efficient in every part, and not just in the program delivery.  Thinking about it like that, and with Rick talking about the importance of values - it makes me realise how selfish and one-sided our partnerships have been.


Our partners have been there to help us fulfil and deliver on OUR goals.  We focus on providing only technical capacity development (again geared towards program delivery), and we have made excuses for why we have not invested in wider organisational strengthening. 


Thinking about exit from the start will force us to invest in the other areas which are not seen as 'core' to our mission - because we must leave sustainable and competent organisations that can continue the work when the country stops being a priority for us or we move on to the next big thing.


I have also realised that there is so much that we can learn from our own donors, who have treated us far better than we have treated our partners! 


This letter and the issues covered will be a very useful resource to us as we reflect on our practice and think about our future engagement with partners.








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