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Strengthening of National Societies is one of the Federation’s and particularly the IFRC Secretariat’s fundamental tasks. National Societies work in a diverse range of contexts and cultures, face many and differing challenges, and also vary in their capability. The IFRC Secretariat and National Societies partner with and provide support to individual National Societies in their efforts to develop their organizational capacity and effectiveness.

The development support provided to an individual National Society will depend on its current situation and priorities.  National Societies may wish to develop their auxiliary role, strategy, governance and accountability; strengthen areas such as financial management, communications, fundraising; increase volunteer engagement; improve external relations; or ramp up their preparedness for responding to emergencies or improve the planning and execution of programmes and services they provide.


Types of support include:

  • Partnership with National Society leadership in identifying organizational development priorities and potential actions
  • Support National Societies in assessing their own development needs, and conducting their strategic and organizational planning through different processes such as the Organisational Capacity Assessment and Certification (OCAC)
  • Technical advice, coaching and resources to support to the strengthening of specific organizational capacities. For example: preparedness for emergency response; logistics, finance, ICTs,  communications, health programmes, WASH, programme monitoring and evaluation
  • Sourcing or providing funds which National Societies can use for their own development, for example, through the joint IFRC ICRC initiative, the National Society Investment Alliance.
NSD In a Nutshell

Key Documents for National Societies
NSD InfoBrochure

Available languages (ENFRSPAR, RU)

National Society Development Framework 2013

Available languages (ENFRSPARRU)

National Society Development Compact 2019

Available languages (ENFRSP, ARRU)

ICRC’s statement for the NSD Compact (ENFRSPAR, RU)
Access the NSD Playlist for more videos
Case studies from National Societies
A Red Cross Unit in every Community

the process of developing a nationwide network of community volunteer units in Burundi.

The Art of Balancing

The tensions between international aid and domestic reality in Viet Nam.

Cooperation with the private sector

How the Red Cross attracts private sector resources in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Change, growth and renewal

A major change process in Australia.

Business models for health service delivery

Analyses the sustainability and replicability of health services in Ghana

Leadership in transition

Different forms of leadership experienced during major change in Italy.

Available NSD related Partnerships

Financial sustainability and building a strong and resilient National Society in the context of COVID-19 is a complex problem with multiple influences. Brainstorming the ‘problem’ often creates further complexity and uncertainty about pathways forward. This partnership with World Institute for Action Learning (WIAL) gives a unique opportunity for National Societies to tackle such problem through a process of asking questions to clarify the exact nature of the problem, reflecting and identifying possible solutions, and defining local and NS led actions, together with the WIAL Action Learning coaches. The partnership is available till June 2021.

Link to Action Learning video

Download the document  (EN, SP, FR, RU).

Important Links for National Societies
IFRC Reference Centres

The Red Cross Red Crescent reference centres are delegated functions of the IFRC and hosted in various Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies. Their primary function as ‘centres of excellence’ are to develop strategically important knowledge and best practice that will inform the future operations of the IFRC and National Societies in their key areas of interest and influence

National Society Investment Alliance

The National Society Investment Alliance is a pooled funding mechanism providing flexible multi-year financing and support for the development of National Red Cross and Red Cross Societies.


Volunteers have been the backbone of our Movement since its birth in 1863. Today, as ever they are central to all activities of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, contributing to the success of our National Societies and assisting millions of vulnerable people in times of greatest need.


Identity and foundations of the NS:

  • Vision, mission, values/principles defining the strategic orientation of the NS, Fundamental Principles, Legal base (recognition and emblem law, Statutes), Policy, Auxiliary role/relationship with authorities, integrity and accountability

Systems, procedures, practices etc. guiding supporting functions of the NS:


Key capacities to deliver services:



Relationships with key stakeholders, both internal and external, and mobilisation of funds, volunteers etc

  • Volunteering, Youth, Communication (internal & external), Financial sustainability (resource mobilisation), Humanitarian Diplomacy

Culture and practices allowing a NS to adapt to a changing environment and grow by learning and innovating

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