This study addresses basic questions concerning the scope and structure of organizations working
in development and poverty activities. Under what conditions is work on many or few poverty
problems by a single organization warranted? Moreover, for a given organizational scope, how
many issues and in what combination are best combined in a specific program? How are these
choices related? How does “inheriting” an organizational structure that is difficult (very costly) to
change influence choices concerning program type? The application of the economics of
organization yields useful insights into NGO structure and activities, revealing opposing forces
that may lead nongovernmental organizations to diversify either excessively, or inadequately.
NGOs working in the poverty field are a natural focus for this research, because poverty is a
multidimensional problem with potential (or contingent) complementarities across dimensions.
Perspectives on activity choices such as child sponsorship and microfinance emerge from this