Who are you?
Hello, my name is Ryan Turner, and I’m the founder of Business English for NGOs. I help non-profit / non-governmental organizations, social impact leaders, and purpose-driven entrepreneurs to achieve success in their strategic planning, organizational development, and fundraising goals.
For more than 20 years, I’ve served as strategy guide, resource scout, and people connector for NGOs in the U.S. and internationally. My focus areas include program development, grants management, proposal writing, leadership training, policy analysis, stakeholder communications, project management, and technical assistance.
I’m a Richmond, Virginia native, and graduate from Princeton University with a degree in politics and certificate in cultural studies. Currently based in Prague, Czech Republic, I am an active mentor and advisor for existing and emerging social entrepreneurs. For more information, visit my LinkedIn profile.
What do you do?
My aim is to help position organizations towards stability, growth, and success. Organizations need resources to achieve their goals. But organizations also often face a difficult choice between taking a risk on new and unfamiliar strategies, at the expense of losing their stability; or focusing on their existing efforts at the cost of ignoring additional support. This is especially true for NGOs dependent solely on government funding, charitable contributions, or small donor support.
Diversification of funding helps to ensure consistency in difficult times, and positioning for success in good times. Yet even as NGOs face increasing demand for their services and decreasing availability of traditional funding, too many potential resource channels are ignored, overlooked, or underused. The barriers are higher for NGOs based outside the U.S., if their teams are limited in their English language skills and capacity.
Through English-language planning, training, and content support, I supplement the capacity of NGOs to find and connect with new funding and development opportunities.
Where do you do it?
I primarily focus on services for client organizations in Central Europe, Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Baltic states regions. I also continue to provide advice and support to NGOs and social entrepreneurs in the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Africa.
Why do you do what you do?
From volunteering to voting, non-profit organizations have played an important role in my life since my earliest days. I grew up in a family where community participation, neighborhood involvement, and civic engagement mattered as much as academic achievement. One of the most important values in our home was to connect with something larger than yourself, and to follow your passion in life towards meaningful and purposeful actions.
My parents also encouraged me to learn about, discuss, and speak out on social issues that concerned me; and to build relationships with people from different backgrounds and perspectives. When I was a child, my father visited the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The images and stories he shared about the people he met, and places he saw, would spark a lifelong curiosity about the region.
As a university student, I met young people from Central and Eastern Europe before the revolutions of 1989, and took great inspiration from their commitment and efforts to help their home countries transition from old regimes to new democracies.
Five years after the Velvet Revolution, I travelled to Europe for the first time. During this time of transition, the people of the Czech Republic and Poland were very kind to me. As the first places I visited, these communities have held an important space in my professional and personal spheres ever since.
I have been fortunate to serve as a volunteer, consultant, and advocate for civil society, social entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and corporate social responsibility efforts throughout Central Europe and Eastern Europe. But I also follow the inspiration of others around the world who have a desire to exchange knowledge, bridge cultural barriers, and to grow effective, sustainable, conscious-minded efforts for broader long-term social good.
How do you do what you do?
Development is not an easy process with immediate results or guaranteed outcomes. Organizations must be willing to invest time, to commit their people, and to accept risks towards something new and unfamiliar.
For NGOs seeking advice on existing fundraising and development strategies, I offer perspective and insights based on my work experience with organizations, funders, and stakeholders. Through dialogue together, we can identify existing strengths, ongoing challenges, and potential options for your organization’s success.
For NGOs exploring fundraising team support, I work with leadership and staff to improve their capacity for identifying available resource areas, their knowledge of current and future opportunities, and their confidence to apply for funding in English.
For NGOs that need English-language content support, I provide writing and editing services to ensure that your message is clear, relevant, and credible for your organization’s target goals.
My work for you will depend on your organization’s needs, circumstances, and priorities. Whether it is a one-time chat, an intensive dialogue, or ongoing support, my focus to help your organization sustain its social purpose while increasing its ability for greater social impact.