This chapter explains the diverse humanitarian imperative to improve the lives of those affected by war or natural disaster. American, British, and French international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) have divergent causal beliefs about how to alleviate suffering and different constitutive beliefs about what it means to be a humanitarian. Those beliefs were established in reference to resources, institutions, and norms in each INGO's home country. The chapter also examines the practices—professionalization, fundraising, advocacy, and relations with governments—of the three INGOs and concludes that there are substantial differences among the three along national lines. Hence, the global humanitarian sector has created some broad trends for INGOs but national environments shape the specific responses to these trends.
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