The contributions to this volume were first discussed at an international workshop held in Manchester in June 1994. They are concerned with the themes of the broad relationships between NGOs, governments and official donor agencies, and how these changing relationships are affecting state-society relations, the future of development cooperation, and the interests of poor people. The concern reflected in the title is that NGOs may have become so close in terms of interests, values, methods and priorities to Northern government donors (and developing-country states) that important elements of their potential contribution to development have been lost or weakened. Eighteen fairly short contributions are presented in four sections: an overview of key issues; NGO-donor relations - when your hand is in another person's pocket; NGO-state relations - reluctant partners revisited; and NGOs, the poor and disadvantaged - returning to their roots? The picture that emerges from the detailed case studies of NGOs across the developing world is a complex one, but there is much evidence that NGOs are 'losing their roots' - getting closer to donors and governments and more distant from the poor and disempowered whom they seek to assist.