Abstract Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) manifest a new political reality in the global realm. NGOs have come to mobilize, articulate and represent people’s interests or concerns at different levels of decision-making: locally, nationally and internationally. The central argument of this paper is that the relationships that emerge among transnational NGO networks are highly problematic. The dynamics in these relationships determine the quality of NGO advocacy, both in terms of its function as a channel to articulate different development aspirations and as in terms of effectively embracing their responsibilities to other actors in the network. This paper introduces a concept of political responsibility to clarify representation and accountability in transnational NGO networks. Based upon different case studies of NGO advocacy campaigns, the paper also introduces four typologies of relationships which may develop among networks, leading to a varying degree of political responsibility.