In this paper we deal with the relationship between external donors and village organizations (VOs) in Western Sub-Saharan Africa. We utilize a large dataset of village organizations in rural areas of Senegal and Burkina Faso. We argue that the kind of relationship established with northern donors may have effects on the governance mechanisms of the village organization. We investigate to what extent differences in the foundation of the VO and of the partnership with the external donor can partially explain outcomes and membership structures of the VO itself. Our results go in the direction of possible diverging effects of a donor intervention in the village organization, according to the degree of proactivity and initiative that the VO displays.