The practice of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) participating in the leadership and management of country level clusters is occurring more frequent in recent years. In several situations, cluster leads are approaching NGOs to take on roles in the cluster, such as co-leadership. This review draws on the experiences of NGOs in cluster leadership and management in the four focus countries of the NGOs and Humanitarian Reform Project: Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zimbabwe. These case studies highlight both the enabling and inhibiting factors that contribute to the effective sharing of responsibilities between the UN and NGOs for optimal cluster performance. This paper intends to contribute to a better definition of the potential role of NGOs, as well as highlighting good practice if and when cluster stakeholders decide that there is a role for NGOs in cluster coordination leadership.