Intermediaries have moved into every activity area and part of the country in the nonprofit and foundation world and, from all appearances, must be essential given the amount of funds expended. While the nonprofit sector has grown at twice the rate of the rest of the economy since 1985, intermediaries have expanded 10 times that amount. Resentment has grown among the purported beneficiaries of the booming intermediaries, anxious that bigger and bigger leaks have sprung in their pipelines of support.
Does the End Justify the Middleman?
  • Intermediaries make sense in a fast-paced, fragmented, and confused world, where every organization profits from placing buffers between it and its sources of support or clients.
  • While the nonprofit sector has grown at twice the rate of the rest of the economy since 1985, intermediaries have expanded 10 times that amount.
  • The Census of Intermediaries and Collaborations lists 14,356 intermediaries of various types, with expenditures of $57 billion per year (though this is considered an undercount).
  • There is concern that less and less money is getting to the end of the line where people actually get served, and more is spent on handbooks, surveys, regranting opportunities, special capacity building workshops and such, when what is really need is money support.
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