Funder or Friend: The Dilemma for Local Intermediary Grantmakers

by Olga Alexeeva

Mar 1, 2001
Increasingly, international funders are using local NGO support centres to run grantmaking programmes for them. But is there a conflict of interest in making grants and at the same time providing consultations on fundraising? This question gave rise to heated discussions in our office recently when we discussed future plans for CAF Russia and how we see it in the longer term.
Funder or Friend: The Dilemma for Local Intermediary Grantmakers
  • Questions of identity are raised at large NGOs and community foundations in Russia which occasionally or regularly manage grantmaking programmes as well as provide services and take on the roles of support organizations to NGOs.
  • Combining the roles of grantmaker and service providers stem from the fact that in a large and diverse country such as Russia, it is always going to be more effective to use local development organizations for re-granting.
  • Prioritizing either an organization's funder role may make its service provision less effective because it does not respond to the real needs of its recipients while prioritizing its service provision role may lead to conflicts of interest when grantmaking.
  • Separating the roles of funder or friend at an organization may not be easy in practice and the problems of conflict of loyalties and prioritizing still arise.
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