For those of us who aim to encourage international giving, it is a depressing fact that overall levels of giving to international causes remain stubbornly low in most "donor" countries. One reason for this is a reluctance on the part of some donors to give via a regranting intermediary, whether based in the donor's own country or in the recipient country - largely because of unwillingness to pay the intermediary's costs. This article looks at what different types of intermediary can offer the donor and at the challenge for donors who want to "miss out the middleman" or do something other than simply fund a northern-based international NGO.
What Role for Intermediaries?
  • The greater the distance from the funder to the intended end recipient, the more significant is the ability of the regranting organization to distribute the fund as small grants. Linked to this is the assumption that the intermediary, especially if based in the target community or country, will have much greater knowledge than the original funder of the needs of the target group.
  • Risk in regranting rises or falls according to the quality of the grantmaking process, not the nationality or location of the grantmaker. Failure to assess an intermediary’s capacity properly, or to engage closely in monitoring outputs, outcomes and impact, will increase risk dramatically, regardless of how local or well-known the chosen intermediary might be.
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