Grantmakers often rely on intermediary organizations when we need help making grants -- whether on issues that are new or unfamiliar, in communities where we lack meaningful connections or to fund charitable groups that are challenging for us to support directly. Intermediaries receive funding to regrant and, often, to provide a host of services to nonprofits, communities and the grantmakers themselves. To increase the odds that our funding of intermediary organizations will be consistently productive, grantmakers must craft and sustain the right relationships with the intermediaries with whom we work. We must also draw on recommendations from intermediaries so that they can apply their best efforts on our behalf.
  • There are three relationship models between grantmakers and intermediaries: Outsourcing, Autonomous, and Partnership. Each model differs on the parties' roles, the value proposition of the intermediary, scope of work, intended outcomes, and the benefits and downsides to the grantmaker.
  • Use intermediaries when you need or want to disburse money; tap into their skills, knowledge, or technical capacity; have an independent perspective, acquire credibility, or place development and management of foundation initiative in external hands.
  • Regranting via an intermediary mitigates risk for controversial grants; demonstrates a segregation of responsbilities between source of funds and regranter; ease program exit; and reduces overhead.
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