Funding Intermediaries

Special Collection

When grantmakers use intermediary organizations, or “regranters”, they generally do so to expand their capacity or broaden their expertise. But what impact do intermediaries have on grantmaking practices? There are both promising opportunities as well as pitfalls to working with intermediaries, and this IssueLab collection aims to inform grantmakers about both.

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Weaving Successful Partnerships: When Funders, Evaluators, and Intermediaries Work Together

January 23, 2019

The aim of this report is to contribute to field dialogue and learning about how to structure complex systems change strategies involving multiple partners.

The Funder-Intermediary Relationship

The Stigma Against Fiscal Sponsorship Needs To End

November 10, 2017

We need to shift the way we see fiscal sponsorship. Fiscally sponsored organizations are not the kids vying for a seat at the adult table. They may actually be the adults, since they can be more efficient and can focus more of their time and energy on what truly matters.

Put Me In Coach: How Donors Can Use Intermediaries to Play a Powerful Role in Social Change

August 27, 2017

In this article the author argues that in this political and social moment, donors need to make strong investments into intermediaries that can develop breakthrough strategies. In partnership with donors, intermediaries can step into leadership, be bold, and take that creative step you've been hoping to execute. Now is the time to lean in even further than before and use the tools of intermediaries beyond regranting.

An Advocate for the Work: The Grants Management Role in Working with Intermediaries

August 10, 2017

Grants management's intersection with foundation-intermediary work has not been addressed in the literature, though grants managers have a lively interest in the subject. This article explores and begins to define the grants manager's role in the foundation-intermediary relationship, a role that one grants manager described as "being anadvocate for the work." PEAK Grantmaking hopes to test the experiences described here by three seasoned grants managers with their colleagues.

Best Practices

An Introduction to Intermediaries

August 10, 2017

Intermediaries are a hot topic in philanthropy—and for good reason. In October 2016,the Chronicle of Philanthropy's annual list of the world's biggest charities caused ripples when Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund—a charity that hosts donor-advised funds (DAFs), a type of intermediary—knocked longtime #1 United Way Worldwide off the top. As intermediaries grow, many across the sector are asking questions about what they do and whether their growth is good. These are important questions to ask, and not simple ones to answer—in part because the term "intermediary" encompasses many different types of organizations serving many different purposes.

Making Grants to a Pooled Fund: What Grant Managers Need to Know

August 10, 2017

In a pooled fund, multiple donors make grants to a single entity, often a 501(c)(3) intermediary, to have a greater and more coordinated impact on an issue. Dollars are combined to create a larger pool of funds, and participating donors jointly make recommendations about how these funds can be used. For grantmakers and managers looking to collaborate with peers to increase their impact on an issue, pooling funds at an intermediary can greatly alleviate administrative burdens that might be prohibitive to running the same grant-making program in-house. An intermediary that is set up to make rapid grants of all sizes across geographies provides grant managers with a new set of tools for designing and executing a strategy.

Five Reasons Funding Should Go Directly to Local NGOs

November 13, 2015

Less than 2% of humanitarian aid goes directly to local NGOs, but Jennifer Lentfer argues that grassroots groups are best placed to help those in need.

International Grantmaking; Relationship Building

Five Reasons Donors Give for Not Funding Local NGOs Directly

November 9, 2015

Only a tiny amount of funding goes directly to grassroots NGOs, which is undermining progress towards truly sustainable development.

PRIs and Effective Intermediaries

June 30, 2015

During a recent panel discussion, "Program Related Investment: the Promise and Pitfalls," John MacIntosh of SeaChange began his remarks with the observation: "God doesn't love intermediaries", eliciting a chuckle from attendees since everybody is familiar with this popular prejudice, usually applied to "middlemen" who are commonly disparaged for making money while adding little value. As a trustee, head of the Finance Committee of the Altman Foundation, and someone who supported the concept at the outset, I'm confident that the recently-established New York Pooled PRI Fund ("NYPRI"), managed by SeaChange, an intermediary (!), promises to add a lot of value in PRI-making for us. And my confidence in this value was substantially strengthened by the panel discussion and the Q&A that followed. It's a type of vehicle that all medium size PRI-making or PRI-interested foundations should seriously consider

The Funder-Intermediary Relationship

Disintermediation and How it Affects #Globaldev Implementers

June 25, 2015

As the use of disintermediation gathers pace, how will the phenomenon affect the capacity of international nongovernmental organizations to fundraise and advocate? In terms of fundraising, new technology has narrowed the gap between those on the ground and individual donors, bringing with it new ways to connect and lower transaction costs.

Going Beyond Grantmaking: Using External Help to Extend a Foundation's Core Competencies and Increase Its Impact

March 1, 2015

The drive to achieve impact beyond grantmaking represents a paradigm shift in the way foundations seek to make social change. By bringing to bear new resources and thinking, this shift has the potential to amplify the impact of the philanthropic sector. Consultants and other intermediaries have critical roles to play in extending and enhancing this impact.This article explores the opportunities and challenges inherent in foundations' efforts to go beyond grantmaking and examines how they can - and cannot - effectively use consultants and other intermediaries to enhance such efforts. It presents three cases: incubating and launching a new organization, effectively deploying impact investments, and collaborating to advocate for policy change.Using these cases and other experience as a reference base, the article then identifies five ways funders can use consultants and other intermediaries to pursue impact beyond grantmaking, and explores several common pitfalls.

Best Practices; Capacity Building; Technical Assistance; The Funder-Intermediary Relationship

The Funder and the Intermediary, in Support of the Artist: A Look at Rationales, Roles, and Relationships

December 1, 2014

This article, examining the ecology of funders' use of intermediaries and regranting organizations, came about as a direct offshoot of GIA's Research Initiative on Support for Individual Artists, begun in 2011. As the research team worked to map the pathways that support followed from funder to artist, a complex map of options and routes began to emerge, and intermediaries and regranters were often part of that picture. It became increasingly clear that this was an essential and important part of the overall system. It also emerged that this was an area of philanthropic practice that had been little examined, and about which little had been published. Interviews with funders during the research work also revealed that while a number of foundations were using intermediaries, their practices had independently evolved, and a wide range of methods and procedures were in use. What follows is the first tangible product of GIA's Research Initiative on Support for Individual Artists. In her analysis, Claudia Bach provides both an overview of the range of philanthropic practices involving intermediaries and regranters, as well as an exploration of a number of related topics and questions that emerged during the course of this work.

Arts; Backbone Support; The Funder-Intermediary Relationship