Development Sector Intermediaries

Building Institutions | Jan, 2016

Scaling allows nonprofits to leverage economies of scale to deliver improved services at lower costs, and offer their staff better compensation and career opportunities. They also are afforded greater capacity to innovate, demonstrate outcomes and share best practices. But for a country with over three million NGOs – that’s one for every 600 people - very few NGOs in India ever manage to scale up, despite large investments flow into the social sector every year.

While programmatic funding is critical, organizations also need support and assistance to build strong institutions in order to be able to scale and impact more lives. To this end, intermediary organizations in the development sector help non-profits build their operational, governance and structural competencies. They include foundations, corporates, consultancies or other nonprofits that typically offer services and engage with senior management at nonprofits to understand their key challenges, suggest good practices from within the sector and outside, as well as build and implement solutions based on unique needs.

This report describes how intermediary organizations work closely with non-profits to offer comprehensive capacity building services to help them identify and address gaps in strategic and business planning, technology, M&E, human resources, legal compliance and financial management. Organizations that build their institutions, not just their programs, are more likely to succeed than those that do not. Institution building involves information technology systems, financial and fundraising processes, high-performing teams, and evaluation systems.

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