Why is supporting umbrella organizations important?

2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, especially for Civil Society Organizations in terms of their funding. Peter Brach of Funders 2025 Fund, a donor-advised fund dedicated to helping high-impact initiatives achieve exceptional results, notes the need for continued support for umbrella organizations, i.e., those organizations that coordinate and organize the activities of several others. He adds that the benefits of such support have been large enough for him to label it a “social impact revolution”.


At such a critical time as the one we are currently facing, many organizations could not have continued to exist without the effort and commitment of their working teams. However, the role that donations play in the field of civil society certainly cannot be discounted. This is where umbrella organizations enter the game. Because of their wide reach, they have the potential to carry out high-impact fundraising campaigns. Peter Brach names several examples of how these organizations have helped smaller organizations move forward with their missions and visions. One of them is NGO Source, which, through its support services, enabled several organizations to expand their donor base and outreach. Another is the Funders 2025 Fund that helped WINGS access a European Union fund for 1 million euros, the largest grant in this nonprofit’s history.


It is precisely for this reason that, under the right circumstances, these organizations deserve to be taken as a priority since the results they have had in the past could be replicated. According to Brach, to achieve a meaningful change, it is necessary to strategically leverage those change agents with the greatest reach. However, new private and institutional donors should emerge in parallel to support philanthropy and enable umbrella organizations to reach their full potential. 


Given today’s global situation, it is no longer possible to think in terms of the individual organizations, rather the collective interest should be kept in mind: achieving the SDGs. According to Brach, his mission is to inspire more and more donors to support those institutions that are most likely to have a major impact. The idea is that this will then lead to a chain, where even the smallest institutions will benefit. In conclusion, he adds that we should “see ourselves as belonging to a much larger family working together to leverage our respective strengths to achieve the greatest and broadest impact possible.”


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