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Journal article

Social sector intermediaries: what are they and what do they need?

Social impact investing Multidisciplinary collaboration Community sector Social services Australia

Field-building intermediaries play an important role in social sector ecosystems and they need to be supported financially. But what do they do and what kind of funding do they need to sustain their work and impact?

The work of field-building intermediaries is complex and can be difficult to define. Yet, they play an important role in addressing some of the greatest social challenges.

These organisations engage and coordinate the efforts of multiple organisations towards a common goal. They can bring about systemic change in a way that is challenging for traditional not-for-profit organisations. Their unique sector or system level perspective enables them to identify challenging issues in their fields and work to achieve sustained social change.

But often these intermediaries struggle to obtain funding that is appropriate and timely to sustain their work and impact.

Incorporating the voices of six intermediaries' CEOs, this article answers the following questions:

  • What are field-building intermediaries?
  • What impact do intermediaries have?
  • What are the funding challenges and opportunities for intermediaries?
  • What role can philanthropy play beyond funding?
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