In 2014, Counterpart International created the Social Sector Accelerator to help leaders, organizations and networks secure the resources and partnerships they need to achieve sustainable, positive change in their communities.
Building Stronger Organizations
The social sector is an expression of all people’s right to organize separate from the state and the private sector. A healthy social sector is one which is plural, independent and resilient. Their unique role includes advocacy, monitoring and accountability. They also provide services and support to vulnerable and marginalized groups. We believe that non-profits, one form of social sector organization, and those who provide support to make them stronger can realize a capacity dividend or a “return” on their investment in the form of greater efficiency, effectiveness, and ultimately greater social impact.
Increasing Investment in the Social Sector
Giving directly and democratically to local nonprofit organizations is both an expression of values and practical. We believe in community self-determination, as opposed to change imposed from outside the community. In addition to being socially just, we see funding directly and democratically as a cornerstone to sustainable development. If giving directly is both valued and practical, the Accelerator unearths and addresses the very real (and sometimes valid) concerns that get in the way.
Social change and the goal of just, equitable and sustainable development is not achieved by individuals, organizations, communities, or governments acting alone. It requires partnerships built on trust, equity and an understanding of one another’s self-interest. We believe in facilitating meaningful connections between grantmakers and the communities, organizations and networks with which they work to address shared questions and challenges with humility, evidence of impact, and an analysis of root causes.
ABOUT THE SOCIAL SECTOR ACCELERATOR
Since the founding of the Accelerator, the team has completed 33 engagements with over 20 partners from philanthropy, multi-laterals, and non-profits and has have earned over $4.2 million in revenue.
On March 31, 2021, the Accelerator folded its existing work and resources into Counterpart International to support its efforts across the globe
Over the last five years, the Accelerator team experimented with more than 10 different products or services to advance equitable and just development for communities around the world including Development Impact Bonds, Blue Carbon NAMAs (Nationally Applicable Climate Change Mitigation Actions), transparent and trust-based grants management and administration, and non-profit vetting. In 2018, the Accelerator expanded its work with foundations with the aim of helping them and their non-profit grantee partners improve their abilities to achieve their missions.
Our work with philanthropies who are on the path to changing their policies, practices and programs to be more equitable and impactful for their grantee partners has been some of our most rewarding work. We are heartened by the number of foundations who are more aware of how their past practices have been harmful to advancing social change and a growing number who changing the way they work but much still remains to be done.
HOW WE WORK
We use an Acceleration Cycle to guide our engagement with clients and partners.
- Capacity Building Strategy Game
- Case Study: Adaptation Through Participatory Design
- Organizational Strengthening Equity Audit Tool
- Findings and Recommendations for an Expanded Capacity Building Program for Paso Del Norte Foundation
- Landscape Assessment for Capacity Building Efforts to Support Agricultural Cooperatives in Haiti
- Blog Post: Creating Their Own Menus – Or how we used participatory design to co-create a useful and relevant organizational strengthening program
- Blog Post: Shining a Light: DIY Equity Audits of Our Organizational Strengthening Programs
- Blog Post: Adapting and Accountability in Philanthropy: An Interview with Solomé Lemma of Thousand Currents
- Blog Post: The Top 5 Reasons Donors Still Give for NOT Funding Local Organizations Directly
- Blog Post: Thoughts on an Organizational Strengthening Program Taxonomy
- Blog Post: Improving Our Understanding of Impact – Experimenting with Surge Measures
- Blog Post: Measuring the Capacity Dividend