Insights on field-building intermediaries

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.

Often sitting behind the scenes, these agile 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.

Unsurprisingly, field-building work is complex. The role can be difficult to define, and measuring impact is not always straightforward. As a result, these intermediaries often struggle to obtain appropriate funding that can sustain their work and impact.

Prepared by Social Ventures Australia and funded by the Paul Ramsay Foundation, Insights on Australian field building intermediaries and their funding journeys towards sustainable impact and its case study companion Case studies of Australian field-building intermediaries explore:

  • eight field-building intermediaries in Australia, their funding journeys and trajectories
  • key success factors that have supported each intermediary’s journey and factors that hinder that journey
  • funding approaches for deep and sustainable change.

Critically, the report also highlights for the first-time what philanthropic funders need to understand about field-building intermediaries and how they can best support and enable these organisations to succeed.  These observations for funders are also set out in the short guide, Growing fields, shifting systems: a guide to effectively funding field-building intermediaries.