Recommendations for Fast Tracking Social Impact

Propel Philanthropy convenes, informs, and inspires funders to focus on highly effective and efficient mechanisms to hasten positive social change. Even a small increase in infrastructure funding can significantly fast-track social impact. Investments that unlock charitable capital, strengthen philanthropic support organizations, and build the infrastructure that fosters collaboration drive exceptional social impact returns. These disproportionate returns can be realized at scale by investing in social impact support organizations (SISOs).

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What are Social Impact Support Organizations?

We’ve coined the term Social Impact Support Organizations to describe those that provide the needed infrastructure for accelerating social impact. Broader than philanthropy support organizations (PSOs), SISOs include charitable, development, and human capital catalysts; donor-serving organizations; field-building organizations; social investment accelerators; leadership trainers; philanthropic media platforms, and more. Examples of SISOs include GivingTuesday, VolunteerMatch, Council on Foundations, National Council of Nonprofits, TechSoup, and Alliance Magazine.

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Small Investments in Infrastructure Can Drive Big Results

Investing in People Can Drive Big Results Too!

Funding large-scale social impact can feel complex and challenging. Conversely, investing in the people in high-performing organizations is simpler, occurs too infrequently, can be done at a relatively low cost, and produces disproportionately large results. Learn more »

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We are in This Together

We each care about important, deserving causes. But unless the philanthropic sector comes together to build a fully-functioning, properly-resourced social impact ecosystem, our individual efforts are at risk of being ineffective and even counterproductive. From systemic inequities to climate change and global health crises, today’s challenges call for coordinated investment in long-lasting, far-reaching solutions. We need to build the solid, robust infrastructure required to move philanthropy from half-throttle to full speed ahead.

Social Impact Support Organizations at a Glance

We've provided examples in eight critical areas where social impact support organizations achieve far-reaching accelerated results, in some cases globally. Examples include Charitable, Development, and Human Capital Accelerators; Donor-Serving Organizations; Field-building Organizations; Social Investment Accelerators; Media Platforms in Philanthropy; and more.

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“Successful expansion is based mostly on finding and developing the right human capital."

—Gerald Chertavian, CEO of Year Up

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“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

—Abraham Lincoln

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“The best minute is the one you spend on investing in people.”

—Kenneth H. Blanchard

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“Particularly significant are the insufficient resources for organizational infrastructure — the people, technology and systems needed to fuel an organization’s sustainability and success."

—Paper, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations

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“It doesn’t take long to learn that no matter how brilliant a strategy is or how well it’s funded, if you don’t have the right people at the helm, something will go wrong or it won’t meet potential.”

—Marianne Philbin, Executive Director, Pierce Family Foundation

Some of Our Members

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