• Strengthening organizations is strengthening social impact

    DATE: 03/18/2022

    Published by: Norberto Odebrecht Foundation

    One of the best ways to make a difference is to support those who are already doing it. The Brazilian donor knows this: 37% of those who are in the habit of contributing to some cause do so for socio-environmental organizations and initiatives, as pointed out by the Institute for the Development of Social Investment (IDIS) in 2020 survey. But what if it were possible to support not only a specific project of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) we trust – but to strengthen these institutions as a whole?

    In the Third Sector, support for management and teams responsible for social impact is known as ‘institutional strengthening’. And it is more necessary than it seems.

    According to the GIFE 2020 Census, a survey that analyzed more than 130 institutions in the social investment and philanthropy sector, 19% of the organizations do not have their financial statements audited by an independent organization. Another 12% have no status. And, among those that have this important instrument, only 36% make it available for public access.

    Actions like these may seem distant to many donors (and even to the institutions themselves). But having a strengthened management does not go against the social impact generated by an organization. On the contrary: it enhances it.

    At Norberto Odebrecht Foundation, we have always believed in this. This is how, for example, the Social Program we coordinate, the PDCIS, works: the local organizations, partners in carrying out the initiative, make up an impact network in favor of sustainable development, and receive institutional support from the Foundation to develop a more robust management in line with the best Governance and Compliance practices.

    The reflection of this differentiated management can be seen in recent years: one of the partner institutions was recognized as the best environmental NGO in the country in 2019; others received investments from CriançaEsperança and companies such as Nubank, Bayer, Braskem, Ocyan, Santander and Cargill, and all of them had their accounts rendered audited.

    Institutional strengthening, in other words, is the “teaching of the Third Sector to fish”. It does not make financial support unnecessary for CSOs to continue to do their role, but rather opens a path for the sector to professionalize and become increasingly independent. In fact, having an efficient management makes these institutions even more attractive to social investors, who naturally want to donate to reliable organizations.

    And with the support of more donors, more volunteers, and more social investors, as a result of this effective, regular, and transparent management, CSOs will be able to do even more of what they do best: promote social transformation.

    Fabio Wanderley is superintendent of Norberto Odebrecht Foundation (@fundacaonorbertoodebrecht).

    Article originally published in JornalCorreio and on the Correio 24 Horas portal on March 16, 2022.

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