To enjoy long-term success, NGOs and social enterprises need stable support structures. The Schöpflin Foundation wants to strengthen, network and establish initiatives and organizations that take a cross-thematic approach and advocate for the interests of civil society organizations. It would then like to strengthen these organizations structurally.
As key players in civil society, social enterprises and NGOs have a certain responsibility for developing innovative solutions to societal and social challenges. We are convinced that we can only meet the major challenges of our time if - instead of focusing on individual organizations - we work together on solutions. But organizations in the nonprofit sector usually lack the resources to invest in collaborations or in organized, strong information and outreach work. What is needed is targeted support for civil society infrastructure organizations.
Through its "Backbone & Relations" Program, the Schöpflin Foundation will support so-called backbone organizations. Essentially, we distinguish here between two areas:
Network organizations which, in the sense of "lobbying for good," provide targeted information and public relations work that supports civil society players. The aim is to pool resources in order to strengthen public awareness of and give greater weight – including as part of the political debate - to the work of social enterprises and NGOs. We are looking for initiatives that focus on good relations work within and between civil society players. We are also looking for initiatives that strengthen cohesion, both within and between sectors as well as within society as a whole. We are convinced that good relations and good quality human interaction are key building blocks for the stable foundation of an active civil society.
Resilient Structures – in organizations, and among people, are the very essence of what organizations and their commitment stand for. We are looking for and will support initiatives that create offerings specifically for this sector and support them in building sustainable organizational structures. This could be with their financial, personnel or strategic work. It is only by having stable and resilient internal structures that an organization’s external activities can be fully effective. Here, we pay particular attention to the issue of people’s wellbeing: we firmly believe that an individual’s inner wellbeing can, in and of itself, nurture and develop a radiant power that can shine through into an organization and even across an entire sector, thus promoting effective social change.
Photo: Ceren Saner
FAIR SHARE of Women Leaders e. V. is a non-profit association registered in Germany and operating worldwide. In cooperation with civil society organizations, FAIR SHARE seeks to develop solutions to achieve a representative proportion of women in leadership - a "fair share" - in the civil society sector. To this end, FAIR SHARE annually measures and publishes the number of women in leadership positions in the largest civil society organizations and advocates for a new leadership and organizational culture.
NGOs and foundations employ around 70% women, but only around 33% of executive positions in management and supervisory bodies are currently held by women. Thus, German civil society, like politics and business, is characterized by an imbalance at the leadership level. It is our concern to overcome this situation together with FAIR SHARE of Women Leaders and other civil society organizations.
The object of the grant is the development of the systemic organizational structure of FAIR SHARE of Women Leaders. This is intended to further develop the organization's strategy, expand its communication and extend its network in order to jointly advance the issues of gender equality and innovative organizational development and to test new forms of leadership.News
Photo: More in Common Germany
More in Common is an international initiative committed to reinforcing social solidarity. It wants to contribute to strengthening society at its core and prevent "us vs. them" discourses. More in Common operates in Germany, France, Great Britain and the USA and aims for transnational learning processes.
We are convinced that new approaches are needed to respond to the challenges of populism and social fragmentation. More in Common works according to principles of evidence-based political opinion research, and, together with partners, develops narratives, strategies and tools for civil society activities.
More in Common published the study »Die andere deutsche Teilung - Zustand und Zukunftsfähigkeit der deutschen Gesellschaft« ("The Other German Division - State and Sustainability of German Society") in 2019, for which more than 4,000 people throughout Germany were interviewed. Together, we want to transform the insights gained into tools for social practice, so that as many organizations as possible can benefit from them for their own work.
Photo: Andi Weiland
PHINEO gAG supports people and organizations who are particularly committed to solving social problems and to promoting effective non-profit activities. As an overarching consortium of stakeholders from civil society, government and business, PHINEO aims to meet the need for transparency and orientation in the non-profit sector.
PHINEO analyzes non-profit organizations on a scientific basis in order to provide quality-assured guidance for donors and socially committed companies ("social investors") that ensures the optimal use of financial resources for charitable purposes.
Through the transparent analysis and processing of socially relevant topics, we want to promote knowledge of the impact and working methods of non-profit organizations. In this way, we want to expand the possibilities of social commitment and improve the use of financial resources for charitable activities. The field study on "Non-profit journalism, freedom of information and freedom of expression", which we are conducting together with PHINEO and other cooperation partners, serves the same purpose.
Photo: SEND e.V.
The Social Entrepreneurship Netzwerk Deutschland e.V. (SEND) (Social Entrepreneurship Network, Germany) represents and is the voice of social entrepreneurs in Germany. It brings together social entrepreneurs at national and regional level; fosters interaction with the charitable, economic and civil society sectors; and promotes a better political environment.
As a lobbying and networking organisation SEND promotes the improvement of conditions for social entrepreneurs and gives them a louder voice. As such SEND is a pioneer for responsible business in Germany.
Together we shall work to ensure that in the future everyone will benefit from progress and innovation. We want to improve conditions for those players who – through their enterprises and using the most innovative methods – are creating a sustainable, fair and social future. That is why we fully support the development and dissemination of new solutions to the most complex challenges faced by society.
Graphic: Taufiq Klinkenborg
#VertrauenMachtWirkung ("TrustPowerImpact") is an initiative of Ise Bosch, Wider Sense, Dreilinden, PHINEO and more than 30 other foundations that advocates for a participatory, innovative and diverse foundation landscape. The initiative sets out in nine theses defining foundations of tomorrow. In addition to participation, diversity and transparency, the ability to listen and to work together with vision and in partnership with other actors are key characteristics of foundations that want to continue to make a relevant contribution to an open and diverse society in the future.
For us as a learning organization, the exchange with our peers is an important indicator of the relevance and potential for improvement of our work. The #VertrauenMachtWirkung initiative creates an exchange forum for foundations with similar values and ambitions. In this forum, we share both good practice and experiences of failure in order to develop further and inspire other foundations. This trustful mutual giving and taking is very valuable for a foundation's work.
Like the other supporters of the initiative, we are convinced that the "9 theses of modern foundation practice" address important issues for the philanthropic sector. By offering foundations a platform for exchange and mutual learning, #VertrauenMachtWirkung provides important impulses on how the sector can meet the major challenges of our time. Together, we are developing best practices for a more diverse and participatory third sector that will continue to work successfully to preserve our democratic society in the future.
Photo: Andi Weiland
betterplace lab is a digital-social think-and-do tank and the sister of betterplace.org, Germany's largest online donation platform. In the betterplace co:lab workshop series, full-time employees and volunteers learn about collaborative working approaches in order to develop skills for jointly dealing with complex global challenges.
Good collaboration takes time, a commitment to others, give-and-take, and the courage to take risks. True collaboration means adopting different perspectives. With these newly acquired skills, the workshop participants have an impact in their fields of engagement – and thus initiate a cultural change toward more social, more effective interactions.
The betterplace co:lab program consists of five workshops that build on each other. Over the next two years, a total of 66 workshops will be offered, allowing more than 500 people to participate. In addition, process coaching will support eight cross-organizational groups – so-called clusters – that are working on a social issue of the future.
Photo: Impact Society gGmbH
Impact Society gGmbH is a focus service provider for the commercial needs of non-profit organizations. It supports social enterprises and non-profit organizations in the areas of accounting and controlling, financial and human resources planning, liquidity and funding management, as well as project calculation. In this way, it aims to relieve social enterprises of administrative work.
In the Backbone & Relations program area, we aim to add systemic value by structurally strengthening NGOs and social enterprises. The Impact Society looks back on 15 years of experience in business administration of social enterprises and has a broad cross-sectional knowledge of accounting for NGOs, non-profit status and grant law. The experienced team thus understands the specific challenges of non-profit, project-funded organizations and can support them in developing and implementing holistic approaches.
For many social enterprises, business administration is an unloved "trouble child". Impact Society's business model is based on a win-win strategy in which each partner can focus on its core competence. Our goal is to increase efficiency and quality in the administration of social enterprises through the Impact Society's services, so that they can invest more time and other scarce resources in programmatic and content-related work.
Sometimes it doesn’t take much to bring about positive change. Through its »Rapid Response Grants« the Schöpflin Foundation provides organisations and projects with straightforward and rapid financial support - enabling them to implement their innovative and sustainable ideas, projects and initiatives. The maximum grant is 25.000 € per project, no applications can be submitted.
International and national
up to 25.000 €
Collective Impact LMS | Together, seven social enterprises (Acker e.V., Chancenwerk, CodeDoor e.V., Digitale Helden gGmbH, Kiron Digital Solutions GmbH, Serlo Education e.V., Start Stiftung) from the education sector are examining key questions about how digital elements can improve, innovate and scale educational offerings, what IT infrastructure is required for this and what steps of this further development can be taken together. This experiment is being financed jointly with the Beisheim Foundation and aqtivator gGmbH. The funds will be handled by the organization Digitale Helden.
Perspektive Neustart | Perspektive Neustart, RKW-Kompetenzzentrum and Handbook Germany : Together organise the Inclusive Entrepreneurship Summit promoting female and newcomer entrepreneurs. Topics include politics, financing, ecosystems and Ukrainian entrepreneurs. Involvement of politics, business and organisations to reduce barriers.
Phoenix e.V. | Phoenix e.V. provides longterm, personalised and positive reinforcement to people dealing with racism, as well as facilitating exchange, support for and training of people within a community – for a social structure of understanding.
With Wings and Roots e.V. | The society With Wings and Roots e.V. advocates for fundamental rights and alternative portrayal of marginalised groups regionally, nationally and internationally, in particular relating to migration and racism.
Digital Social Summit 2021 | Photo: Günther Schwering
Deutsche Stiftung für Engagement und Ehrenamt
Robert Bosch Stiftung
ZiviZ im Stifterverband
The Digital Social Summit is where civil society meets to discuss digital tools, debates and strategies together. At the intersection of social and digital, it addresses what digitization means strategically and very specifically for non-profit work. From March 29 to 30, 2022, the 4th Digital Social Summit will take place as a digital conference with livestream from Stuttgart.
Whether a small association or a large foundation, the Digital Social Summit imparts digital skills and knowledge, draws attention to trends, and holds debates on the trends of digitization in the third sector. The #dss has been opening up the space for debate and exchange within civil society since 2019. Initially launched as an analog conference, 1000 participants attended the digital conference in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
The #dss2022 focuses on the details of digital transformation and looks ahead: How can we shape our digital tomorrow today? How do we consolidate the digital processes that we have already achieved? How do we use digitization in a meaningful and socially just way? In particular, the aim is to enable knowledge transfer and empower civil society actors to participate in the current debates on digitization.News
“In our programme “Backbone & Relations”, the Schöpflin Foundation promotes the development of sustainable and resilient structures in the sector. In doing so, we focus on people and understand human relations as a strategy. I think this is highly important, because it strengthens the foundation of our joint effort.”
Anna Häßlin has been working at Schöpflin Foundation since 2017. She heads the programme areas Backbone & Relations and Migration & Integration. Before joining the Schöpflin Foundation, she was the managing director of an NGO that develops life perspectives with and for young refugees with uncertain residence status and of a non-profit association that organises international youth encounters in Europe. Anna has been volunteering for years in asylum and residence counselling, international youth work and self-governing structures. She has a diploma in business administration.