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: 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.
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.
“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.”
Daniela Metzger has been with the Schöpflin Foundation since 2014. She helped build up the Foundation's funding area, then headed the Refugee & Integration programme area and took over the Perspektive neuStart programme in autumn 2018. Since 2021, she has headed the Infrastructure & Relationship programme area. Even before her work at the Foundation, Daniela worked intensively as a consultant on the question of how to successfully shape and accompany social change. She studied economics at the University of Fribourg.