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Forms of delivery of non-financial support

Depending on the type of services providers select as part of their non-financial support, they can opt for multiple delivery forms. In our research, six primary delivery forms were identified:

Participation in the board of directors or advisory board

This participation can be a way of providing direct support to PAHO to develop an adequate governance system (if it does not already have one) and can also help in the structuring or revision of its strategy, the raising of funds or the development of financial skills. This type of support depends on whether it is accompanied by financing and the type of financing. It is more common in emerging social enterprises when equity capital (equity) is received from investors. It is important that conflicts of interest are also taken care of if there are future investments from the provider of financial support.

Participation in the board of directors or advisory board depends on the level of involvement that the provider wants to have in the SPO. On the one hand, the organization providing the support must know whether it has the capacity and time to participate through its representation in the board of directors or advisory board. On the other hand, it must know whether its participation would add value to the board and constitute a benefit for its organization. 

Consultancy or technical assistance

This type of support facilitates specialized professional support and technical capacity services to enhance skills, knowledge, or processes that are very specific for the development of the SPO.

There are at least three ways of implementing this type of support. Firstly, this type of support is offered externally to provide consultancy services, highly specific or specialized tasks that the non-financial support provider cannot offer itself. Secondly, business support organizations, including consulting firms, can provide this kind of support directly to the SPO, whether through partnerships among several organizations providing (and financing) non-financial support or through direct payment by the SPO for the services offered. Lastly, organizations that provide the support can also act as intermediaries between the SPOs and the professionals/organizations providing the services. This role mainly consists in managing consultancy or other professional services provided by third parties. 

Mentoring and coaching by experts

These forms of non-financial support can add significant value to SPOs for them to develop the talent and skills of their teams in an individualized way and thus build their internal management capacity. Coaching and mentoring are often one-on-one interactions between a member of the SPO’s team (usually the Executive Director or members of the management team) and a coach (a seasoned professional with knowledge of a specific area). 

Group workshops or courses

These types of support are training mechanisms for SPOs to develop the competencies that need to be strengthened. This group training is facilitated by expert professionals that share knowledge, good practices, and exercises for the immersion of SPOs in diverse strengthening topics. The activity can range from commercial matters for the businesses, such as financial management, human resources, and impact management, to soft skills like leadership and emotional intelligence. This training is generally agreed upon between the non-financial support provider and the SPO.  

Through partners and/or networks

This type of support is widely used by non-financial support providers, mainly by non-profit organizations and foundations. Connections with networks or partners provide a service that adds value to SPOs at a low cost for non-financial support providers. The organization offering this type of support is in charge of connecting organizations in the network and ensuring that the parties make the most of the relationship. Networks are usually multi-actor and are spaces where SPOs can forge new connections and receive feedback from experts inside and outside the geographies where they operate, and SPOs can have greater access to professionals, public policymakers, clients, markets, or other investors or grantmakers that enable them to develop or increase their impact. 

Facilitating peer-to-peer knowledge exchange

Another way to provide non-financial support efficiently—that is, highly valuable for SPOs and cost-effective for non-financial support providers—is by connecting SPOs with their peers individually or through networks. 


SPOs often learn better in peer groups, especially when it comes to sensitive topics that they may not feel comfortable discussing with the same organization that provides them with financial support.