Since the end of the 1970s, a great variety of go-betweens have been set up to offer specialist services to foundations and individual donors. Some of these are market-driven. Others offer expertise on a certain topic (women, climate, etc), method (strategic planning, back office services, etc) or geographic region that a donor may not want to invest in itself.
- Recently, new kinds of go-betweens have emerged. Some private wealth management departments of banks or philanthropic advisers may act as intermediaries. Social stock exchanges, which already exist in Brazil and South Africa, will be the next level of intermediaries, creating transparency for civil society organizations. With the rise of the internet the number of so-called pass-through intermediaries grows steadily.
- Intermediaries' local knowledge of conditions and laws, beneficiaries' needs, and opportunities and threats to effective grantmaking are highly valued.
- Forgoing the limelight may be one of the reasons donor find it difficult to work with intermediaries as they have to accept not owning a project or idea.