Donor Strategies in a Time of Paradigm Shift: Mapping of the Donors Active in the Western Balkans

23 Janar 2024

Catalyst Balkans and Open Society Foundations-Western Balkans present the third edition of the Mapping of Donors Active in the Western Balkans. Building on previous work published in 2016 and 2019, the research unlocks a wealth of information for all domestic and foreign stakeholders involved in funding civil society in six Western Balkans countries. The main research objective was to map and analyze the current donor landscape to civil society in the Western Balkans, focusing on the work of bilateral, multi-lateral, private foundation, and corporate donors. This research examines both the regionalization of donor support by some donors and the trend towards greater use of regranting through domestic grantmaking organizations.

This report provides insights into how the Western Balkans’ donor landscape is evolving due to the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical dynamics. It reveals that while these global events have influenced donor priorities, donors express their intent to continue their activities in the region beyond 2023, with a growing inclination toward regional cooperation for enhanced synergy.

Some of the key questions answered by this research include:

  • Which donors are active in the region?                        
  • What is the level of their support?  
  • Which topics and beneficiary groups are focused on?
  • What level of support can be expected in the coming three years, considering the potentially tectonic global geopolitical changes?
  • How do donors interact with the civil society organizations they fund?
  • What is the perception of donors about the current state of civil society in the Western Balkans region?                            

In summary, the report emphasizes the shifting dynamics in donor activities in the Western Balkans. While donors plan to sustain or increase their involvement, there is a call for better coordination, digitalization, and addressing CSOs’ challenges to maximize donor impact and foster regional development.

The research was supported by Open Society Foundations – Western Balkans (OSF-WB), Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF), the Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN), and the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE).