Organizational Development Grants to Think Tanks

Organizational development grants aim to provide support for improvement in the three specific areas of think tank activity and operation:

  1. Quality of research products encompasses mechanisms for external and internal review of written output, and development and choice of various research methods and formats for producing analysis.
  2. Communications and advocacy capacity deals with how organizations deliver their findings to the public, who they target as key audiences, and what approaches and tools they use for that purpose.
  3. Internal development and governance is concerned with how think tanks function as a nonprofit organization and includes staff recruitment and retention; composition and functioning of governing bodies (like a governing or advisory board); and issues of strategic planning, fundraising, and sustainability.

An organizational development grant can cover from one to all three areas for a period between one to three years based on an applicant’s demands, merit of the proposal, and the time needed for implementing necessary changes.

Eligibility Criteria

To be considered for an organizational development grant, your organization has to meet the following criteria:

  • be a legally registered independent organization in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, or Ukraine;
  • be operational for no less than 24 months;
  • be a multi-issue think tank;
  • embrace an inclusive approach to policy-making, which implies making analysis publicly available and targeting a variety of public stakeholders;
  • undertake thorough and rigorous research, and develop thematic expertise, to inform public debates in a responsible and accurate manner and to position itself as a credible interlocutor for the government and other public actors.
Purpose and Priorities

A robust policy process is critical to building open society. It offers a venue for wide public participation, enables a discussion of ideas informed by evidence, and prevents attempts to establish a monopoly on truth. Strengthening such processes is critical to Open Society’s mandate of ensuring justice, advancing human rights, promoting transparency, and ending discrimination.

Out of the many participants in the policy process, Think Tank Fund focuses on think tanks because they strengthen democratic processes by:

  1. identifying political, economic, and social problems;
  2.  researching them in a nonpartisan and scientifically rigorous manner;
  3. providing policy alternatives that enrich public debate.

Think tanks are vital not only because they advocate specific remedies, but also because these remedies are informed by carefully accumulated and analyzed data, making them harder to ignore than emotional normative appeals or isolated instances of abuse. Our mission is to contribute to building strong think tanks that produce high-quality policy analysis, deliver it to a wide range of audiences to galvanize public interest and debate, and operate as sustainable and internally robust nonprofit organizations.


Download the full call for proposal document at left for further information regarding the application process.

Applicants should upload a brief concept paper of no more than four pages to the Open Society Foundations Grant Portal.