Sustainable Projects for Organisations of the Third Sector - SPOTS

Stone Soup Consulting and Bairros Rede de Desenvolvimento Local are the Portuguese partners of this European project. 

SPOTS European partners meeting in Birmingham - "How to keep things fresh with your funder"

The difficulty in accessing funding is one of the main concerns identified by third sector organisations in Portugal, which receive mostly direct financial support for the development of social intervention projects, having less support for their own training and mechanisms and processes aimed at increasing their organisational and financial sustainability, effectiveness and impact. On the other hand, the assessment shows the notorious difficulty to carry on dialogue at a horizontal level between entities that receive funding and donors nationwide. 

In this context and in its first stage, the SPOTS project aimed at reviewing Third Sector funding, namely the importance of funding directed at projects not organisations; analyse this approach from the donors and the organisations’ perspective; analyse funding constraints between funders and funded organisations; identify the needs of the various actors (in preparation for stage 2 of the SPOTS project, based on a multi-sectorial dialogue). 


Intervening in Portugal, in the Greater Lisbon region, based on a simple and open system of three circles - donors of the Third Sector, Third Sector training entities and Third Sector organisations who are beneficiaries of funding, the SPOTS project proceeded to gather information with participating entities representing the three circles and intersecting areas through ad-hoc methodologies (semi-guided interviews and workshop). This document collects the first results of this research-action project. 


Healthcare clowns from the Portuguese charity Operação Nariz Vermelho

By Alejandro Peña, posted on April 28th 2016.

Allow me to share with you a most original and surprising consulting experience that Rosa Matos, Cláudia Pedra, Cristiano Viegas and this humble Argentinean - true, perfect example of an oxymoron - have recently carried out at the Healthcare Clowning International Meeting 2016 that took place last March in Lisbon.  

Stone Soup Consulting’s projects have proved to be anything but standard or orthodox tasks for me. I am getting used to shifting from intense online benchmarking exercises to track how social stock exchanges finance their activities; to testing my networking skills in an international event where NGO staff, academics and global donors play their annual game of beggars and peacocks or even squeezing my brain in a futile effort to understand why twenty micro-NGOs simply cannot help but see a free opportunity to build their managerial capacities as a curse. In my moments of brighter clarity I go beyond the professional learnings garnered from these experiences and engage in the inherent adventure of connecting with other human beings. I strongly believe that working towards social transformation offers us the privilege of being naturally closer to other people’s dreams, fears and loving drive. In this scenario, laughter sometimes appears as the only way out from astonishment, anguish and suffering. Clowns, and particularly healthcare/hospital clowns, really know what I mean.

With our “note taker” hats on we went from one conference room to another, we listened, wrote and conversed with speakers and participants throughout three long days. The clown’s passion, as contagious as it is, permeated the elegant Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian premises and left us with no choice (I know I can speak for my colleagues here) but have a glance into the clown’s soul.

You can download it here.

The Portugal Impact Group, of which Stone Soup Consulting is a member, joined again the effort of Inspiring Impact in the United Kingdom, and made The "Funders’ Principles and Drivers of Good Impact Practice" available to the Portuguese speaking world, after the recent launch of "The Code of Good Impact Practice".

This document has been informed by the Funders for Impact Working Group and facilitated by the Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF) on behalf of Inspiring Impact.

It is intended to help funders think about how they can improve their own impact practice and support the impact practices of their grantees and investees. The role of funders in shaping behaviour around impact practice is considered critical as their approach to impact, and their financial and non-financial support, strongly influences practice.

This framework offers practical and useful guidance for funders, irrespective of the scale or scope of operations, as set out in “The Code of Good Impact Practice”. This document is also in line with “Linhas de Orientação para Investidores e Financiadores Socialmente Responsáveis” prepared by GRAIS.

O período de candidaturas aos Prémio Agir da REN terminou.

As candidaturas entregues até às 23h59 de dia 30 de abril serão agora analisadas. Todos as candidaturas recebidas receberão um email de resposta. 

Agradecemos o vosso interesse pelo Prémio Agir da REN.


When: March 30th, from 2pm to 3pm British Summer Time, GMT+1 (UK time).

Register here

Would you like to have a better understanding of how organisations deliver social impact? Do you want to know what is it that you need to manage and how to face the challenges and opportunities to deliver impact? Anton Simanowitz, author of the book “The Business of Doing Good” and director of Social Performance Solutions, will lead a webinar that will look into the heart of the impact system and give a twist to its management. Aimed at anybody working in an organisation  with a social purpose, from board members to managers, frontline staff or impact people in general, the goal of this webinar is to have a better understanding of the social impact process.  

Join us for this new webinar organised by the Portugal Impact Group and Stone Soup Consulting, a free and open training that will bridge the gap between good intentions and practice.

“Many times I’ve asked myself why is it that organisations so committed to deliver good in the world, often fail to take opportunities to do better, and sometimes actually hurt the people that they are trying to reach. This webinar is about the details of how to build good organisations and not just the products. It will focus on how not to make assumptions about our clients and understand what they need. On how to build the right product and services to make small tweaks that really improve things”, Anton Simanowitz. 

Anton Simanowitz has been influential since the late 1990s as a practitioner and thought leader in the field of microfinance and social enterprise. He works globally with practitioners, investors, technical assistance providers and policy makersto improve the effectiveness of microfinance and social enterprises in delivering positive social outcomes.

Anton was founder and Director of the Imp-Act Consortium, a group of 12 leading microfinance organisations instrumental in the development of  the Universal Standards in Social Performance management – industry standards in microfinance that are now widely used in due diligence, social audit, social rating, technical assistance and reporting.Most recently he led the design and roll-out to ten countries of a social performance diagnostic and capacity building approach for Dutch social investor Oikocredit.

Register here