Dialogue and cooperation


The Bureau of Social Initiatives (BIS) was established as a foundation in December 2007. Since then, we have been functioning as an independent organisation, constantly working to provide growth and support for the non-governmental sector. We are also committed to facilitate cooperation between civil society organisations and local municipalities in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship.


We want all citizens to actively participate in policy processes, taking initiative on issues that concern them. Our aim is to inspire and encourage dialogue among members of the civil society to make non-governmental organisations’ work more effective. We advocate for more inclusive policy processes and enabling laws that provide space for social action.

Our work focuses on educating and supporting citizens, NGOs and local municipalities in achieving their goals. We strongly believe that through working closely together and inspiring each other, we can achieve more.

Members of our team are experienced specialists in the field of organisation development, social economy, social participation and local engagement. Some of us are representatives in local and regional public benefit councils as well as in selection boards in competitions.

BIS is part of a nation-wide NGO-network called “SPLOT” (Sieć Wspierania Organizacji Pozarządowych), acting as an umbrella organisation that connects and empowers the third sector in Poland.


  • XII 2007

    BIS is founded

  • 2009

    BIS joins a nation-wide NGO network called “SPLOT”

  • 2010

    The Regional Volunteer Centre is established

  • 2013

    BIS is launching and testing its local initiatives projects in 6 municipalities

    BIS is testing its scheme of District Citizens’ Centres in Cracow

  • 2014

    • BIS is completing the local initiative funds (FIO) programme for the Lesser Poland Voivodeship
    • BIS becomes a certified “SPLOT” Centre for Civic Activity and Centre of Non-Governmental Organisations
    • The Regional Volunteer Centre turns into a separate organisation
    • BIS gets awarded the „Salt Crystals” Grand Prix by the Marshal of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship
  • 2015

    • BIS, together with two other organisations, runs the Cracow Civic Centre
    • BIS is testing its pilot leadership scheme for local district councilors



people have participated
in the realization of local undertakings


initiative groups have received
financial and procedural support


organizations in Lesser Poland
have benefitted


training courses




organizations in Lesser Poland
in creating Cooperation Programmes of councils
with organizations

In 2014, BIS was awarded the „Salt Crystals” Grand Prix by the Marshal of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship for its “extraordinary commitment to strengthening the non-governmental sector, for its action towards integration and development of the third sector and for connecting citizens with organisations and local councils”.


Our work is centered around three pillars:

We realize three essential Programmes


Socially engaged citizens who ‘take matters into their own hands’ mean better functioning communities.

Co robimy - mieszkańcy

Socially engaged citizens who ‘take matters into their own hands’ mean better functioning communities. We strive for a state in which people take initiative in matters that concern both them and their local communities. We want to raise awareness of citizens’ rights and obligations and connect people with their local representatives and leaders. We are convinced that such awareness will serve the benefit of local communities. Through our support, we want to showcase opportunities such as: cooperation between groups and institutions, local partnerships, public consultations, local initiatives or civic budgets.

As for today, 308 initiative groups have benefited from our financial and procedural support. Thanks to our work, over 16 000 people have been involved in local programmes and initiatives.


Civic organizations are an area for people’s creative activity and are formal partners for councils in the realization of social needs.

Co robimy - organizacje

Civil society organisations (CSOs) do not only provide social space for citizens to pursue their needs but do also act as partners for local municipalities, supporting them in the provision of social services and allowing them to reach marginalised groups.

Such organisations face multiple challenges, for example: How to extend the scope of their impact? How to involve citizens in their undertakings? With whom and how to cooperate? How to ensure the well-being of employees? How to manage an organisation?

An organisation’s effectiveness depends on the competences of its employees. Therefore, systematic training focused on advancement of skills and abilities is crucial for its functioning. Organisations that are aware of the procedures and needs of citizens have a better chance to become partners for local governments in the implementation of shared tasks. We are constantly gathering and sharing up-to-date information about training opportunities for organisations and their employees. 

As for today, we have provided educational support in the areas of organisation development, social activity, cooperation, and social economy for more than 1000 institutions. We have also held 1500 training sessions and 5438 consultations for community leaders and civil servants.


They are our primary rules, which we realize acting for the growth of social activity and a strong non-governmental sector in Lesser Poland.

Co robimy - dialog

Dialogue and cooperation are core principles guiding our daily work towards enhanced social activity of citizens and a strengthened third sector in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship.

We care about building and empowering our civic society, being aware that this requires involvement and close cooperation of various organisations. We believe that through working together we are able to change social attitudes as well as to have a stronger voice in dialogue with local governments and business partners. It is all about responsibility for issues that are important to the third sector – wide cooperation and active engagement is leading us to successful outcomes!

Key activities conducted by BIS for the third sector in Cracow:

  • establishing the Cracow Agreement of Civic Organisations, which purpose was to strengthen the cooperation between civic organisations and the local government
  • implementing Cracow’s Multi-annual Programme for Cooperation with NGOs
  • empanelling the Commission for Civic Dialogue
  • launching the Cracow Civic Centre

Key activities conducted by BIS for the third sector in Lesser Poland Voivodeship:

  • advocacy success in formulating Cracow’s Multi-annual Programme for Cooperation with NGOs, launching a fund for NGOs in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship
  • founding a regional NGO federation to foster cooperation between 30 organisations