Several organizational features provide Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) with an effective bridge between agricultural resources and local communities. These organizational features include effective mechanisms that allow NGOs to embrace more proactive and participatory approaches to agricultural development. This paper reports on a comparative analysis of the organizational characteristics of selected NGOs in Malawi and Zimbabwe. Participatory and proactive organizational features were found to place these case NGOs in unique positions as intermediaries providing feed-back and dialogue with farmers. It is through increased NGO-government collaboration that more responsive development models can be achieved to close the gaps between the public- sector agricultural establishment and the resource poor farmer.