Incidental overlap occurs when USG and foundations (or other philanthropic entities) have common interests and target similar problems, populations, or geographic areas. Donors do not take particular account of each others actions and strategies to shape their own agendas, nor do they work together to align goals or strategies. Recognizing when such overlaps occur, however, can be useful, because these provide potential opportunities to explore common goals, build relationships, and, if appropriate, communicate in order to divide tasks and advance shared goals.
An example of incidental overlap that led to communication can be found in the infrastructure development work of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) in Armenia. MCA-Armeniathe in-country implementing entity for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC)and various existing donors operated independently of each other as they sought to achieve similar development goals in the country. The Lincy Foundation, for example, had already undertaken road-building projects in Armenia when MCA selected road reconstruction as one of its top development priorities. MCA-Armenia persuaded the Lincy Foundation to cover areas beyond the MCC-funded projects so that the amount of reconstruction was expanded. The ability of MCA-Armenia to augment its resources in this way certainly made road reconstruction a more attractive investment for MCC, but the two donor organizations did not share decision making about strategies, resources, or implementation.