Giving Compass’ Take:
• Carlos Saavedra, founder of Ayni Institute, shares the five ways funders can support social movements at each stage of the process.
• How can funders better understand social movements?
• Read about the role of trust in funding social justice work.
We have recently seen mass mobilizations break out around the United States and have a tremendous positive impact on public discourse. But it is not always easy to know how best philanthropy can support these efforts. Gaining familiarity with the cycles and dynamics of movement growth, however, can help funders assess what movements need and at what time.
Major donors can support protest and organizing activity in the midst of a trigger event in two main ways:
- Fund trainings that will empower people to make the most of a social movement upheaval. During trigger events, participants need to acquire roles and skills relevant to a moment of heightened public attention and participation—topics not necessarily covered in typical community organizing trainings.
- In the midst of trigger events, give small stipends to sustain “anchor volunteers.” “Anchor volunteers” are people who either bring unique, hard-to-replace skills, or “anchor” a larger group of participants by managing group work and growing the skills of others.
- Help established organizations absorb new people during movement moments. Established organizations have the capacity to keep people involved for the longer term—as long as they create a premeditated strategy for absorption and commit to engaging volunteers in meaningful work.
- Fund longer-term infrastructure to support the basic needs of movement organizers. As trigger events wind down, there is also a need for productive transitional space that allows anchor volunteers—who may have left jobs, school, or family obligations to take on leadership roles during the movement’s high-energy period—to rest, reflect, and regroup.
- Fund those courageous enough to escalate. Escalation refers to any set of actions that increasingly ups the ante in terms of participants’ disruptiveness and sacrifice.
Read the full article about how funders can support movements by Carlos Saavedra at Stanford Social Innovation Review.
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