Giving Compass' Take:

• Huub Schreurs, writing for Alliance Magazine, argues that donors need to shift funding strategies to more effectively work with and amplify missions of social movements. 

• How is your philanthropy promoting social justice movements? 

• Learn more about social justice philanthropy. 

After reading the latest issue of Alliance magazine, I note a lot of concern on both sides to achieve effective forms of cooperation, mainly due to stereotyped perceptions and prejudices. It is time to overcome them, to acknowledge that there are common interests, and to find new ways to collaborate. The programmatic approach offers a highly dynamic framework for joint action.

While social movements are booming everywhere and there is an increasing awareness among philanthropic institutions of their potential to achieve social change, the two worlds have a hard time to find each other. For a variety of reasons.

The  June issue shows that both sides do not know each other, due to mutual stereotyped perceptions. Just as the one assumes that philanthropic institutions always want to keep control over agendas, the other tends to see a social movement as a nebulous and unstructured phenomenon. Just as the one has mistrust of established institutions, the other does not believe in a movement’s long-term effectiveness.

Yet, it is somewhat peculiar that two parties that together make up the mainstay of civil society,  have remained strangers to each other for so long. It is time to recognize their common interests, like indeed recapturing the civic space that is shrinking in so many countries.

Certainly, social movements would impose unambiguous and clear demands on cooperation, but the real hampering factor is that those in the vanguard of movements are not familiar with the culture and practices of philanthropic institutions. As, on the other side, many philanthropic institutions find it extremely difficult to establish a modus operandi for collaboration with partners who operate in a highly non-formal setting. The traditional grantmaking and investment tools and associated single project methods don’ t comply with the complexity and unique configurations of social movements. It is time, indeed, to rethink funding strategies.

Read the full article about working together with social movements by Huub Schreurs at Alliance Magazine.