We spoke to 26 funders and nine women’s rights organizations about their motivations, priorities and the challenges they face, to see how funders and practitioners can work together more effectively. We found that despite sharing many of the same principles and ambitions, there is a mismatch between the needs of women’s rights organizations and what many funders are offering.

1. Mind the gap: Recognize that women’s rights organizations have been chronically underfunded and are trying to meet an increasing demand for their services. These challenges can be particularly acute for specialist organizations working with minority women. At Apna Haq, we support women and girls from black and minority ethnic (BME) communities who are living in Rotherham to escape violence. We have sometimes found that the needs of the BME communities we work with can be lost in the funding ecosystem.

2. Quality as well as quantity: Flexible, core funding allows us at Equality Now as a women’s rights organization to remain agile and responsive to the needs of the women and girls we serve, as well as adaptable to a constantly changing context. By one institutional funder in particular providing us with significant, multi-year commitments to our work, we have been able to plan for longer-term programming and organizational development, while maintaining a healthy accountability.

3. See the big picture: Women for Women International began receiving funding from Postcode Equality Trust, raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, in 2017. The relationship has been characterized from the start by a long-term vision, and willingness to listen and learn. Their willingness to provide core funding during the first year of establishing a physical presence in Iraq allowed us to create the infrastructure and systems we needed to deliver real change into the future, rather than fixating on quick results within the grant period.

Read the full article about three ways to be a more feminist philanthropist at Alliance Magazine.