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Four ways Funders can Support Community-based Organizations

Updated: May 17, 2023


Building trust in funder support is essential and contributes to program success. Here are four ways funders can support community-based organizations (CBOs) like SisterWeb achieve shared positive outcomes:

  1. Pour support and resources into the HOW. CBOs are positioned to carry out their data development agenda in addition to staffing, tech tools, and general operations. Funders should be willing and able to recognize and support all components needed to build sustainable systems and workflows to achieve goals.

  2. Focus LESS on dictating metrics, requiring grueling reports, and conforming indicators to a cookie-cutter mold. Consider co-developing metrics and being willing to rethink more appropriate ones for grantees.

  3. Focus MORE on deep, long-term relationship building. Consider multi-year funding contracts, lower barrier reporting, and data collecting methods, especially when working alongside CBOs, and especially those run by women and other marginalized groups. CBOs and funders should ask these three questions in the relationship-building process: What indicators does the grantee find important in measuring success and impact? What is getting in the way of the grantee having practical and powerful tools for telling their story? How can the funder help?

  4. Be flexible and adaptable. CBOs and funders who share the same goals should always remember flexibility and adaptability. Sometimes goals have to shift, as they did with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the inability to accommodate can keep organizations from achieving shared goals. In data collection tools and analysis, CBOs and funders must look at root causes and answer three essential results-based accountability (RBA) questions: how much, how well, and who is better off. Isn’t that why they have the funding in the first place?

This blog post was written by Marna Armstead, SisterWeb's Executive Director, and edited by Sofía Carbone, SisterWeb's Communications Coordinator.

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