Grants are an important source of funds, and hence therefore, we should scrutinize our fundraising activities from time to time. We should ask ourselves whether our approach reflects the reality and current situation. A great many organisations have well-defined roadmaps and objectives, yet, they have a narrow view on the sorts of grants that could fit those aims.
The goal of this article is to urge women-led businesses to broaden their view and the best way to learn is from the mistakes of others. Therefore, allow me to share a personal anecdote. A few years ago, I was leading the fundraising efforts of a scrappy Syrian feminist organisation and I wrote numerous grant proposals. Our growth and our objectives were such that we had to rethink our fundraising strategy. This exercise led me to the uneasy conclusion that 90% of our funding came from donors that ascribe to the feminist ideals and exclusively fund organisations such as ourselves.
These were safe bets, our story resonated with these funders, and it gave a certain guarantee to our operation. But what was it that made us wary of working with the bigger and more established donors? Most donors were committed to gender equality, wrote about gender parity in their programme announcements and, in the case of the EU, have made gender dimensions a condition for funding non-profits.