How Donors Can Support Social Movements

In this qualitative research and analysis piece, created for a donor collaborative called the Transparency & Accountability Initiative, I found that the best way to support social movements is to fund close to the grassroot.  This means:

  • Grassroots organizations can be identified by a range of indicators, all of which demonstrate that those directly affected by an injustice are empowered to change it.
  • The grassroots are diffuse, decentralized, and informal, a process that has quickened due to the adoption of social media by activists.
  • The first step for supportive donors is to remove risks to the safety and legitimacy of grassroots actors, as well as distortion of participation incentives, activities, and aims.
  • Support requires a mix of financial and service support provided directly and through intermediaries, aimed at both organizations and individuals.

Thanks to my colleagues at the engine room for bringing me on to do this work.