In 2013, Mama Cash, awarded a Strategic Partnerships grant to one of our long-time women’s funds partners, Semillas in Mexico. Semillas no longer receives core funding from Mama Cash because it has grown in size and capacity and has access to other international donors. The Strategic Partnerships grant allowed Mama Cash to recognise Semillas’ resource mobilization expertise and also to access fundraising training for six of our Latin American grantees. Semillas had already offered resource mobilization training to groups in Mexico and has led learning exchanges for most of our younger women’s funds partners.
Our grantees frequently begin their lives as smaller, community–based groups. Our mission is to support them togrow in influence and power and to make connections withother activist groups and movements. Each stage of growth requires new skills and new money.
Our women’s fund grantees, such as Semillas, are the key women’s rights fundraising experts in the regions where our grantees are located and work. They understand local attitudes towards philanthropy. They can shape trainings tolocal needs and mentor groups to develop appropriate fundraising strategies.
The six organisations selected for the five-day training in Mexico City work on lesbian, trans people’s, sex workers’and maquila workers’ rights. Each of them has been aMama Cash grantee for at least four years. These groups are growing in power and influence and are strengthening their capacity to access donors beyond Mama Cash, which we see as a sign of success.
The topics for the training included learning about different kinds of donors; the nuts and bolts of writing a grant proposal and communicating with donors; how to connect with corporate donors; and how to build a network of individual donors. An entire day was devoted to the construction and development of fundraising work plans. The workshop also emphasised the importance of strategic communications to successful fundraising efforts.
One of the participants, Desalambrando from Argentina,addresses lesbian women’s experiences of violence. They particularly appreciated learning more about how to develop key messages for communicating to donors. “We realised we had kept such a low profile that we were not communicating what we do and the impact we have had”. Participants also learned about getting their messages ou tto the media. ATRAHDOM is a leader in the struggle for Guatemalan women’s and trans workers’ labour rights. “Now we know how to make journalists say what we want to communicate and not to impose their own story on us.”