Ask any development practitioner what the toughest thing to navigate in the sector is and they will mostly likely say funding. Dig even deeper and you will see that the said issue is not the unavailability of funding. Yes, the sector has seen some significant funding cuts in recent months but there is still a considerable amount of resources going to the sector. The dilemma facing organisations, especially beginners, is finding the right funding partners as this can make all the difference, not just for the reserves of an organisations but its very soul.
Resourcing Philanthropy, a web-based platform profiling humanitarian efforts and developmental initiatives in South Africa, is helping organisations and activists make the most of the wealth of networks and funding partners available to them. The Resourcing Philanthropy website hosts information, experience and insights from grant-makers, non-profit organizations and philanthropists in South Africa.
A great component about Resourcing Philanthropy is that its approaches are based on Asset-Based Community-Driven Development perspectives and practice. When choosing initiatives and funding partners to highlight, Resourcing Philanthropy functions around four approaches namely, 1. Margin to Center, 2. Advocating Change, 3. Risk With Vision and 4. Responsive Collaboration – concepts that ABCD practitioners are familiar with. This means that they put the emphasis on communities and their aspirations and assets rather than put development and communities at the mercy of funders to serve as marketing for them in exchange for cash.
Development is not merely about monetary wealth, shiny facades on infrastructure and technological symbols to replace “the old.” Resourcing Philanthropy understands this. Yes, access to knowledge and things to make life easier might be part of development, but they are not the end goal of the process. A lot of poor communities’ land, resources and even rights have been sold to multi-nationals by their governments in exchange for shiny material symbols that are supposed to equate development. Ecological systems have been disrupted, children and women exploited in factories and heinous abuses against human and animal rights shrugged off by governments and proponents of development in the name of development.
The focus is then on what communities initiate or want to start. Through this perspective, funding partners supplement or partner in equal, fair relationships with communities rather than drive community initiatives.
Resourcing Philanthrophy also prepares organisations on ways to manage not only the funding when they get it, but also their work through a series of In Actions.