By Agar Nana Mbianda, August 24, 2017 —

Each week during our online courses, we hold a group chat session for participants to reflect on what they’ve learned and to share their experiences with one another. Currently, we’re right in the middle of our Raise Your Funds course about grassroots fundraising, and we had an incredible group chat this week!

This week in the course, we’re talking about how to write successful grant proposals and secure foundational support. The group chat is a great opportunity for our Alliance members to share their takeaways from the week’s lesson and to learn from each other: “We find this exchange very important…” said Chantal from WOMED in Cameroon.

Now that we’re halfway through the course, most of the participants are feeling more comfortable to share about how to raise their organization’s funds than at the beginning. Some previously considered fundraising to be the job of the organization’s director, not the staff, but during the course, they have seen how everyone can contribute to fundraising: “…I am not sure that I will succeed because I am my organization’s communication manager and I do not know anything about this issue…I understand now that my role is very important. So, I will share with the rest of the staff after this course…I believe that I can do something…” said Laurent from  CRSFPC/USOFORAL in Senegal.

Sharing their success stories and their weaknesses during the weekly group chat gives course participants the chance to become the facilitators and allows them to share and identify their best fundraising strategies and ways to never give up, as raising funds is not an easy task. Ousmane from AJD Pasteef in Senegal said: “at the beginning, we were a small community-based organization, we built our quality human resources and created collaborations with other organizations, we trusted on our capacities and skills…we started to raise about $150 and now $ 359,057.23! The whole thing is to believe in what we do and collaborate for technical support…” and Laurent added, “it was the $150 which brought the $359,057.23.” Such examples make others understand that it is possible to raise a lot of money if they work hard. It is an opportunity to ask questions and to receive direct answers and examples.

These group chat sessions are a way for us to measure Alliance members’ understanding of the course material and progress towards reaching their learning goals. But it is also a way to build solidarity among the group and the confidence of participants, whose experiences add value to our group discussions and whose new skills add to the capacity of their organization.

WOMED, CRSRPC/USOFORAL, and AJD Pasteef are all members of our Alliance – a network of close to 300 grassroots organizations from 53 countries. As part of our Francophone members they have been taking the Raise Your Funds course in French (newly available this year). These locally-based gender equality and women’s rights organizations focus on issues ranging from sexual and reproductive health rights to women’s leadership to gender-based violence. If you are part of a grassroots women’s rights organization and are interested in our course, get in touch with us today!