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Power and participation
Wealth, funding and investment practice

Power, participation and transformative change: how funders can help

This report documents learning from JRF’s work alongside organisations led by people in poverty over the past five years, on what funders can do to build power and support transformative change at a grassroots level.

Written by:
Sarah Campbell
Date published:

The Grassroots Mobilisation programme of work was part of the 2017-2021 JRF strategy to build public and political will to solve poverty. There was an ambition to ‘work alongside’ people with direct experience of poverty to amplify voices and put them at the heart of the debate. At the time there was little joint organisation understanding behind what this meant in practice. The strategy provided a framework to develop this understanding, and an idea of what realising this ambition could look like. The Grassroots Mobilisation Programme formed one part of enacting this ambition.

This learning draws from:

  • Five years of practice-based learning (2018-2022) in continuous conversation and reflection with organisations led by marginalised communities. Mainly carried out through one-to-one meetings and sometimes group reflection spaces.
  • An internal reflection with JRF staff involved in delivery of the programme.
  • An external learning project which focused on honing the funding practice that emerged out of the Grassroots Mobilisation strategy.

Key learning:

To create the conditions for sustainable grassroots mobilisation funders and large charities can work to:

  • Reduce the disconnect between funders and those they fund.
  • Better understand what is needed to build power within grassroots groups and then adequately resource it.
  • Redefine/reimagine impact and metrics that are fit for purpose for grassroots mobilisation work.
  • Acknowledge and work towards our own transformation to enable all of the above.
Charismatic community leader wearing football shirt

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