Resourcing resilient, diverse civil society

Around the world, civil society’s resilience is being undermined by shrinking civic spaces, reducing the sector’s ability to speak out, mobilise, and take action. Moreover, within civil society, massive power imbalances are resulting in unbalanced access to adequate resources, with well-known gaps in power and money widening. Civil society organisations that challenge the political and economic status quo are particularly vulnerable to resource shifts.

To address these trends, CIVICUS is building on our networks, knowledge, and experience, as well as visibility within the funding community, civil society and more widely, to leverage more and better resources for citizen action. This will help sustain agency from progressive actors in the Global South and improve access to adequate resources for smaller or spontaneous formations or organisations.

Five Areas of Intervention

To deliver on this, we are focusing on five areas of intervention (identified in consultation with our members):

1. Consolidate our thought leadership:

Articulate how different parts of civil society organise and resource themselves, highlight models supporting resilience that would require shifts in both funders and civil society ways of working, and building a strong narrative on how more equitable power dynamics should look in the philanthropy space.

2.  Influence, inspire and provoke:

share messages, recommendations, good examples and new models of practice to global forums, governments, donors, foundations, funding intermediaries and different parts of civil society. This includes promoting progressive and change-seeking philanthropy with public recognition through the Brave Philanthropy category of our Nelson Mandela-Graça Machel Innovation Awards.

3.  Connect and mobilize different actors:

through a variety of collective processes, including multi-stakeholder meetings and affinity groups, to create links, mutual learning and space to initiate new collaborations. For example, we are helping to facilitate an online community of practice and advocating for a more enabling environment for national resource mobilisation and better civil society resourcing.

4.  Experiment:

internally adopt the approaches and innovations we advocate for externally with the intention of documenting and sharing good practice and increasing our legitimacy in this domain. This entails not only experimenting with specific resourcing-related initiatives but also mainstreaming more organic resourcing issues in the other CIVICUS programmes.

5.  Build capacity and resilience:

share various models and resourcing strategies that support resilience, especially in contexts with restricted civil society spaces. Connect our members, especially those with little or no experience in resource mobilisation, with opportunities for dedicated training and coaching.



25  Owl Street, 6th Floor
South Africa,
Tel: +27 (0)11 833 5959
Fax: +27 (0)11 833 7997

CIVICUS, c/o We Work
450 Lexington Ave
New York
NY 10017
United States

11 Avenue de la Paix
Tel: +41.79.910.34.28