Key Points

The closing space of civil society around the world over the last decades has created profound challenges for funders. Many analyses of how to respond to this reality focus on advocacy and promoting enabling policy environments. Few consider key practices of resilient funders that enable them to continue to operate under shifting political circumstances.

Increased adaptive capacity along three dimensions – varied procedures, multiple strategies, and an adaptive environment – promotes the flexibility to weather the shocks and stresses of tightening restrictions and increasing violence. Within those dimensions, funders are finding that three characteristics of resilience are especially critical: flexibility; diversity and redundancy; and resourcefulness and ability to learn.

Drawing on lessons from the experience of those working in countries of concern, this article proposes a conceptual framework for weathering threats from changing conditions, with the aim of providing a simple yet powerful way of assessing and improving current practices.

Open Access