Drawing upon advocacy efforts, fundraising is important to develop from the planning stage as an ongoing component of shelter programming. This is critical to sustain the operation of the shelter and ensure continuity of services provided over time, which enable the organization to fulfill its commitments to the women seeking support.
Fundraising should complement broader efforts to secure adequate state budget support for shelters and related services, as it is frequently provided by local, municipal, state or sub-regional government bodies (although this may differ across settings and communities). Other potential sources of funds for shelters include:
Steps for fundraising include:
(Lesley Ackrill & Ashleigh Saith, 2012. Fundraising Basics for Women’s Organizations; Lysakowki, 2011- Conference presentation; Lorenzen and Elkan; Away From Violence - WAVE, 2004a, WAVE, 2004b; Martins, et. al.,2008).
Secure adequate state funding for shelters and services
It is critical for shelters to secure state funding for their operations, in line with international obligations to protect women from violence, although limited government resources and prioritization of other issues may challenge efforts by shelter advocates to obtain this funding.
Shelters should advocate for the state to be responsible for the majority of funding for shelter operations and their services, complementing other fundraising efforts, such as seeking resources from private foundations, individual donations, sponsorships or international grants.
State funding obligations should be embedded in legislation, with detailed measures on how sufficient resources will be allocated. Legislation should not affect the operation of shelters by independent, women-centred organizations.
Shelters should note any conditions that accompany state funding, such as:
United States: The State Government of Minnesota has legislated that, as part of their proposals for funding, only public and non-profit organizations can apply, applicants must include evidence of the ability to integrate into the programme a uniform method of data collection and programme evaluation established (in other subsections of the law); represent the interests of battered women and domestic abuse victims and their children to local law enforcement agencies and courts, county welfare agencies and local boards or departments of health; and, do outreach to un-served and underserved populations and to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services (Minnesota Statutes 2010, 611A.32, Battered Women Programs).
India: The Swadhar Scheme for women in difficult circumstances is an example of government assistance to non-governmental organizations. Developed by the Government’s Ministry of Women & Child Development, the initiative aims to provide shelter and assistance to marginalized women in crisis, particularly reaching women who are marginalized and tend not to have access to familial support (e.g. widows, former prisoners, survivors of natural disasters, trafficking, sexual crimes, terrorist/extremist violence, women with non-psychiatric mental health issues, women living with HIV and AIDS, and other women in difficult circumstances). Non-governmental organizations must meet certain criteria and follow a particular procedure in order to receive support from the Swadhar Scheme. Once approved, they are monitored at the district, state, and central levels and receive a range of assistance including support for: construction of buildings, payment of rent for accommodation, staff salaries, other recurring and non-recurring expenditures, lease charges and bills for toll-free phone lines.
Gender-responsive budgeting, including costing of services, can assist in identifying adequate funds to be allocated. Advocacy actions which promote state funding for shelters include:
Example: In Bosnia and Herzegovina, a local gender budgeting initiative on domestic violence called on local governments to fund the operation of shelters and safe houses for women and child victims of domestic violence. As a result of shelter advocates lobbying, the government passed an amendment to the Law on Protection from Domestic Violence in 2008 mandating the public funding of shelters. Read the full Case Study.
Example: The Shelter for Battered Women, operated by United Family Services, Inc., is the only domestic violence shelter in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, USA. The shelter’s 29-bed facility was not meeting the growing demand for services, resulting in up to 70 women and children being turned away on a monthly basis. Within this context, a study was undertaken in 2007 to investigate the feasibility of creating new emergency and transitional housing arrangements. Among other things, the study lays out the development, design and service needs for new shelter spaces and transitional housing; provides options of different models operating in other locations; and provides rough costs.
See the study in English.
Source: Morris, C. 2007. Domestic Violence Shelter Feasibility Study for Mecklenburg County.
Fundraising Basics for Women’s Organizations (Lesley Ackrill & Ashleigh Saith, 2012). This guide is for advocates working with shelters and related programmes. Based on the context in Canada, it presents an overview of key considerations for shelter organizations to establish fundraising processes, and includes information on how to pursue and maintain different types of support for the organization. The guide includes links to further reading and websites, and is accompanied by a proposal outline template. Available in English.
Framing Public Issues Toolkit (The FrameWorks Institute, 2002). This resource is based on social and cognitive sciences research. The toolkit presents a research-based approach to communication and knowledge dissemination of social issues, providing strategies for overcoming perceptual barriers to integrating new information. Strategies and techniques described include using: context and numbers/data effectively in awareness-raising; messengers; visual tools and images; employing metaphors and simplify models; and using tone effectively. Available in English.
The Alberta Shelter Director's Guide (Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters, 2011). This guide outlines information a new shelter director would need to know about running a shelter, based on the context in the province of Alberta, Canada. The guide includes specific information about shelters in the region, director role expectations, state programmes, how to work with states, how to take care of the physical building, what laws are relevant to shelter provision, shelter policies (including service delivery, financial and staffing policies), data collection and public relations. Available in English.
The Cost of Domestic Violence: Toolkit (2008) This toolkit, by the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, is a resource for practitioners and advocates. The toolkit outlines the steps required to quantify an approximate cost of domestic violence in a specific community, based on data available. It provides brief explanations for calculating direct and indirect costs of domestic violence and related services, covering shelters, medical care, law enforcement and court services, alongside fear and suffering caused by the abuse. Available in English.
Gender Responsive Budgeting in Practice: A Training Manual (UNFPA and UNIFEM. 2006). This training manual, developed by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), is a resource for programme managers and advocates addressing women's empowerment and human rights. The manual includes five training modules with 2-4 sessions each, addressing gender-responsive budgeting concepts, processes, budget analysis, case studies and government-specific gender-responsive budgeting which can be applied in a 3-day workshop. All modules provide detailed facilitation guidance, and this manual should be used in conjunction with UNIFEM/UNFPA's "Gender Responsive Budgeting and Women's Reproductive Rights Resource Pack" (available in English; 92 pages). Available in English; French; and Spanish.
Away from violence: guidelines for setting up and running a women's refuge (Women Against Violence Europe, 2004). These guidelines provide practical assistance for setting up a women’s shelter and outlines the goals of women’s shelters, how shelters can be funded, what services should be provided for women and children, how to maintain a safe and secure building and information about the management of shelters, community life in shelters, public relations and networking. Available in English.
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