The majority of my career has been on the dooer side of the funder-dooer relationship in global development.
There are many different ways a funder can behave. Often the funder is involved in many dooer relationships and their time is the biggest constraint.
But in my experience, where the funder has been an active partner, the project has always benefited.
Being an active partner in the relationship means dedicating more time than an update call every 3 months. Something like every 2 weeks is a good frequency. This ensures they’re on the journey and have a good understanding of what’s happening.
Both sides need to be aware of what they’re bringing to the partnership. The dooer brings local knowledge, experience and relationships. The funder might bring specific knowledge of the problem area. Or they could bring experiences from other dooer organisations.
Both sides can help each other with their assumptions and biases. For example, the funder can bring an unbiased view when interpreting data because they are distanced from it.
For the funder, it’s a fine line they must tread. They must act as an equal partner yet hold the dooer accountable for delivering on their milestones.
Yet when things go wrong, they have a good understanding if timelines or deliverables need to be adjusted.
Partnerships are often touted as the key to sustainable development.
Let’s start with the basic funders and dooer relationship. This is the first partnership to get right.