Women and girls everywhere are making change in their communities, supported by nonprofits working on the frontlines to ensure they have the agency to direct the course of their own lives. But with so many rights under attack, these community organizations need more resources—including access to critical skills and tools to tell their stories in today’s complicated digital age.
To celebrate International Women’s Day this month, we connected with our grantee partner, Lightful, to learn how your support through Gates Philanthropy Partners is helping small organizations bridge the digital access gap—and advance gender and reproductive justice in exciting ways.
Keeping nonprofit voices front and center
As a B Corp, Lightful is committed to being a force for good. Founded in the UK to help grassroots organizations propel their missions through digital tools and training, Lightful works with partners in more than 80 countries, providing hands-on support for everything from storytelling to digital fundraising strategies.
Placing the voices of community leaders at the heart of what they do, Lightful co-designs an approach that is customized to meet the digital skills and capacity of each organization.
Their Building Resilience in Digital Growth and Engagement (BRIDGE) program illustrates this sensibility.
Launched in 2018, BRIDGE engages cohorts of 100-200 organizations for a six-month training program to improve their digital communication skills. Participants access a mix of formal curriculum, asynchronous learning, master classes, peer-to-peer collaborations, and one-on-one relationship management.
“That hybrid of people and digital resources allows participants with different learning methodologies to access content and thrive during and after this program,” says Vinay Nair, co-founder and CEO. “And our approach stays flexible to meet the needs of individual leaders, their organizations, and the collective cohort in their advocacy work.”
Thanks to the skills and mentorship they receive, grassroots organizations that participate in the BRIDGE program have raised 64% more funds than they did the previous year.
Another key metric? Confidence: 96% of participants report increased confidence in their ability to use digital skills and tools in their day-to-day work, making their organizations more resilient for the future.
The power of partnerships for digital success
Just in time for International Women’s Day, the latest and largest BRIDGE cohort kicked off this month with 170 organizations committed to gender justice and reproductive rights around the world.
One way to help participants amplify their impact is to coalesce around online awareness campaigns for special global dates or celebrations, such as International Women’s Day or Menstrual Hygiene Day.
Take Chicas en Tecnología (Girls in Technology), an Argentinian nonprofit that aims to reduce the digital gender gap for women and girls. They want to expand their audience beyond Latin America, so Lightful is helping them develop their bilingual storytelling so that future posts like International Women’s Day will appeal to new champions and donors alike.
Shaping a more equitable future
Like all of us at GPP, the Lightful team members are energized by empowering nonprofits to serve their communities in bigger and better ways. Most have worked in the sector, and some are even former BRIDGE participants, like Digital Fundraising Coach Róisín McGovern. “It’s a relief to know that nonprofits have access to the tools and support they need so the sector won’t be left behind,” she says, and that so many funders see the value in prioritizing digital skills.
Adds Tereza Litsa, Digital Engagement Manager, “I get to see change happening in real time: how one small tip can make a huge difference in their fundraising or storytelling.”
As Nair notes, supporting organizations to tell their stories and do more in their communities not only builds trust, but ultimately will help shape a future rooted in equity and justice.
We couldn’t agree more.