AWDF Financial Resilience In-House Case Study

AWDF Financial Resilience In-House Case Study

Financial Resilience In-House

African Women's Development Fund


In October 2017, Spring Strategies worked closely with the African Women's Development Fund (AWDF) during a 4-day workshop to develop an action plan to become more financially resilient. It was the beginning of a year-long program that includes a financial assessment, the workshop, the development of an action plan, as well as follow-up in-person and online accompaniment.

Founded in 2001, the AWDF is the first and biggest pan-African foundation to support the work of women's rights organizations in Africa. From 2001 to 2016, the AWDF distributed US$26 million to women's rights organizations. In 2017, its annual budget was close to US$8 million, double what it was in 2015. With 80% of its funding secured for the next few years, the AWDF is in a position of financial stability. However, despite a history of investing in individual giving, corporate engagement, social enterprise, and real-estate investments, 95% of its 2017 annual budget was still made up of government and foundation grants.

Financial Resilience: At Spring Strategies, we believe organizations need to bring the same focus and energy to building financial strength as they bring to programming; use creative and entrepreneurial approaches to fundraising and financing; include various perspectives on money to inform their strategies; and employ user-friendly and relevant financial health-indicators for decision-making. We also believe that funding is both a means to an end, i.e. the running of great programs, and an end in itself. We support individuals and organizations in developing financial models that engage people and institutions in transformative ways.

Spring Strategies’ Financial Resilience program provides organizations with the fundamentals of financial resilience, supports them in customizing plans for greater financial strength, influence and impact and results in the implementation of new practices.

The In-House Financial Resilience accompaniment program is designed to support the staff and board as they begin a new chapter of further diversification of income sources in order to strengthen their ability to realize strategic goals. 



AWDF Statistics


Countries in Africa and the Middle East reached


Women's organizations that are or have been beneficiaries


Grants provided since the start of operations in 2001

AWDF 2018-2021 Financial Plan

AWDF's 2018-2021 Financial Resilience Plan will prioritize the following key areas:

  • Diversification beyond Global North-sourced grant dependency, from 95% in 2017 to 85% in 2021
  • The development of a strong individual supporter base in Africa
  • The development of an investment policy covering existing endowment, cash reserves and real estate, and the building of a six month reserve
  • Assessment of social financing opportunities
  • Organizational investments in staff, board and infrastructure