- Endowments were arranged by more than 45% of the INWF member funds.
- Non-grant making activities, technical support and capacity building have been reported as constituting 17% of the total activities of the average Women‘s fund‘s budget.
- Most funds reported that their growth was positively influenced by their participation in International Network of Women‘s Fund activities. These funds had grown at a faster rate than others who did not enjoy the linking and learning opportunities.
Particularly with smaller funds, evidence suggests that linking women's funds with one another is a crucial strategy for building capacity. Joint fundraising and forming alliances further enables individual funds to draw on the experience and networks of each other.
A good track record, passion and energy, clear policies and good systems are as important to the sustainability of a fund as its financial health. It was identified that increasingly women‘s funds are seeking to create wealth through investment in real estate and endowments, in an effort to be less reliant on donors.
Where funding is heavily relied on, it is critical that these sources are diversified – from individuals and local corporate companies to international foundations and funding agencies.
Effective budgeting, so that each project pays for itself, and the accumulation of reserve fund to ensure operational costs can be paid at least six months in advance, are fundamental to the ongoing success of a fund.
Pivotal to all the aforementioned factors, is the role of leadership and succession planning. According to the member funds, smart leaders are those that can build the capacity of their staff and volunteers so that the organization‘s founding missions and values can be carried over by new staff and into new decades.
The quality of staff and volunteers will further determine the fund‘s future growth. By fostering a learning environment through mentoring, coaching and support, a leader can make a real difference to their legacy within the fund.
The role played by women‘s funds nationally and internationally can not be overstated as it has been well documented that where women are uplifted, the benefits of their increased independence is passed on to their families and communities.
In the words of, Kofi Anan, "When women are fully involved, the benefits can be seen immediately: families are healthier; they are better fed; their income, savings and reinvestment go up. And what is true of families is true of communities, and eventually, the world." (previously the United Nations Secretary General )