Red Umbrella Fund pursues three mutually-reinforcing strategies:
1. Grantmaking and accompaniment activities
2. Funder advocacy
3. Sex workers’ leadership in grantmaking
In addition to these three key strategies, Red Umbrella Fund is committed to participatory governance where a majority of the people involved in our governance and grantmaking structures will always be sex workers.
Our funding is all for sex worker-led groups and networks engaged in rights based work. We do not tell grantees what they should spend their money on, or the kind of work they should be doing to improve the rights of sex workers. We provide core funding that is flexible to the needs of each group. This can be used for any kind of expense – for example: rent, salaries, training, capacity building, registration, networking activities or organisational development. Although all our initial grants were for one year only, we are working towards multi-year grants during this strategic planning period to support sustainability.
Capacity building and technical assistance
Few donors are supporting sex worker-led groups and networks to develop their own organisational capacity, particularly within a human rights framework. In line with our commitment to a sex worker-led, participatory approach, our focus is on developing peer-led capacity building, including the use of community consultants. This values the existing skills within the movement and enables sex worker-led organisations and networks to share and benefit from the expertise of their peers. Our core funding grants can include costs for capacity building and technical assistance as identified by grantees as their priority. The Secretariat of Red Umbrella Fund also provides technical support to grantees, if needed, on preparing for, managing and reporting on their grant.
Communications and donor advocacy
We actively promote the existence and purpose of Red Umbrella Fund. We want sex worker-led organisations and networks across the world to know about our distinctive approach to funding and to be encouraged to apply. Red Umbrella Fund’s advocacy role is focused firmly on the donor community. We want to see sex worker-led organisations being given greater priority by donors and a human rights approach in all funding for sex workers.
Red Umbrella Fund exists both to attract more funds for our grantmaking work and to encourage donors to fund sex worker led groups and sex workers’ rights work directly. We are committed to spend at least 70% of our total annual budget directly on grants to sex worker-led groups and networks. The remaining 30% cover the costs of managing the fund, including our participatory governance and grant decision making structures, resource mobilisation work, staffing and overhead costs.