LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Funding to Meet Changing Realities: LGBTI Organisations on the State of Funding in Europe and Central Asia

This report is intended as a resource for donors and prospective donors, including governments, to inform them in their grantmaking efforts to support LGBTI organisations and movements in Europe and Central Asia.

ILGA-Europe continues our needs assessment work in partnership with Strength in Numbers to make a case to both better align and increase funding for the work of LGBTI organisations in Europe and Central Asia.

The first funding needs assessment was done in 2017 with the intention to shine a light on the activities undertaken by LGBTI organisations, particularly those that are underfunded compared to the importance that organisations give to them. The 2021 needs assessment continues this work, with additional intentions to detect changes in the funding landscape, as well as collect additional data about the lived realities of LGBTI activists and organisations operating in the context of COVID-19, and in many countries, anti-LGBTI and/or anti-gender rhetoric, threats and attacks. Ultimately, ILGA-Europe monitors the funding landscape with an eye to moving towards sustainability for LGBTI organisations, ensuring LGBTI people on the ground can access the services they need and are free from discrimination.

Where sufficient data are available, it highlights disparities between regions, so donors and activists can be aware of gaps in resources identified by LGBTI activists. ILGA-Europe would like to see the report used as a tool to continue conversations between donors and movements to increase the funding available and align the priorities of donors with the needs and opportunities experienced by LGBTI movements. The report is also intended to reach LGBTI organisations, including ILGA-Europe members, with a view to enhancing our collective understanding of how funding can support the work of our movements.

In 2021, the direct words and perspectives of activists were included in the report, to bring to life the quantitative data. Interviews with activists helped us to understand the unique stresses of being an LGBTI activist in Europe and Central Asia today. LGBTI activists described a constellation of factors that led them to feel burnout, including, but not limited to being unable to meet the needs of LGBTI people, uncertainty that makes it hard for organisations to plan and heightened visibility and pressure on LGBTI people in the media. In a number of countries, LGBTI activists also experienced threats to their organisations and/or to their own staff or volunteers. Strength in Numbers used this qualitative data to create a set of factors that indicate burnout and put them on the survey, to quantify how widespread they were amongst survey respondents. These data add context to what is known about the funding landscape, where organisations struggle to obtain the resources they need to meet community needs in a global pandemic.

Highlighted findings are presented in the Executive Summary, while detailed reporting from the survey on the organisations themselves, their budgets, funding sources and barriers to obtain funding, the populations they serve and activities they undertake, as well as the factors that lead to burnout, are included in the findings section. The report culminates in a set of conclusions that pave the way for foundation and government donors to consider tailoring their responses to shift the funding landscape for LGBTI organisations in Europe and Central Asia.