For non-profits: a concerted effort to support the capacity of non-profit leaders and their Boards to access financing. Firstly, organizations need to know that financing is an option. Then, they need education and training, tools (e.g., roadmaps, processes, and templates), and access to financial expertise.
For lenders: increase their understanding of non-profit organizations, including legal structures, financial models, governance models, and non-profit-centred risk analysis and mitigation. Scale Collaborative also recommends lenders reassess personal guarantees and personal credit requirements on non-profit leaders and volunteer Board members.
For funders: consider how their granting practices support or limit core capacities for non-profits, including revisiting granting practices that put blanket restrictions on “overhead costs,” which limit access to the expertise and capacity required to take forward a project to a lending institution and raise repayable capital. This is especially relevant to women-led organizations that often need this additional capacity and credibility to overcome gender bias. Funders that want to support access to financing should look at creative approaches to funding key capacity needs and expertise in the sector.
For decision-makers: including financial institutions and Boards of Directors, understand that bias is impeding opportunities for impact and take steps to increase their awareness, diversity, and representativeness.