As a final thought in this section, it is worth noting that donors may also be long-term partners in the work of the coalition. Where the donor is a government and change is being sought in international policy or law, this is perhaps to be expected. However, trusts and foundations can also become active agents for change in the area of the coalition’s work.
Where a donor has a strong commitment to the objectives of the coalition and the confidence to think of itself not just as an external provider but also as an active participant, it can significantly add to the coalition’s capacity. Beyond direct funding, many donors can build additional relationships and provide wider services towards the coalition’s goals, such as providing physical and social space for meetings between NGOs and governments. Of course, this makes it all the more important not to lose donors through poor administration and lack of attention to their needs. As in all areas of NGO work, effective grant management is vital to a sustainable and effective operation.
On the other hand, there is a risk of funders imposing constraints on the effective work of the coalition. When money is tight (which it almost always is), the impetus to comply with a funder’s wishes can be strong. In such cases it is important that people responsible for liaison directly with the donors are given clear instructions and strong support from the steering group.
￼In addition to providing strategic funding to the CMC and small grants to its member organisations, The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund also convened two meetings that brought together small groups of diplomats and staff from international organisations and NGOs. Although held at very different strategic points in the process of work towards a ban on cluster munitions, both meetings provided a neutral space in which this small group could talk openly and frankly about the work ahead.