Creating a populist, grassroots groundswell, involving people at every level of society and civic engagement in dialogue, volunteerism and financial contribution is something most of us only dream of. The recent success of Barack Obama's campaign shows us that it is possible. What if you could make it happen in your organization?
Join us October 20th from 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm for a webinar and teleconference with renowned fundraiser and strategist Kim Klein, who will explore how small-sum donations, like those which have moved Obama's campaign, can help us to better identify and engage the people who support our issues.
What is grassroots fundraising?
Fundraising is a pretty straightforward field. We need money and, to get it, we have to raise it. Most people think the real money is found in foundations, corporations or government. Foundation fundraising means researching foundations, writing proposals and seeking grants. Corporate fundraising means figuring out how our nonprofit-what we do, who we serve, who we have contact with-might help a corporation so that they would want to partner with us and give us some money. Government fundraising means seeking funding that originates as taxes for our projects and programs. What about Grassroots fundraising? How is it different from any other kind of fundraising?
We use the term "grassroots" to describe any kind of effort that derives most of its power and reason for being from a community. Grassroots political movements are characterized by organizing in specific communities or among specific groups of people, such as factory workers or students, and organizing these groups to advocate for the changes they want to see. Any kind of grassroots effort recognizes common people as constituting a fundamental political and economic group.
A grassroots organization is independent: no one source of money is the most important to that group. If a person or a corporation says "We don't like what you are doing and we don't want to fund you any more, the nonprofit can say, "Well we are sorry to hear that and we will miss you." The organization does not need to say, "Oh, no, don't leave. We will change what we are doing to please you." A grassroots organization is also independent of any one person: it has leaders, but no one leader is so important that if that person left or died, the organization would not be able to continue. Leadership is shared, skills are taught to all members of the organization so that each person in the organization has her or his job, but also has skills to do other jobs and a goal of the organization is to share information and skills to as many people as possible, as well as to invite as many people as possible to give money.Grassroots fundraising follows the same principles. Grassroots fundraising means an organization uses a wide variety of strategies to invite as many people as possible to give donations of widely varying amounts. It also means a lot of people are involved in raising the money needed.
Grassroots fundraising welcomes and encourages small donations and large donations. The way you raise your money reflects your values. If you get most or all of your money from the government, you are saying that the work you do should be supported by taxes. In most countries around the world, social services that aim at keeping people out of poverty are provided by government funding. This is fine. If you get most or all of your money from corporations, you are saying that the work you do can be done in partnership with for profit companies, and that your agenda as a nonprofit can exist in harmony with the agendas of corporations. In many countries, a lot of arts and culture, as well as research and higher education are supported by corporate giving. This is fine. Grassroots fundraising does not preclude corporate, foundation or government support for your organization.
But grassroots fundraising does mean that you believe your work should be supported by the people who most benefit from it, and that your work needs to have the maximum amount of independence. If this describes you, you will want to generate support and money from as many people and places as you can manage. This webinar will help you understand how to do do just that.
About Kim Klein
Kim Klein is the founder and former publisher of the bimonthly Grassroots Fundraising Journal, which celebrated its 25th birthday in 2006. She is also the author of the classic Fundraising for Social Change (fifth edition, 2006), Fundraising for the Long Haul, Ask and You Shall Receive, and Fundraising in Times of Crisis. She is the featured writer for the e-newsletter of Grassroots Fundraising, with her column of answers to questions posed by readers called "Dear Kim." In addition to writing for her own publications, she has contributed many articles to the leading books, periodicals and websites in the field of fundraising. Widely in demand as a speaker, Kim has provided training and consultation in all 50 states and in 21 countries. Her work with the Building Movement Project (www.buildingmovement.org) is allowing her to explore an interest in the idea of the commons - what do we and what should we own in common? Kim is in the research and development phase of creating workshops on the commons and on fair and equitable tax policy. Kim believes that the nonprofit sector has a critical role to play in the creation and maintenance of a democratic society.