Grassroots Fundraising Training for Organizers and Activists

“Fundraising is not a nasty chore that we need to do in order to do social justice work. If we’re doing it well, it IS social justice work.”

Mijo Lee, Social Justice Fund NW

Movements are stronger and communities increase their self-determination when their grassroots fundraising programs thrive. GIFT’s training institutes strive to do just that. Over the past several years, powerful organizing for racial justice, police accountability, workers’ rights, im/migrant justice, and climate justice has emerged giving way to critical dialogue. Public discourse has broadened as communities engage issues of power, money, racism, police violence, land use and development, and the growing wealth divide. We’re in a powerful movement moment, and momentum is building. We have an incredible opportunity to collectively take action to resource and sustain our movements.

GIFT is launching a series of training institutes that will grow the base of people developing grassroots funding strategies for long-haul movement building work, as grassroots fundraising and resource organizing are undeniably critical in building the Next Economy.

Join us as we take on these questions:

  • What are the monetary and non-monetary resources we need to grow and sustain our organizations and communities?
  • How will we invest in and fund our own communities? 
  • How can we continue to close the wealth gap by raising money from the grassroots while also mobilizing resources from the 1%?

The series will consist of an Introduction to Grassroots Fundraising Institute in Oakland (May), and a Grassroots Fundraising for Organizers & Activists Institute in Baltimore (October).

Participants will leave with:

  • Stronger fundraising skills, analysis and practice
  • A peer network of support
  • Increased capacity to strengthen your grassroots fundraising program and effectively resource your work

Each training will be rooted in popular education and social justice frameworks, with content customized to meet the needs and interests of each cohort.

Please note: Participation in the Introductory Institute is not a prerequisite to attending the Baltimore training.

Applications for the Baltimore training are no longer being accepted and our wait list is full. Thank you for your interest!

“The training hit a great balance of concepts that I want to integrate into my work and tangible next steps to take with my team.”

“The facilitators were very easy to understand, incredibly helpful, and patient.”

“It was really beautiful how you tied the new economy, wellness and abundance into a fundraising training.”

~Intro to Grassroots Fundraising Training Participants

Introduction to Grassroots Fundraising Institute Grassroots Fundraising Training for Organizers & Activists
When: May 27-30, 2015 When: Oct. 22-24, 2015
Where: Oakland, CA Where: Baltimore, MD

Cost: $500 to $800* sliding scale based on org budget

Budget Size               Fee

under $500k              $500

$500k -$749k            $600

$750k -$999k            $700

$1million+                 $800

*Does not cover travel or lodging expenses

Cost: $500 to $800* sliding scale based on org budget

Budget Size               Fee

under $500k               $500

$500k -$749k            $600

$750k -$999k             $700

$1million+                  $800

*Fee is per person. Does not cover travel or lodging expenses. Limit of two people per group.

Who Should Apply*: 

•       Social justice fundraisers particularly fundraisers of color and those who have the ability to implement the fundraising plan.

•       Community-based or national organizations working to uplift working-class communities and communities of color.

Who Should Apply*:

 • Leaders, organizers, and members from Black Lives Matter chapters, Movement for Black Lives, and other Black-led initiatives across the country. 

• Social justice fundraisers particularly fundraisers of color and those who have the ability to implement the fundraising plan. 

• Community-based organizations working to uplift working-class communities and communities of color.

Topics covered:(partial list)

  • Overcoming your fear of asking for money
  • Strategies for cultivating donors and building a strong donor base
  • Tips for prospecting and writing grants
  • Fundraising and organizing in Oakland

Topics covered:(partial list)

  • Overcoming your fear of asking for money
  • Strategies for cultivating donors and building a strong donor base
  • Messaging, communications, and fundraising for your cause
  • Donor tracking and donation processing systems
  • Building & engaging a fundraising team
  • Fundraising and organizing in Baltimore
  • Download the participant agenda here


 Application deadline: March 27th

 Application deadline: August 28th

*As with all GIFT programs, people of color, undocumented immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Priority will be given to locally-based applicants. This series is open to US-­based applicants only. All of the following must be true in order to be eligible for these institutes:

  • Organization’s mission is specific to communities of color or working class communities
  • More than one third of your board and leadership staff are people of color.
  • Majority of clients/members are people of color.
  • Organization seeks to develop donors of color.


Unfortunately, we are not able to provide scholarships for this training. We will share a list of funders who can support their grantees to participate with applicants, and GIFT Resource Development Director Crystal Middlestadt (crystal[AT]grassrootsfundraising[DOT]org) is available to discuss fundraising tips and strategies. 

Download Eight Ways to Raise $2,500 (or more) in Ten Days (or less, sometimes) and Creative FUNdraising for some quick and easy ideas to raise the funds you need participate in this training!

Questions? Please contact crystal [AT] grassrootsfundraising [dot] org.

Baltimore Trainers 

Jennifer Dillon PhotoJennifer Dillon started her work in movement building as a community organizer at Blocks Together, a membership-based direct action organization in Chicago’s Westside. For seven years, she worked on education, housing, incarceration, and economic justice campaigns. Besides developing and implementing campaigns, she intentionally integrated communication and fundraising into her organizing to develop member leadership.  In 2009, she dedicated herself full-time to fund development at Interfaith Worker Justice, worked as a fundraising consultant, and as a board member of the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT).  She then oversaw the fundraising of 10 grassroots affiliates at the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United as the Development Director, including helping to found two new affiliates.  Jennifer now serves as the National Domestic Workers Alliance’s Communications Director. She is leading the organization in developing a comprehensive communications strategy that both builds domestic worker leadership and positions NDWA as a leading voice in the intersection of immigration, labor, gender, and racial justice issues.



Veronica Garcia was born in Los Angeles and raised on the U.S./Mexico border in El Paso, Texas. She has over 15 years of experience working with social justice nonprofit organizations and community groups on issues including health care disparities, access to quality education, poverty relief, anti-violence initiatives, LGBTQ equity, anti-racism, immigrant rights, and community organizing.

Veronica is deeply committed to using the power of fundraising as a movement building strategy. She learned and internalized this powerful value as a graduate of GIFT’s Fundraising Fellowship Program almost 10 years ago. As the development director at Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center today, she helps to ensure a diverse funding base that can help sustain immigration legal services to low-income clients seeking asylum at the border in El Paso. Veronica also recently helped launch the Paso del Norte OUT Fund, a community grantmaking initiative of El Paso’s LGBTQA community.




Generous Sponsor

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Gracious Host



Past Training Partners

“I got to attend my second GIFT training as a member of the Arcoíris Liberation Team, a trans and queer migrant movement organization in Phoenix. Ideas abound and our community excels in leadership and problem solving. Our biggest barrier is finding the resources to do the work we know is necessary for our community’s liberation. Working with GIFT has given a chance for everyone involved, from project leaders to new members, to think about fundraising with a shared vocabulary and lots of ideas about strategies. It’s given us tools to put together concrete plans to make our projects happen. With the GIFT training and a continued relationship with instructors, we have the tools and support to search for and find the resources we need.”
-Jonathan Beebe Giudice

Member of Arcoíris Liberation Team

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