2.10 The Purpose Behind Our Power (The State of Our Movement Union)

Someone asked, “Where did the people of color – grassroots fundraising movement come from?” I answered, “I’m not sure, I came into the game long after the gurus and movement builders laid the groundwork.”

So, I’m not going to pretend to have any answers. I can tell you when I noticed. I noticed a few years back when a buddy of mine wrote an article about why people of color need to be good fundraisers. I recall a couple of years later similar statements and questions about raising money in communities of color. Pretty soon funding to support programs that address these questions emerged. People were motivated and a movement was growing.

In this movement, organizations and funders alike were challenged to evaluate fundraising and giving practices; individuals were challenged to lead, give, and teach. Since then, we’ve gone to trainings and started giving circles. Many grassroots organizations have even invested in their staff and educated their boards.

Yes, the field of grassroots fundraising in communities of color has grown; we’ve truly demonstrated our power. The messages were sent and received; multi-cultural communities continue to strengthen and be strengthened by the power of giving and receiving.

Someone asked, “So now what?”

I know, I know, we have to continue to do what we’ve been doing; we have to continue to grow. It’s powerful and it’s the only way we can achieve our purpose. That got me thinking. How do we truly know the purpose behind our power? Matter of fact, remind me again! What was our overall purpose? How many people do we need to win or empower to carry on? How many givers do we need to groom?

So I ask, if anyone out there reading this was at the table the day this movement began, please feel free to shed some light on the subject. I’m assuming there was a plan, a goal or an objective that was beyond just empowering people of color. At the time, how did our purpose or the plan fit into the overall goal of taking back the world?

I’m sure there were benchmark goals to track our efforts or maybe a bell set aside for ringing to celebrate our victory. Who was supposed to report back to the rest of us? I mean, they require that kind of thing all the time in the organizing world, right? Organizers come together sometime and set collaborative agendas. Did that happen with our team?

Was there a summit of (legacy builders) seasoned fundraisers? And at the summit did anyone say what we would do when we achieved our purpose or at least neared it? Did anyone ask “How will we know what our power looks and feels like when we get there?”