Leveraging Resources for Long-Haul Movement Work


Social justice organizations and movements within the U.S. and globally continue to face significant political and funding obstacles that make it difficult to resource and sustain their necessary work within this current economic system. Many groups doing critical on-the-ground organizing led by communities impacted by the work are not adequately funded, and often do much of their work with little financial resources and all volunteer teams. For groups who have paid staff and development positions, we continue to see a great deal of turnover, with fundraisers staying at their jobs an average of just 16 months.

With your support, GIFT addresses these challenges by providing grassroots fundraising trainings, capacity building support, and consulting sessions to help groups increase their fundraising skills, strategies and confidence. We also continue to see the power of developing a strong peer network of support with other social justice fundraisers and fundraisers of color to learn, share and strategize with one another.

As climate and worker justice issues become more centered in our movements and part of the national dialogue, we have the opportunity to re-think our relationships to money, capital, land, resources, and the shifting economy.  We will continue to learn alongside our movement allies about how we can collectively develop and practice community-based resource generation models that create more power, self-sufficiency, and sustainability for marginalized communities.

GIFT’s new training series, “Resourcing Our Communities, Building the Next Economy” will delve deeper into these important questions. We will offer introductory and advanced grassroots fundraising training along with a training for trainers session. Each institute will incorporate grassroots fundraising skills and strategies as well as earned income and other resource generation models. You can learn more about the training series here.

As GIFT donors and supporters, you are critical in making this work possible. Momentum is building and significant change for our people, communities and movements is on the horizon. We are grateful to be on this journey alongside each of you.


Donor Profile: Meet Amadee Braxton

How did you first learn about GIFT?
I first learned about GIFT in the mid-90s when I was invited to a fundraising training led by Mike Roque and Kim Klein in Philadelphia. I think it was part of an effort to train more fundraisers of color nationally. I was working at a nonprofit youth development agency at the time where I had been doing a variety of things, including grant writing, and until that time assumed that was the main way to fund our work. Grassroots individual giving was a totally new concept to me. The following year, I was part of a small group who went through a GIFT training for trainers program and became a fundraising trainer. I didn’t start fully using what I learned from GIFT until 2004 when I started working with Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). We were able to build a very robust base of individual donors at IVAW, which comprised over 70% of its budget.

Why did you become a monthly sustainer to GIFT?
I became a monthly sustainer a couple of years ago when I was asked to by a GIFT staff member. Three things motivated me to give monthly: 1) GIFT has been such an important resource for me over the years in my career as a fundraiser and now as a organizational consultant. I regularly go to GIFT’s online archive to pull articles, and I am always referring my clients to GIFT because it’s such a practical, user-friendly resource for people who may not have a lot of experience with fundraising. I wanted to support GIFT continuing to be this great resource. 2) My experience in nonprofits makes me understand that regular monthly income an organization can rely on is so important. 3) I’m not wealthy, so giving a smaller amount per month and knowing that adds up to a gift of several hundred dollars a year makes me feel like a baller!

In your work as development staff and now as a consultant, what are some of the most pressing challenges faced by social justice fundraisers?
So many groups I work with focus so much of their time on grant writing, thinking that is the only real way to get big dollars in to support their work. It is a challenge for them to take a leap of faith and get off the grant-writing treadmill to dig into grassroots fundraising as a new way forward. Groups are so desperate for money, they’d rather go with what they know than do something that feels like a risk. Also, many groups are understaffed, so the idea of freeing up additional staff time to try something new just feels too scary. There also is a shortage of grassroots fundraisers out there available to do the social justice fundraising these organizations need.

What do you wish others knew about GIFT?
First, I wish more people knew about GIFT period. I also wish people could experience the culture of GIFT—the wonderful people who are the staff and board members, and the intention and spirit behind everything they do. I was a fan of GIFT, but attending my first Money for Our Movements (MFOM) conference made me a super fan, because I got to experience what GIFT is all about. I was used to social justice conferences being gatherings where dedicated but exhausted organizers lamented and struggled together about whatever particular issue or movement the conference was about. But MFOM always attracts people who have optimism, energy, who like to have fun and can laugh at themselves. This experience totally solidified my long-term commitment to GIFT. I want all change makers to have this kind of experience.

 Grassroots Fundraising Journal Update

Jan-Feb 2015 GFJ Cover

The Grassroots Fundraising Journal started the year off strong with articles ranging from cultivating online communities to strengthening boards to securing major gifts. Keep an eye out for our reader survey coming soon—we need your voice to help shape the future of the Journal! 

Unwrapped: GIFT’s 2014 Annual Report

GIFT_2014_Annual_ReportTo see the wonderful community of GIFT supporters you belong to, our 2014 financials, and some of the amazing groups we have the privilege of working with, please click here to download our 2014 annual report.