Grants: Helping local nonprofits strengthen grassroots fundraising

In July we announced our new matching grants program, which provides one-to-one matching for dollars raised through grassroots fundraising. The program was slow to catch on at first, but now things are getting interesting. By the end of the year, we expect to make matching grants to nine North Carolina groups, totaling roughly $40,000. Groups from Raleigh, Durham, Asheville, and Greensboro have taken us up on our challenge to build their sustainability and relevance by consciously expanding their fundraising among a broader base of people in the communities in which they work.

Along the way, we’ve learned that the art and science of grassroots fundraising has in many ways been lost, and needs to be redeveloped. To that end, we’ve been holding occasional mini-courses on grassroots fundraising and doing lots of one-on-one consulting.

The Interactive Resource Center (the IRC) and Faith Action International House are two local groups we’re proud to support in this way. The IRC assists people who are homeless, recently homeless, or facing homelessness reconnect with their own lives and with the community at large. Faith Action is all about building a united community of many cultures – engaging native-born Americans, immigrants, and refugees in learning, service, and advocacy for human rights, justice, and equality. What’s interesting about both these groups is the growing role played by the people they serve in getting the work of the organization done and in planning next steps.

Faith Action and the IRC are each working to raise as much money as they can before the year is out. And for each group, we’ve promised to match up to $10,000 of their smaller donations. With the incentive of our matching grants, we’re hoping lots of new supporters surface.

After this batch of grassroots dollars gets raised, the next challenge to Faith Action and the IRC will be to figure out meaningful ways to connect their new-found supporters into the larger missions of their organizations. That’s how you build an organization that’s here for the long haul.