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Does anyone here have some experience, both in real life and online, about effective fundraising for small, grassroots community organizations?

I've found some limited information that sounds more geared towards large, well-established and organized charities and non-profits, but as yet not much on tips for small groups, individuals who want to help, and related.

For background, I've done volunteer work with all types of charities and social organizations, but all of them thus far were all well-established, well-organized and sponsored, and usually also had their legal non-profit status set up (I think it's a 501(c)3 or similar designation, I am not certain).

This morning, I just heard of a small volunteer organization that has received bad news that unfortunately they will lose the donated space they've been using the last several months as their sponsor itself is going out of business. They are desperate to try and get funding and related as well as new space. This is in an urban environment (large city) and I think if I had the brains, I could help out. I have time (unemployed) and energy, but no experience and money etc.

Thank you.
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Does anyone here have some experience, both in real life and online, about effective fundraising for small, grassroots community organizations? . . . I think if I had the brains, I could help out. I have time (unemployed) and energy, but no experience and money etc.

There is a growing movement of something called "Giving Circles" which are sort-of investment-clubs-in-reverse. The groups are made up of people who feel they can accomplish more together than they can individually. Here are some links I found by googling "giving circle" which may offer you some information.

http://www.givingforum.org/givingcircles/
http://www.givingcircles.org/
http://www.givingnh.org/ways/circles.html

The giving circle I'm in began with 6 women who volunteered at their children's schools. The children are now grown but the women still want to make a difference in the community. The group has both voting members (who can and do contribute money) and service members (who may not have available financial resources). The money raised goes toward grants to groups such as the one you've mentioned. Members can participate as much or as little as they choose.

Perhaps one of the links above will guide you to something in your area.

~~ Alison
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There is a growing movement of something called "Giving Circles" which are sort-of investment-clubs-in-reverse. The groups are made up of people who feel they can accomplish more together than they can individually. Here are some links I found by googling "giving circle" which may offer you some information.

Alison, thank you for the concept and the links. I've certainly heard of investment clubs before, but never heard of these giving circles. I've heard of large charitable foundations being started by families, or much smaller foundations (as mentioned in a recent LBYM link) by individuals, but I can see small groups like this could also work.

- ST
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but I can see small groups like this could also work.

I just took a look at information for the circle I'm in. It was started almost three years ago. In that time, we've awarded over $80,000 in grants and performed over 1850 hours of volunteer service.

Grantees have run the gamut: a brain injury group, immigrant women who lost everything (material, financial, professional) when they came to the US, a mental health group, providing school supplies for over 13,000 needy kids each year, a free clinic, and others.

Service projects, too, have run the gamut: food drives for a local food pantry, packaging the above-mentioned school supplies, sewing hats for children who've lost their hair due to chemotherapy, painting (and other needs) for lower-income houses, makeup and photography for children who are too ill to leave the hospital, a senior care facility, and others.

Quite a remarkable concept, I think.

Oh, and about the food drives?

post 1313 on this board -- http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=18938193

I passed along the documentation my son used for his food drive to the people organizing the circle's food drive. It gave them a very good blueprint of how to run the drive, making it very easy and very smoothly run. My son won't take any credit for the circle's food drive, but it's an example of how interconnected we can be.

~~ Alison
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