Header Image Mobile Header Image


05/2/2014 | Canvass for Power Program

The Sustainability Initiative

CPD launched a new project in April, the Sustainability Initiative, to address one of the greatest challenges facing base-building community organizations: revenue generation and financial stability that enables the scaling up of our work. A major barrier to building a scaled-up, national voice for low- and moderate-income families in the United States is the lack of a workable financing model. 

Four out every five dollars invested in philanthropy comes from everyday people, yet most social justice organizations have failed to capitalize on this revenue stream. That’s why CPD, in partnership with the Ford and Marguerite Casey Foundations, is regranting funds to our partner organizations to build and test individual donor programs that will recruit dues paying members and sustainer givers.

While it will take time to move base-building organizations toward a more sustainable financing model, and to significantly scale up operations, we want to begin the hard work, experimentation and analysis that will help us to get there.

After several months of researching effective practices in the field, particularly looking at fundraising canvass models, on April 3rd and 4th we launched the field part of the program, bringing together our partner organizations ACCE, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change MN, Take Action MN, Common Good Ohio, Wisconsin Jobs Now, NY Communities for Change and Make the Road NY for a fun, exciting, and information-packed two-day training on member canvasses.  

Trainers from the Working Families Party, NYCC and Take Action MN helped demonstrate core skills, and provided valuable knowledge about their sustainer-based fundraising models. The WFP further assisted by taking participants out in the field to see directly how the fundraising canvass works.

In addition to the skills learned, we built a cohort that will be a learning community over the next six months, sharing challenges and successes through weekly calls.