Module 1: Overview of Grassroots Fundraising

What is Grassroots Fundraising?

Grassroots fundraising is primarily comprised of peer-to-peer solicitation of donations. Organizations that use grassroots fundraising implement a variety of strategies that rely heavily on the help of volunteers. These volunteers ask for charitable contributions from their social networks and often publicize collected donations to track progress and raise awareness.(1) Ultimately, strategies reach out to potential donor networks in order to fund projects or contribute to an organization’s mission.

What are the advantages of Grassroots Fundraising?

The advantages of peer-to-peer fundraising lie in the close, interconnected network of community support. By acquiring funding from multiple resources, organizations can avoid risks of dependency on a few sources or membership contributions, as well as potential volatility in the provision of funds. Additionally, organizations can maintain focus on the communities they serve rather than those of their funders. In grassroots fundraising, an organized public provides an immense amount of energy and support. An alternative to membership organizations, which may use funds to address donors’ priorities and expectations, peer-to-peer fundraising is a system that presents the organization’s mission and action plan to potential donors, with contributions made under the expectation that funding will go towards the organization’s specific efforts.(2) With a wide base of donors, grassroots organizations are able to stay committed to their original missions, ideals, and beneficiaries.

Footnotes

(1) Jacobson, Sarah, and Ragan Petrie. "Favor Trading in Grassroots Fundraising: The Girl Scout Cookie Phenomenon." Mason Academic Research System (mason.gmu.edu). Web. 22 Aug. 2011. <http://mason.gmu.edu/~rpetrie1/Girl_Scout_Cookie_jacobson_petrie_oct2010.pdf>.

(2) Chahim, Dean. "Grass Without Roots." Real Change News (16 Feb. 2011). 16 Feb. 2011. Web. 24 Aug. 2011. <http://www.realchangenews.org/index.php/site/archives/5302/>.