When i started doing my organizer hired gun thing in eastern Europe with small anti-nuclear organizations, the first conversation always went the same.
“What do you need to be more successful in your campaign?” i would dutifully ask
“We need more money!” They would invariably reply.*
It was a funny time to be supporting political movements in the east. Nearly all of the western governments and many western foundations were supportive of at least some of the ecoological work that these activist groups were doing. At the same time, their national governments were very financially unsupportive, taking a more US approach that government should not support critical analysis or action toward the government. US AID gave us money, the Dutch and British Embassies, the Swedish Acid Rain Secretariat, etc.
Including some very odd eco-tourism grants, i wrote over $1 million in successful grants while i was in eastern Europe, mostly for small anti-nuclear or clean energy groups.
Grant writing is now in my blood.
[* i should say that once we had a bit of money, most groups started asking for much more interesting things, like campaign strategy techniques and media stunts and action tools and consensus decision making.]
i wrote my first grant request today for Chubby Squirrels, to provide travel support for folks to come to the Twin Oaks Communities Conference around labor day. It is only a few hundred dollars, but this can make a big difference.
i was asked the other day about seeking money from some of our known affluent friends. People who might put down tens of thousands of dollars and make the first steps much easier. I am uneasy about this approach. Not everyone knows angel funders. So if what we are trying to model is something that is accessible to other groups of people who are less experienced grant writers or are come from places of less privilege, then we struggle quite a bit more. And we trundle on without angels.