From The "Raising Money, Raising Awareness, and Raising Hell for a Good Cause!" Blog

Fruitful Fall Fundraisers 

As promised, here is another idea* for a fundraiser - one that is designed to raise money efficiently, attract new donors, engages both fundraisers and donors, increases your visibility. This is a good fundraiser for youth soccer teams, but can be used by groups of all kinds.

Soccer Club Fundraiser:

You’ll need to round up a few club parents and kids to go to a Sounder’s play-off game a couple of hours early.

Picture it - all those Sounders fans, waiting in line, nothing to do. Here comes your child’s soccer club, with a collection of bad holiday sweaters in tow. “Excuse me,” a little kicker says to a fan. “Our soccer club is raising money to hire a coach. My mom here will take a picture of your family in these ridiculous sweaters [teammates hold up samples] for $15. For $20, we’ll take the picture in front of this fake fire backdrop [teammates unroll a corrugated cardboard fireplace].These make great holiday cards, you know.”


· there’s a waiting line for two hours,
· a team of one photographer and three kids completes a sale every five minutes, and
· there are three home play-off games.

Then: Three teams working the line over three days will net over $3000.**

Of course, you will want to encourage the folks in line to sign up (you have packed a sign-up sheet, clip board, and pens, haven't you?) to receive your exciting newsletters, news of upcoming fundraisers, and more.***

If the Sounders don’t make the play-offs, hold this fundraiser in front of grocery stores, at parent-teacher nights, and at your kid’s soccer games - anywhere there’s a captive audience.

* Full disclosure: I have not tested this idea. But I like it because: 1) lots of potential customers are waiting for you to engage them, 2) it's a fun event that should appeal to fundraisers and donors alike, 3) it's a good photo op for local press, and so could be a great way to increase your group's visibility, and 4) it should be a lot less time-consuming than things like garage sales or dinner-and-auction events.

**1 sale/5-minutes x 24 units of 5 min./2-hours x 1 2-hour waiting line/day  x 3 days  x $15.00/sale     X 3 teams                                                                                                          team

*** Collecting contact info of potential donors and volunteers will probably be accomplished more successfully by nonprofit groups with a broader mission than that of the local school soccer club.


Fundraising with More Moxie than Money

It’s the season of big benefit dinners: dinner-and-auction dinners, gala dinners, dinner-and-dance dinners - every week-end between now and January. While these big benefits have their place (usually a swanky downtown hotel), sometimes I wonder if it's time to expand the menu of fundraiser options. First, too many big benefit events cause donors to fall victim to chicken-on-rice-pilaf-and-auction fatigue, which reduces their tolerance for dinner-and-auction affairs. Also, in this age of austerity, many would-be donors just can’t afford fancy events: Who can afford downtown Seattle parking?

What’s needed is more diversity vis-à-vis fundraising events. This would help nonprofits with limited cash flow to avoid spending more money on events than the events generate. Also, it would help them to attract support from would be donors who can’t to buy tickets to a fancy gala. Here are a few examples:

Your child’s tap dance troupe needs to raise money to travel across the country to an upcoming national competition. What kind of event can you do that’s different, inexpensive to produce, and unique? You could invite local celebrities to participate in a “Dancing with the Stars”-type of competition, only one that involves an activity that requires less physical preparation and training.  You could put on “Rappers for Tappers,” a performance that would involve local rappers coaching and performing with other local celebs. You could ask for an admission fee, or you could ask guests to vote for their favorite performers by dropping money in piggy banks corresponding to each team of rappers (who donate the money to your troupe). Or both.

The “If I Had a Dollar for Every Time …” Campaign: Pretend it’s election season. You are on the board of directors of a statewide anti-poverty organization with a large database of donors and other supporters. You and the other board members decide to raise money via an online fundraising campaign. You ask your supporters to fund your work by pledging $1 (or whatever) each time a local candidate spouts the “If-You-Work-Hard-and-Play-By the-Rules-You-Can-Make-It-In-America!” mantra.

Evil Ex Raffle: One organization with which I worked held a fundraiser with a Valentine’s Day theme – but for single people. This organization was putting on the event with almost no money and only a few weeks’ lead time. They wanted to hold a raffle during our event, but lacked the money and time to procure prizes; so we decided to hold an Evil Ex Raffle. We asked guests to donate gifts - from ex-partners - that we could use as raffle prizes. We collected a lot of prizes, including pieces of art, jewelry, and hand-crafted furniture.  Guests loved the raffle, which gave us a great return on our investment.

Stay tuned for more examples … and send me yours!


Attention Fundraisers: Are these September action items on your to-do list? Part 1

September is a good time to lay the groundwork for more efficient and effective fundraising in the coming months. Below - one example (check back for more):

Go back to school.  Find student organizations willing to:

- hold a fundraiser to benefit your organization. For example, college-   level social organizations, such as sororities and fraternities, might be interested in partnering with you.

- help with a fundraiser your group is holding. High school service groups, like Key Club, would be good prospects.

Do it now. 

If you wait, you may find that another group has beaten you to the punch. If you do nothing else (now), find out how far in advance your favorite service groups schedule their activities for the school year.

Benefits you can reap:

- volunteer help with your fundraising event,
- volunteers who remain involved with your organization, and
- donors  (because there’s a good chance that your loyal volunteer turns into a loyal donor).


Two Must-See Programs for Activists (and Everyone Else!)

...and they both come to the viewer courtesy of Bill Moyers (of the series Moyers & Company).

One, "America's Gilded Capital," about how D.C. is owned by big money, will outrage you and make you wonder how to hold public servants accountable to the public.

The other, "How People Power Generates Change,"  will answer the question (of what can be done).

You can watch both on the Moyers & Company website.

And while you are there, check out the rest of the site - a wealth of information.


Fast Food Strikes: People Power at Work!

The bad news: The groups that brought you the 40-hour work week – unions - are going the way of, well, the 40-hour work week.
The good news: Here, in the greater Seattle area, there is a burgeoning and successful workers’ rights movement – driven by fast food workers. In the last year or so, the organizing efforts of local service sector workers have been key to:
-  paid sick leave in Seattle; and
-  bringing about a public vote (SeaTac) on the Good Jobs Initiative, which would mandate a $15/hour minimum wage for hospitality, transportation, and other airport-related businesses.

Maybe you wonder, “Why does this matter to me? I don’t live in Seattle or SeaTac, I don’t eat fast food, and I don’t work in the fast food industry.” If so, allow me, please, to suggest a few questions for your consideration:  

1)    Would an increased minimum wage put upward pressure on wages for all workers (perhaps yours)? Intuitively, this makes sense: Increasing the minimum wage for SeaTac employees should increase pressure on employers across communities/job types/grades to up their pay in order to attract and retain workers. Recent research supports this point. (For those of you worried that upping the minimum wage will decrease employment opportunities, other research refutes this contention.)

2)    Does vocal public protest promote worker-friendly changes in public policy? Does public pressure have anything to do with the Seattle City Council’s unanimous vote in favor of paid sick leave? Or Mayor McGinn’s pressure on Whole Foods to pay its workers more?

3)    Are recent marches, strikes, boycotts, letter-writing campaigns, and accompanying media coverage diminishing public tolerance for workplace abuses such as unsafe working conditions, wage theft, irregular work schedules, etc.? Does this decreased tolerance put pressure on employers to be more responsive to employee needs?

The fast food strikes are people power at work, people! At a time when unions are disappearing, they are more important than ever.



The Power of Public School Teachers, Direct Action, and Pizza

tmp/pizza.jpg Ever wonder what motivates people to start - and sustain - an organizing effort in the face of pressure, from people in power, to stop making waves? Here's a link to an article about courage, commitment, and community organizing - and pizza: 

How pizza helped Garfield High teachers resist standardized testing


On pricey pasta, budgets, priorities of government, and protest

If you did not have a chance to catch the news last week, you might not know it, but Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Braised Rabbit Lasagna Day! It is the day during each week of the legislative session that certain legislators convene for infrequent (by law), lobbyist-sponsored dinners at a tony Olympia bistro.
Did you know that some of our legislators collect all $90 of their allotted per diem payments for expenses like meals and lodging - even when their lobbyist dinner dates pay the bill?
Anyone who does this raises my hackles, but the most offensive of these folks are budget cut-crazy  legislators. They talk about their courage and sense of responsibility … their focus on government priorities and What the People of Washington Want. But when Washington’s hunger rate is at an all-time high, their budget leaves the safety net in tatters while preserving hundreds of corporate tax breaks. Sequestration has devastated Meals on Wheels. Yet they want to cut cash assistance to low-income participants in the Aged, Blind, and Disabled program (the folks likely to have relied on Meals on Wheels) to $97 per recipient per month, less than $3 per day. Ironic, isn’t it, that these same budget-conscious, priority-focused stewards of the people’s money have no problem being reimbursed for meals they didn’t pay for?  
It is time to call these legislators out - to tell them that taxpayers’ priorities do not include footing the bill for their steak and gnocchi dinners with lobbyists. It’s time to tell legislators that if they are going to brag about their commitment to What the People Want, they should close corporate tax loopholes and use the revenue to repair Washington’s safety net.  You can go to their websites and fill out those annoying online comment forms. Or you can make your point in a more pointed way, like in the examples below.*
The Award Ceremony: Your community organization could reward deserving lawmakers for their work with a splashy ceremony that includes awards like these:
Senator Doug Ericksen
  •  The “Troops on Their 3rd Deployment Ain’t Got Nothin’ On  You” Award:                                                                                              This should go to Senator Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale). When asked about attending 62 lobbyist-sponsored dinners, etc. from
    January to April of 2013, Ericksen opened up to journalist Austin Jenkins, who reported this: “E
    ricksen says the hardest time during his workday is ‘from about six o’clock until nine o’clock when most people get to go home and be with their families.’  Ericksen can’t go home …because his district…is too far away. So he often fills those…hours by dining out with lobbyists. 
       Says Ericksen of his dining routine: 
       “I’m viewing it as a chance to work on specific issues and work to get good legislation done.”
  • The “But I Didn’t Inhale” Award, which should go to Senator Mark Schoesler (R-Ritzville), who says that while he did attend lobbyist-sponsored dinners, he did not eat.
  • The “Dude, Like, I Never Think” Award should go to Senator Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane). According to the senator, “Definitely when somebody’s talking about going out to dinner, I never think anything else. I’m like, ‘Well, I’m hungry, I can always eat.’ ”
The Dinner Invitation:
If it’s company and conversation that legislators are hungry for, then let’s all of us invite them to dinner! Senior centers, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, civic groups… if each organization invited Doug Ericksen to dine, he could “work on specific issues and work to get good legislation done” every night of the week.
The Reprise/Reprisal:
On a Wednesday night, you and 50 or so friends show up at a tony Olympia bistro where legislators regularly meet for infrequent dinners. While lawmakers are inside dining, you and your friends, positioned outside at windows and doors, reprise the scene in Oliver where orphan children fantasize and sing about “Food, Glorious Food” as the orphanage staff feast in their secluded dining room.  Rags and slop pails are optional.
Crumbs for Mums:
Perhaps you are a single mother struggling to feed your children. You and other mothers in similar situations show up at the tony Olympia bistro where legislators and lobbyists dine, at the time when they typically meet. As they arrive at the restaurant, you hand them to-go containers that say “I’ll take your scraps!”

*Some of these actions might have to wait until next year, but there’s an excellent chance they will still be useful.


Getting the Most from Your Fundraiser, Pt. 1: Goals

For board members, volunteers, staff, and other folks focused on putting on a spring fundraising event, I offer a few tips to ensure your getting the best result for your efforts:

First, set some goals. Start by determining how much your organization wants to raise (net) from your event. (If yours is a spring event, hopefully, you have already done this already.)
Do not settle for a goal of “as much as possible,” a decision that can result in a variety of unfortunate consequences, such as this: “As much as possible” means $10,000 to board members Ted, Terry, and Tess; and $50,000 to board members Barb, Barry, and Bertha, who bust their butts because they want to reach their goal. Ted, Terry, and Tess work a lot less to attain their more modest goal than do Barb, Barry and Bertha, whose goal demands more effort (at least for this event). There is bickering. Boycotting of board meetings. Backing off of fundraising commitments, and other bad stuff.

Here’s an example of another unfortunate consequence: Your board doesn’t decide how much revenue it wants to have raised after all expenses (including staff time!) have been paid. As a result, it is hard for members to agree on how much money they are willing to invest in the event. Problems ensue. (See above for examples.)

Second, determine your other goals. You do have at least one other goal, don’t you?
In general, for most organizations, there should always be another goal. That goal should be more friendship, by which I mean:

-making more organizational friends (donors, volunteers, people who recommend your group to others), and

-deepening the involvement in your organization of current friends.

Side note: I am going to use the term “friends” to refer to donors, volunteers, and other supporters of your organization; it suggests a more reciprocal relationship between the donor/volunteer/other and the organization than do the terms “donor” and “volunteer.”

Why care about reciprocity? In my experience, it promotes a relationship that is more equitable and more effective in serving the interests of both your organization and its supporters (friends).
Back to the discussion at hand – the friendship goal. To attain more friendship, it's  
necessary to find and use the overlap between the interests, relationships, skills, and resources of your organization's friends (and potential friends) and the interests, opportunities and resources associated with your organization. 
And to find out how to find this overlap, check back: I’ll continue this discussion in my next post.


If You Are Raising Money For Your Local High School, Read This!

Right now, high schools have a prime opportunity to raise quick money: prom season. U.S. families whose kids are going to their prom are expected to spend an average of $1139 - per family - in 2013. 

Here's one example of how to translate that spending into fundraising capital: Make a list of all the businesses that prom-goers will patronize (e.g. florists, restaurants, tuxedo rentals, shoe stores, dress stores, nail and hair salons, car washes...). Contact these businesses, tell them how many kids are expected to attend your school's prom and how much prom-goers are likely to spend, and ask businesses to donate 30% of their profits during the two weeks before prom to your school's PTA/student council/other. Explain that in return, your school PTA/student council/other will urge prom goers to patronize their business via posters placed throughout the school and community, the school paper, community papers, social media, the school website, etc. 

Already had your high school prom? There's always Homecoming ..


A Call to Action to Call President Obama and Congress

After reading reports that on Wednesday, President Obama plans to propose cuts to Social Security and means-testing for Medicare, I have come up with a proposal of my own: I suggest an update to Emma Lazarus' poem, The New Colossus -- the poem that made the Statue of Liberty "a symbol of hope to the outcasts and downtrodden of the world." Lady Liberty's poetic message no longer describes the U.S.  

Here's the part of Lazarus' poem that needs to be updated:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

I don't pretend to have Lazarus' skill with words, but I have penned something that I think better represents the present, sad state of affairs in this country:

Give me your unhired, your poor,
Your co-eds in classes to get a degree,
The union members whose jobs went offshore,
Send me the sick, old, and homeless-to-be:
They're good for Wendys, Walmarts, prisons, and war.

Please tell President Obama and your members of Congress how you feel about cutting Social Security benefits. Need more info? Strengthen Social Security is a coalition of senior, advocacy, and other groups that is a good resource for information about what's at stake and how to get involved in opposing cuts.


What Happens When Nonprofits Can't See the Forest for the Trees

A very smart former supervisor from way back in the day, before I moved to Seattle, shared this excellent article (link below). It is a must-read for everyone involved with nonprofit work (volunteer or paid).

The article is really much more interesting than its title would suggest, so go ahead, click on the link, and read:

Overcoming the Limits of Nonprofit Advocacy on Budget and Tax Issues


Time to Pour Cold Water on the Chained CPI!

Last week, the Senate voted to block use of the chained CPI, a cost-of-living adjustment that would result in reductions in Social Security benefits. The rest of us can - and should - keep the no-cuts momentum going in D.C. by weighing in with our elected leaders. 

Why keep the momentum going? Because despite the facts that: 1) 32 percent of Americans are poor or low-income, and 2) a clear majority of Americans oppose Social Security cuts, it is not at all clear that Social Security will emerge unscathed (sans cuts) from this year’s budget process. Consider that:

  • The Senate vote was a nonbinding voice vote.
  • Though over 100 House Dems sent a letter (12/12) to President Obama, saying  they were “deeply   opposed” to the chained CPI to cut benefits, what they meant   by “deeply opposed” is not clear: When Representatives Alan Grayson (D-FLA)  and Mark Takano (D-CA) circulated a letter (2/13) stating, we will vote against any …cut to … Social Security benefits – including … cutting the cost of living adjustments,” only 31 House Democrats signed it.
  • As for Republicans in the House and Senate, we know what they want – to shrink Social Security so much that they can drown it in the bath tub.  
  • Mainstream press coverage of this issue appears to be sloppy, biased (pro-cuts), or both. (Example #1:  Repeated references to Social Security as an entitlement program that is driving up the national debt, when in reality it is an earned benefits program prohibited by law from contributing one cent to the debt.  Example 2: The scant mainstream media coverage of Friday’s vote.)
  • President Obama has repeatedly signaled his willingness to make cuts to Social Security.

What is clear: We can expect more warnings from politicians, pundits, and the mainstream press about looming, unspecified threats to our children if we don't make immediate cuts. More claims that it's up to the adults in the room to come to the table… that the only adults in the room are those willing to put all options on the table … that only the adults will make cuts in the spirit of bipartisan shared sacrifice … and that they’ll do it now because we can't keep kicking the can down the road.

I don’t agree with these claims (being “adult” means we must compromise Social Security benefits). We who oppose cuts must be the adults in the room – yes. But we must come to the table, take the water pitcher, turn it upside down, and pour cold water all over every budget option that imposes cuts to benefits. By "pouring cold water," I mean telling both Congress and President Obama in no uncertain terms what Social Security means to us/the people we serve. We can do this by meeting with our representatives and senators, attending town hall events (and speaking up), making phone calls, sending emails, writing letters to the editor, organizing demonstrations - take your pick. But we must act now - and urge others in our communities to follow suit. 

Ghandi was right: Now, more than ever, we must be the adults we wish to see in the room. 


The Sequester Saga - Why We Need "Entitlement Reform" Reform


Photo by MoneyBlogNewz

To hear government and business leaders talk, you'd think it was self-evident that our two biggest problems in the U.S. are the federal debt and deficit, caused by Out-of-Control-Spending, due (at least partly) to Out-of-Control-Entitlements-That-Must-Be-Reined-In-NOW. 

Example: Shortly before his re-election, President Obama declared, "There's no doubt that our first order of business is going to be to get our deficits and debt under control." 

Example: In January, U.S. Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA) offered this observation:  "I think there's a growing urgency among the people in the country to say, You know what, it is high time for the federal government to get control of the unfunded liabilities in the entitlement programs."

The debt, deficit, and so-called "entitlements" are seemingly so worrisome that some of our most influential Job Creators have formed the CEO Fiscal Leadership Council (of Pete Peterson's "Fix the Debt" Campaign); their plan to share fiscal their "thought leadership" and "strategic guidance"with the American people. Accordingly, last November, Honeywell CEO and "Fix the Debt" Steering Committee member David Cote went on "Meet the Press" to warn the nation that "entitlements" are the "ticking time bomb that's going to kill us."             

And despite its preference for the term "reform" over "cuts," the Obama Administration has repeatedly signaled its support for Social Security cuts (e.g. Obama's campaign debate statement that he and Romney held similar positions on Social Security, his campaign's cryptic press release offering the unsettling assurance that he would not privatize and not "slash" Social Security benefits; and his support for the Chained CPI, or Consumer Price Index).   

So...we all agree that these things pretty much go without saying:

- Our spending is Out of Control.
- We have a Looming Debt Crisis.
- The obvious conclusion here is that Social Security recipients        must make do with less in monthly benefits (average per retired worker is $1,237). (Cut back on the cans of Dinty Moore Beef Stew, Grandma, or we'll have to end school meal programs for poor kids! Start reusing those corn pads, or we'll have to shut down crisis hotlines!)

And many of us can agree to these:

- While most Medicaid recipients are good, hard-working Americans, some of these people get sick, and sick people can be so expensive.
- The best approach to deficit reduction is the one that is bipartisan and immediate. Right?


I, for one, don't agree. And I don't think I'm alone.

Re the deficit: Recently, I surveyed my friends about their most urgent concerns and the Debt Situation. My survey suggests that for many people, there are more urgent concerns than the nation's debt, including the prospect of "clipping my pet's toenails" and the prospect of "finding a spider at home." Perhaps this is because: 1) they know that Social Security and Medicare don't contribute one penny to either the deficit or the debt, and 2) they think that if we can afford multiple wars, tax breaks for the rich, and corporate tax loopholes, then surely we can afford health care for poor people.

Re the "balanced approach" to deficit reduction, or who gives up what as we pay down the debt: For over 30 years, most Americans have been: not getting everything they want, making sacrifices, having some skin in the game, taking a haircut, stepping up, swallowing their medicine, eating their peas, tightening their belts, and feeling the pain. We have put up with budget cuts, stagnant wages, tax law changes that redistribute our nation's wealth upward, deregulation, union-busting laws and practices, free trade, outsourcing, and more.  

So to the CEOs urging us to support a balanced approach to deficit reduction: the next 30-plus years of not getting everything you want are all yours.

Those of us who care about anti-poverty programs cannot afford to be distracted by decoy debt and deficit "emergencies." It's time for us to take charge of the debate about our national priorities. To do this, we need "entitlement reform" reform.

First, let's not use "entitlement reform" to refer to cutting retirement and health care benefits for people who have earned them, or to cutting health care for people too poor afford it. "Entitlement reform" sounds like some sort of corrective action applied to greedy people who cannot be left unsupervised or they'll bankrupt the country. Let's use it to refer to calling out bailout-needing, bonus-favoring, tax-evading,  loophole-loving, public teat-sucking CEOs (and their toadies) who tell taxpayers to be more responsible.

Second, let's publicly call out each individual government and business leader whose recent thought leadership on the debt/deficit undermines or threatens Social Security, Medicare, and/or Medicaid. Let's publicly suggest-- in letters to the editor, on signs at a protest outside of her/his office, on an online petition, at a town hall meeting, or on a radio call-in show - how s/he can help the rest of us get us back on track.

Examples of whom to call out and how:

-  Pete Petersen, the Wall Street Billionaire behind the "Fix the Debt" Campaign, a PR effort that could more accurately be called "Nix the (Safety) Net." 
If there is so much grassroots support for focusing on deficit reduction ASAP, why has Peterson reportedly put together a campaign with: 127 CEOs, four PR firms, 80 staff,multiple Peterson-funded "partner" groups, and 23 dubious state chapters? This would be a good question to ask at one of the Campaign's upcoming grassroots events, or in the absence of same, in your local paper.

-  Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, who co-chaired the 2010 National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, and who recommended slashing Social Security: These two men charge $40,000 - each - to talk to business and other groups about their draconian deficit reduction ideas. If she were still alive, my Great Aunt Florence would ask me to drive her to whatever meeting was Bowles' and Simpson's next gig. There, she would commandeer the microphone. And she'd ask them to donate their $80,000 in speaking fee money to her fund for old ladies who can't afford food because of callous, clueless, cold-hearted men like them.

What if several hundred inquisitive seniors gathered outside of a Goldman Sachs shareholder meeting, under a banner saying: "Lloyd, you say people must lower their expectations"just how much lower should they go? Explain!" They could carry signs saying things like, "Give up on pensions? Check!" and "Give up retirement? Done!" and "Shareholders: Please! If you don't finish lunch, get the leftovers to go, and leave them with us!"

- U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX): Just this week, he opined on " the immorality of wild, lavish spending on our generation and forcing future generations to do without essentials just so we can live lavishly now," and adding that the debt is "one of the most immoral things this country has ever done."

Let's say you live in Texas and volunteer with your local progressive advocacy organization. Your group hold its first annual Drama Queen Awards for elected and other community leaders given to exaggeration. (Award categories, in addition to Queen, could include Drama Despot -- for leaders who support over-the-top laws mandating things like transvaginal probes; Drama Duke - for most dramatic political newcomer; Court Jester, etc.) Imagine Representative Gohmert, Drama Queen 2013, wearing his royal robe and crown.

There are many politicians, pundits, and others to be called out, and all kinds of opportunities to do it. Join the fight to reform "entitlement reform." Let's get this done! This country can afford to meet the basic human needs of all of its people. Yes, we can! 


It's V Day!*

Image courtesy of www.vday.org

In honor of V Day, a story about one group working to end violence against women:

Years ago, I ran a community organizing campaign to hold the local police accountable for how they upheld the Illinois Domestic Violence Act. During the campaign, our group was invited to give a brief talk about how abuse had affected their lives. 

The campaign's steering committee, all of whom were survivors of domestic violence and/or rape, met to come up with talking points. My job was to take notes. The women had trouble deciding what to say. Eventually, their brainstorming drifted into a conversation about their personal experiences of abuse. 

The matter-of-fact way they described the horrific things they had endured and the poignancy of their stories was riveting. I started writing down some of what they said. Later I made a list of their quotes on how life could have been different without abuse, and presented it to them at the next meeting. Did they want to use these quotes as their talk? They did. Here is what they presented:

  • I would know what it is to live without the paralyzing fear that leaves your legs like rubber. 
    • I would not feel like the walking wounded.
    • I would still be able to walk.
    • As a child, I would wear three layers of clothes so that he wouldn’t molest me. I wouldn’t be doing the same thing 40 years later.
    • My child would not have had to watch the pain I went through. And I wouldn’t have to watch her make the same mistakes I had made.
    • I would not have to watch my son be abusive like his dad.
    • I would not have lost my kids.
    • I would not have to cope with the fact that by the time I realized I was worth something, more than half my life had gone by.
    • I would not have to struggle for snippets of feeling good.
    • I would dare to believe that I deserve more.
    • I would be in touch with a world of possibilities.

    Want to join the one billion rising to stop violence against women? Looking for ideas to commemorate V Day? Check out www.vday.org!

    *V Day is a global movement to end violence against women.


    New Year's Greetings, Useful Fundraising Tools, and More


     I hope you have enjoyed the winter holiday thus far, and that the New Year kicks off a great 2013. In the spirit of starting anew, I offer a few go-to resources for your fundraising and hell raising needs:

    3 Go-To Websites                                             

    • The Community Tool Box: The Community Tool Box is a comprehensive source of information on essential skills for building healthy communities and community organizations. If your organization has not yet planned its statewide legislative advocacy/organizing activities for 2013, now is the time (right before the start of  Washington’s 2013 Legislative Session) to check out the chapters on social change.
    • The Grantsmanship Center: This site offers a variety of free training materials, including webcasts, newsletters, and issue papers. Its publications on getting grants, while not free, are worth every penny they cost.
    • Kim Klein and the Commons:  I like to read Kim Klein’s blog because it addresses the social, cultural, and/or political context in which community groups and nonprofits fundraise, and inspires me to think critically about how I raise money. 

    My (recent) blog posts in Op-Ed News and Crosscut – check them out!

    For Washington State readers: 12 days until Washington State's 2013 legislative session ~ 

    For your legislators' contact information, visit the  Washington State Legislature website.

     And finally, my dog, Ramona, having herself a restful holiday...