Capacity Building

“The guidance and framework Groundswell Fund brought to our work has helped us to better conceptualize what we do and enabled us to become immensely more strategic. We are able to fight the policy battles, protect and expand reproductive health and rights, and ensure that our constituents have the knowledge, skills, and platform to support this movement.”

 – Margaret Chapman Pomponio, Executive Director, WV Free

RJ organizations face two significant barriers to strengthening and scaling their work. The first is inadequate funding, particularly for local and state-level efforts. The second is a lack of access to the tools and technologies needed to “skill and scale” their grassroots power building. The near-total absence of voter engagement from the RJ movement’s toolbox historically is just one example. Over the years, several of our grantees have asked Groundswell Fund to help them remove barriers to accessing a more robust toolbox for grassroots power. The goal of Groundswell’s new Blueprint (2015-2019) is to remove these barriers to bring RJ power building to scale.

The underlying principle of our capacity-building work is that all programs are opt-in for grant partners, and organizations will not be required to participate in these programs to receive other grant support. Interested organizations may apply to be considered for specific capacity building programs, which currently include:

  • Integrated Voter Engagement, which blends community organizing and voter engagement to boost the scale and ability of grant partners to win systems change;
  • Grassroots Organizing Institute, which supports the nuts and bolts of organizing and the fundamentals of advocacy, including how to identify issue priorities and demands, conduct community asset mapping, analyze the political landscape, and much more;
  • Income Diversification, which facilitates learning from other grassroots organizations that have successfully reduced reliance on foundation funding by building out their donor base and instituting earned-income models; and
  • Organizational Development, designed according to grantees’ needs, in order to focus on areas such as stronger financial management and leadership succession.