Barriers to Entry in Grassroots Organizing
By Andrew Green
Change requires changemakers. Advocates, activists, and organizers are the ones who bring issues into the spotlight and work towards solutions. Depending on what is being fought for, there are manifold means of orchestrating this work; some organizations solicit donations from deep-pocketed corporate donors, while others avail people power, typically through grassroots organizing and the gathering of small-dollar donations. For activist groups of the latter persuasion, integrity abounds, but roadblocks are plentiful.
In the nonprofit world, funding and agenda are inextricably linked; groups whose goals include “free market economics” and deregulation often find patronage in the super-wealthy. Oil magnates and corporate executives are quick to dish out millions to organizations like PragerU and Turning Point USA. This amount of funding typically eclipses that awarded to advocacy groups with more populist sympathies, and as a result, the interests of corporations and the wealthy have an outsized voice when spreading their messages.
In practice, this means corporate-backed organizations have access to high-profile speakers, fancy marketing campaigns, cash cannons, and even prepaid transport and hotel rooms in order to bring thousands from around the country together for protests and conferences.
For those wishing to make their voices heard without corporate influence considerably fewer resources are available. Even something as simple as an auto-dialer to contact voters can cost thousands of dollars.
This has been a struggle for us at Done Waiting, as we’re funded entirely by donations from regular people. Luckily for us, we are host to a growing army of dedicated volunteers, some of whom are currently working on creative alternatives to traditional and expensive tools. Even though we deal with the setbacks that exist for those not receiving huge cash injections, we are proud to remain independent from corporate influence, and are in awe of the change we have been able to make purely through people power and small-dollar donations.
If you would like to contribute to our work in bringing about a government that answers to the people, please donate here.