2006 Convening

2006 Grantee Convening
Bring Grassroots Voices and Skills Together
April 3, 2006
San Francisco

In April 2006, the Northern California Environmental Grassroots Fund bought together more than 50 representatives of 38 grantee organizations from 15 Northern California counties for its first-ever grantee convening. In addition to the Grassroots Fund grantees, we were joined by funding partners, members of the funding advisory board, and several representatives from our colleague fund, the California Wildlands Grassroots Fund. The day-long event included workshops on fundraising, media, strategy and volunteers, and provided grantees with an opportunity to network with their colleagues and supporters. The conference was free, and travel scholarships of up to $100 per person were provided to 18 people who attended the training.

The main feature of the convening was a three-hour workshop on how to expand fundraising beyond foundation grants. Stephanie Roth of the Grassroots Fundraising Journal facilitated the fundraising workshop, and emphasized practical steps small groups can take to integrate fundraising with their programs, activate board fundraising, and increase fundraising from their local community. In a lively and interactive session grantees practiced telephone calls to potential donors. While rehearsing the techniques suggested by Ms. Roth, the grantees where given an opportunity to network with one another. Each convening attendee was given a copy of Ms. Roth’s book The Accidental Fundraiser.In the afternoon three breakout sessions where conducted. Each panel featured grantee representatives, who shared their knowledge in an informal peer-to-peer format.

The Media Discussion, facilitated by funding board member Kathy Bailey, former Chair of Sierra Club California’s Forest Conservation Committee, encouraged grantees to brainstorm about messaging and media plans. The panel was composed of fellow grantees with extensive experience in media, who gave practical advice about getting reporters to cover their story. In a written evaluation, participants enjoyed the audience participation and found the panel useful.The Strategy Session facilitated by funding board member Lori de Leon of the Dolores Huerta Foundation led grantees in discussing the specific steps involved in strategic planning. These step include the importance of long-term goals; individual steps to take; how to prioritize and assign responsibilities; and the significance of review and evaluation. Those who participated in this panel discussion said they loved hearing stories of struggle and victory from the panelists.Aided by a couple a great slide shows, the Volunteers Panel, facilitated by funding board member Warren Alford, Sierra Nevada Forest Protection Campaign, discussed how to recruit, motivate and supervise volunteers.

The day closed with a high-energy group feedback session led by Rose Foundation Executive Director Tim Little.

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