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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Supporting the Cause

Al Gore has received a lot of criticism about his relatively new-found role as a 'planetary' advocate, but this week he put his money where his mouth is.

As a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Al Gore received a considerable sum of money along with it, but announced Friday (10/12/07) that the money would be given to the Alliance for Climate Protection (www.climateprotect.org), a year-old advocacy group fighting the effects of global warming and climate change.

Mr. Gore is truly setting a good example for any advocate. It would be easy for him to just keep the award money for himself, but he is putting it to good use. The first thing we as advocates must do is prove that we are truly behind our cause. We must be willing to dedicate considerable time campaigning for and be willing to financially support our cause.

It is not cheap to support a cause if you truly want to make a difference in the world. In the United States, even establishing your nonprofit/non-governmental status can cost 1000 USD or more. Add to this the expense of registering for donation solicitation with one or more states, the cost of organizational material publishing, and the cost of fundraising postage and it adds up very quickly.

If you have financial constraints, there is an option to get your project going without incurring this sizable expense. It is called a 'fiscal sponsorship' and can allow you to start your project by negotiating the sponsorship with an existing organization. In essence, the sponsoring organization would agree to accept accounting and management responsibilities over the project in exchange for a (usually) small percentage of revenues the project attracts. By entering into a fiscal sponsorship agreement, your small organization might also be able to attract foundation funding that it might otherwise not have access to before registering as an independent organization.

There are several nationally and internationally known organizations who act as fiscal sponsors, such as the United Way, but many of them require that you have a one to five year previous track record as an unregistered organization before they will accept your new organization or project.

Even beyond the idea of a fiscal sponsor, there are other avenues to potentially fund a fledgling organization. Fundraising-Ideas.org (http://www.fundraising-ideas.org) has an incredible list of creative fundraising ideas that small organizations can use. DIY Fundraising (http://www.diyfundraising.com) also has a great list. You can get some additional ideas and tips from the Squidoo Fundraising Lens (http://www.squidoo.com/diyfundraising).

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