Funding Community Action

Funding community organizing is an investment in the foundation for long-term benefits. It will mobilize community resources and volunteers, create a common vision, and foster collaboration between groups and other partners. It will lead to better result

The really simple approach to organizing a community can be done for nothing, or for around $40,000 – depending on how you approach it.  Start with a community spark and find allies in the community to form your network. From there, you can either work on a volunteer basis or seek funding.

Item Free Paid
Coordinator Volunteer position Contract position
Meetings Free space Refreshments
Design Volunteer design Professional design
Publications On-line Print version
Outreach Via network Contract positions


Here’s a sample budget, based on a grant of $40,000:

Item Cost Description
Coordinator $20,000 Contract position
Meetings     1,000 Refreshments
Action Plan - Design     2,000 Professional design
Action Plan - Publication     2,000 Print version
Outreach - ambassadors     5,000 Small contracts
Outreach - events     2,000 E.g. a community fair
Outreach - material     3,000 Web page, print material
Overhead (approx. 15%)     5,000 (Approx. 15%)
TOTAL   40,000  


If you are a government or foundation looking to support community organizing as a foundation for community enhancement or action on specific issues, the best way to proceed is to establish a community planning fund with a simple application form.

  • A lead organization (not-for-profit)
  • A community network (initial members)
  • letters of support (e.g. elected representatives)
  • A community scan
  • A community action plan
  • Initial measurable results (community engagement)


To estimate the size of a community planning fund, look at providing up to $40,000 a year for one quarter of the communities in your jurisdiction. You can reduce the cost by partnering with other levels of government or funding agencies.

Your fund should dovetail with other project funding for community action on specific issues.