On funding the cause

15 March 2009 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in activism | 4 Comments »

Reposted from a private Facebook conversation:

The original question regards approaching wealthy potential donors who may be interested in funding voluntaryist/anarchist causes.

In my own rather limited experience with activist fundraising, I do know that the key questions these folks are going to ask you is: How much do you need? How are you going to spend it? and How can I measure the value of my investment?

Inasmuch as we are a movement, we are a polycentric one. Each of us may have very different answers to those questions, and each of us would frame the discussion with such prospective donors differently.

The “How are you going to spend it?” question, though, is one which can be reframed a bit, as, “What sorts of activities and organizations do or could donors fund, which could be beneficial vehicles for us?”

I offer here a list of possibilities, in no particular order:

  • think tanks
  • publications (journals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters)
  • academic endowments (dubious)
  • political parties, candidates and campaigns (distasteful, at best, to many of us)
  • grant-making foundations
  • public advocacy groups
  • conventions and other mass public events
  • political action committees
  • media awareness projects
  • charity organizations with compatible ideological orientation
  • businesses to compete with government service provision (agora!)
  • seminar series
  • roundtable groups

If you can bite down on one of those — or anything else — and create a project or business plan for it, then you will have answered the questions you are likely to get from any serious donor prospect, and will be ready to go out and make the pitch.

  1. 4 Responses to “On funding the cause”

  2. By david on 15 March 2009

    I’m not sure a conversation on Facebook is private.

    ‘Facebook’s most recent round of funding was led by a company called Greylock Venture Capital, who put in the sum of $27.5m. One of Greylock’s senior partners is called Howard Cox, another former chairman of the NVCA, who is also on the board of In-Q-Tel. What’s In-Q-Tel? Well, believe it or not (and check out their website), this is the venture-capital wing of the CIA. After 9/11, the US intelligence community became so excited by the possibilities of new technology and the innovations being made in the private sector, that in 1999 they set up their own venture capital fund, In-Q-Tel, which “identifies and partners with companies developing cutting-edge technologies to help deliver these solutions to the Central Intelligence Agency and the broader US Intelligence Community (IC) to further their missions”.’

    Pump that page through’s document scanner for a peek down the rabbit hole.

  3. By FSK on 17 March 2009

    That’s exactly the wrong approach.

    The correct way answer is “Start an actual agorist business, and reinvest your profits in the counter-economy.” If you start an agorist gold/silver/FRN barter network or an agorist gold/silver warehouse receipt banking system, then a wealthy person might be a potential customer.

  4. By Mike Gogulski on 17 March 2009

    @David: GAK!

    @FSK: You are obviously not a perl hacker. TMTOWTDI. Still, fine idea. Any progress?

  5. By FSK on 21 March 2009

    So far, I don’t have any actual agorist businesses. It’s going to take me another couple of years.

    I’m making $0.50-$1 per day from AdBrite, but that doesn’t count as agorist income.

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