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E-Democracy.Org is transitioning from an all-volunteer effort with almost no costs to the volunteer-based initiative with modest costs and a core shared staff/contractors. We seek to improve the services and support we provide to our base of ten communities across the U.S., the U.K. and New Zealand as well as dramatically expand the communities we partner with and serve.
To do this we must attract unrestricted donations from major donors and participants that allow us to invest in the core of what we do. Project grants are great, but typically do not fund our core needs.
Our donor/funding efforts are geared into three areas:
- Major donors - Our first area of focus - Our goal, raise $45K US by mid-2008
- Participant donations - Something we must roll-out carefully in consultation with local groups
- Local council support - UK participants in our survey clearly prefer local government support for Issues Forums (the opposite of U.S. participants) over soliciting individual pledges. This fits their culture where they pay a tax to own the television which goes mostly to the BBC.
The E-Democracy.Org Board decided in July 2007 to NOT set a target fund raising goal by each local forums for now and instead raise funds as a whole and assume all funding risk. We must make a compelling case that donations to E-Democracy.Org for "shared" support services sufficiently benefit local forums along with pass through resources for local spending discretion. This will likely need to be demonstrated over time. Our sense is that our network must grow to at least 20 communities to spread the costs/income source out to support one full-time equivalent position and our forum hosting costs.