Table of Contents

About the PMF

What is the mission of Progressive Multiplier?

We help organizations build a progressive movement of, by and for everyday people.

We do this by organizing and leveraging funding to create onramps for progressive organizations to start, strengthen or scale individual giving and earned revenue programs. 

Through both an online community of practice and our grantmaking and support program, we build the progressive sector’s revenue generation knowledge and skills so that it can amplify a people-powered movement.

What does the PM do?

  • We offer grants for experimentation in revenue generation, as well as recoverable grants and loans for nonprofits to scale projects; and
  • Provide a resource center, the Center of Excellence, for progressive nonprofits on earned revenue techniques.

How do I access the Center of Excellence?

Please follow these steps to sign up for the Center of Excellence:

  • Sign Up – Sign up here.
  • Screening – All sign ups are screened to ensure that they work on progressive causes.
  • Once we determine that your organization is a fit, you’ll receive an email invitation to the Center of Excellence.

Who will Center of Excellence resources be available to?

The Center of Excellence is open to 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations, projects housed in these entities, LLCs in which a 501(c)(3) or (c)(4) are the only members, and their consultants that work on the following issues: Clean Energy, Climate Change, Corporate Accountability, Criminal Justice Reform, Democracy/Voting, Disability Rights, Economic Justice, Education Justice, Environmental Justice, Gun Control, Health Care, HIV/AIDS, Housing, Human Rights, Immigrant Rights, LGBTQ Rights, Mass Incarceration, Minimum Wage, Neighborhood Issues, Protecting Medicare, Protecting Social Security, Puerto Rico Justice, Racial Justice, Refugee Crisis, Reproductive Rights, Gender Equity, Social Justice, Wilderness Protection, Women’s Rights, Workers Rights, and other progressive issues.

You do not need to be a grantee of PM to have access to these resources.

About Grantees and Grants

About Grantees

What is your Grantee Criteria?

Grantees must:

  • Be US based, nonprofits and subsidiaries with 501(c)(3)s, 501(c)(4)s, projects housed in these entities, or LLCs in which a 501(c)(3) or (c)(4) are the only members.
  • Do some form of domestic policy or legal advocacy, civic engagement, or are a media organization in one of PMF’s issue areas.
  • Should have an operating budget of $500,000 or more (organizations that are smaller should email [email protected] to see if they qualify).

Does PM fund Coalitions, PACs, or Political Parties?

The PM would consider funding coalitions, and if regranting to coalition members is needed we can execute grant agreements with them directly.  We fund our grantees directly. The PM does not fund PACs, political parties, or organizations that do not meet the criteria above.

What issues do you fund?

Clean Energy, Climate Change, Corporate Accountability, Criminal Justice Reform, Democracy/Voting, Disability Rights, Economic Justice, Education Justice, Environmental Justice, Gun Control, Health Care, HIV/AIDS, Housing, Human Rights, Immigrant Rights, LGBTQ Rights, Mass Incarceration, Minimum Wage, Neighborhood Issues, Protecting Medicare, Protecting Social Security, Puerto Rico Justice, Racial Justice, Refugee Crisis, Reproductive Rights, Gender Equity, Social Justice, Wilderness Protection, Women’s Rights, Workers Rights, and other progressive issues.

If your organization does not consider itself progressive but works on multiple issues above in a way that would be considered progressive while reaching out “across the aisle,” you may qualify for PM funding.

How do I know that my organization fits the PM’s definition of “Progressive”?

We understand that it is not for a small group of people to define progressive; if the issue you’re working on is not listed, please write us at [email protected] to see if your mission fits.

Please note: as long as your organization works on the issues above, you fit our mission. Your particular revenue generation program does not need to be focused on any particular issue above.

About Grants

What types of funding does PM Offer?

PM gives three kind of grants:

  • Kickstart Grants are for those organizations just getting started with independent revenue generation.  They average $10,000 and are meant to test things like acquiring small dollar donors for the first time.
  • The Test & Innovation Grants are for testing new revenue generation models, as well as testing the replication of revenue generation programs that have worked in other organizations. Grants average $25,000.
  • The Scale Grants & Loans are recoverable grants and market rate loans to support organizations seeking to expand their revenue streams and have a greater impact.  Recoverable grants and loans average $120,000.

What are the Grant Application Deadlines?

We accept applications on a rolling basis and make grants when we have funding available that matches the grant criteria.  As a funding intermediary, our calls for applications are driven by when we receive funding versus the calendar.  Please contact [email protected] with any questions.

 

What are the grant obligations?

PM has the right to share all lessons learned, techniques, overall results, and materials used from any form of grant given with ALL other progressive organizations. Best practices and lessons learned are shared through the Center of Excellence.

  • Recoverable grants are repaid monthly with all income from the project that the PM funds until the grant is fully repaid, plus a 10% administrative fee within 18 months. Your organization retains the remainder of the earnings after both the grant and fee are repaid.

Any Kickstart or Test & Innovation Grants are given in the form of a traditional grant without any repayment obligation.

Grant Criteria

What are your grant criteria?

  • Your project should focus on engaging individuals who can be members, consumers, or donors.
  • You have the right team and capacity (in-house or in-house with partners or vendors) to execute the program.
  • A strong case that this effort can return a 2:1 return over three to five years, meaning if you were to spend $100 this year to acquire donors or customers, the income from those people over five years (without you spending more) would be $200.
  • A strong case that your program, if scaled, could raise your organization over $1m per year OR could be replicated by other organizations to generate millions for the movement.
  • The PM has the right to share lessons learned, techniques, overall results, and materials you used with ALL other progressive organizations
  • Will only fund technology if it is a small part of the project.

What infrastructure or capacity is required in each organization to receive funding?

The PM will evaluate the proposal you submit, and ask if you have the capacity to do that type of project.  For example, if you are generating interest on Facebook and calling interested people to ask them to join your organization, we would review your team’s background in Facebook marketing and telemarketing.

You can cover staff costs with PM funds, but we evaluate your grant proposal based on the leadership and team that you have in place, including your consultants, and your vendors. If your proposal does not identify the staff person who will run this program who has a proven track record of success, we are unlikely to fund your project. If you need to use funds to add additional, junior staff, this may be acceptable.

Can I use funding from other sources to support my project?

Yes.  Your reporting template throughout your project will need to include the entire cost of your fundraising effort, so that you can determine if this effort can truly return a 2:1 return over three to five years. This includes consultants, vendors, tools, staff time, and other direct or indirect expenses of the project (running ads, purchasing lists, renting lists, etc).

The Progressive Multiplier does not suggest any specific vendors or technology.  However, the vendors that organizations have worked with on different projects are available in the write-ups of fundraising tests and projects in the Center of Excellence.

What can funds not be used for?

  • Matching Grants
  • Hiring of senior staff
  • CDFI Loans for Business readiness

Why can’t we use funds for hiring senior staff?

We evaluate your grant proposal based on the leadership and team that you have in place, including your consultants, and your vendors. If your proposal does not identify the staff person who will run this program who has a proven track record of success, we are unlikely to fund your project.

Can Grants be Used to Test Successful Techniques Used by Other Organizations?

Yes.  About two thirds of all Test and Innovation grants are used to test techniques that have worked for other organizations but haven’t been tried yet by the applying organization. One third of our Test and Innovation grants are used to fund wild new ideas that haven’t been tested yet.

Do I Need to Apply for a Test and Innovation Grant to Apply for a Bigger Recoverable Grant?

No. If your organization has a proven track record of running a revenue generation program that generates a 2:1 return, you can apply for a recoverable grant to expand that project. But, if you apply for a test grant, and it works, we would welcome an application for a Recoverable Grant to expand the project.

If an organization has more than one idea to test, will you consider more than one proposal from the same organization?

Yes, but the total budget requested for the different tests should not exceed the maximum grant amount (i.e. $25,000).  We will also consider subsequent grant applications to test new ideas.

Can we reapply for grants?

Yes, with some caveats.

  • No one organization can receive more than 10% of the funds available from the Progressive Multiplier’s different pools of money at any one point in time.
  • If you apply for a Test Grant, and the project works, we would welcome an application for a Scale Recoverable Grant to expand the project.
  • Organizations that have had a proposal rejected can reapply with new or modified proposals (based on the feedback from the PM).
  • Organizations that have not fully repaid recoverable grants are unlikely to receive additional funds from the PM.
  • The PM would give additional Scale Recoverable Grants for the same project in future years if the project is succeeding.

Grant Process

What is the Application Process?

  • First you must be a member of the Center of Excellence.
  • Log in to the CoE. Poke around!
  • Schedule a call with the PM –please send an email to [email protected] to schedule call where you can ask follow-up questions or share proposal ideas.
  • Application –You will be able to create one or more applications through the Center of Excellence portal.

Future Applications – Once your organization has access to the CoE, you can apply for future grants by logging in to the CoE here.

What makes a good application?

  • A revenue-generating project that is a test, a wild idea, or a proven successful project
  • A sound financial model showing 2:1 ROI – explain your assumptions with text, but really focus your energy on the numbers
  • A good team

How Does the Budget Document Work?

  • Costs – Please outline the costs of the project, broken down into the different budget categories, by month of the year. The income your organization receives from the PM should not appear in the project budget as income.  
  • Income – Please outline the income from the expenditures in this project monthly for 36 months following the expenditures (i.e. if you recruited monthly donors, how much money will they give in future years based on what you spent during the grant period).

How does the PM track what revenue comes from the project you’re funding?

For Test and Innovation Grants, we will ask you to create a separate budget in your financial software and to track your expenses and income. For Scale Recoverable Grants, we may ask you to open a separate bank account in addition to creating a separate budget and tracking your expenses and income, and have all funds from the project flow into that account

What is the Turnaround Time for Grant Decisions and Funding?

  • We review grant applications within two months of submission. 
  • At that time, if funding is available and your project is approved, we will contact you to start the grant agreement process.
  • At that time is funding isn’t available but your project is approved, we will reach out and let you know that and will stay in contact while waiting for funding.
  • At that time if your project is not approved, we will let you know and offer feedback about our decision.

 

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