About the PMF
What is the mission of the Progressive Multiplier Fund?
The PMF finances revenue generation projects for progressive organizations, and in turn, shares fundraising knowledge gained with the progressive movement.
What does the PMF 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 for the PMF mailing list here.
- Screening – All PMF mailing list subscribers are screened to ensure that they work on progressive causes.
- Webinar – Once we determine that your organization is a fit, you will receive an invitation to an informational webinar, where we will discuss our funding priorities and the types of grants we offer. Please have the staff who would manage this program attend the webinar. After you attend, you’ll receive an automatic 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 the PMF to have access to these resources.
About Grantees and Grants
What is your Grantee Criteria?
- 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@example.com to see if they qualify).
Does the PMF fund Coalitions, PACs, or Political Parties?
The PMF would consider funding coalitions, but not for the purpose of those organizations acting as regranting organizations. We fund our grantees directly. The PMF 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 PMF funding.
How do I know that my organization fits the PMF’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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
What types of funding does the PMF Offer?
The PMF gives grants from two funds, the Test & Innovation Fund and the Growth Fund, which have different funding criteria and priorities.
- The Test & Innovation Fund provides grants to nonprofits interested in testing new revenue generation models, as well as testing the replication of revenue generation programs that have worked in other organizations. Grants range from $1,000 to $25,000, with an average grant size of $10,000. The Growth Fund is a valuable resource for organizations that wish to scale up their existing successful revenue projects.
- The Growth Fund provides recoverable grants and market rate loans to support organizations seeking to expand their revenue streams and have a greater impact. Recoverable grants and loans from the Growth Fund can be as large as $120,000.
What are the Grant Application Deadlines?
Our 2020 open call for grant applications will begin in February with application deadline in March. Please contact email@example.com with any questions.
How do I increase my chance of getting a grant?
The Center of Excellence has a leaderboard on the right side of the front page, and each person in the CoE is granted points. Having the most points can result in the following:
- Getting your grant. We review grant applications in order of the points earned by organizations collectively. The higher you are on the leaderboard, the more visible your grant application is to us.
- Getting more grants. When we learn more about your organization’s capacity and your expertise, you gain more points. When we see great funding opportunities that need a certain expertise and organizational capacity, we can reach out to those who match based on their shared info.
We have limited funds; participating in the community gives you the best chance of receiving a grant. So how do you get points?
- Fill out as many fields as you can on your account
- Ask and answer questions on the CoE
- Endorse or be endorsed as an expert of a topic
Step by step instructions for getting points can be found here.
What are the grant obligations?
The PMF 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 PMF 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 funding awarded through the Test & Innovation Fund is given in the form of a traditional grant without any repayment obligation.
What are your grant criteria?
- Your project should focus on engaging individuals who can be members, consumers, or donors (under $1,000).
- 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 PMF 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 PMF 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 PMF 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?
No. Your requested grant amount should cover 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 Fund 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).
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 Fund’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 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 PMF).
- Organizations that have not fully repaid recoverable grants are unlikely to receive additional funds from the PMF.
- The PMF would give additional recoverable grants for the same project in future years if the project is succeeding.
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 PMF – After you have attended a webinar, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule call where you can ask follow-up questions or share proposal ideas.
- Application – After you attend the webinar, 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 PMF should not appear in the project budget as income. Your costs should be greater than or equal to the grant provided by the PMF.
- Income – Please outline the income from the expenditures in this project monthly for 60 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 PMF track what revenue comes from the project you’re funding?
For testing and innovation grants, we will ask you to create a separate budget in your financial software and to track your expenses and income. For 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 decide on grants within two months and distribute funds within one month after the decision.
- To move your application up in the grant review process, increase your activity on the CoE! This gives your profile more points and moves your application up in the order of being reviewed.