In the organizational and movement chaos surrounding a Prop 8 overturning ballot initiative in 2010 versus 2012, the call for funding is out there. A snippet from a recent Courage campaign e-blast:

Right now, several organizations within the marriage equality movement are debating whether to place an initiative on the ballot to repeal Prop 8 in either 2010 or 2012.
The Courage Campaign community already spoke out in favor of 2010, quite strongly. In May, 83% of our members told us to work with our partners to place a marriage equality initiative on the ballot in 2010 — and to help build the movement to support it.
That's why the Courage Campaign has mobilized 44 Equality Teams and trained more than 1,000 organizers across California in 2009. And it's why we have been working with the smartest, most experienced campaign professionals in America — people who ran Barack Obama's campaign, know California and can chart a course to victory.
But the only way a 2010 campaign can be launched is if the marriage equality movement raises $200,000. That's right. $200,000. That's how much money it will take to determine — through research, polling and focus groups — the initiative language and messages that will move voters to support marriage equality.
We are ready to do our part but we can't do it alone. That's why we are asking the Courage Campaign community to raise $100,000 by August 13. And we are challenging our partners in the marriage equality movement to raise the remaining $100,000 as soon as possible.

Are you ready to commit? Time is running out to launch a 2010 initiative. To put marriage equality on the ballot next year, will you help us meet this $100,000 community goal by making a contribution right now? DEADLINE: August 13.

From holding multiple Camp Courage training events from the coast to the Central Valley to organizing 44 Equality Teams in 23 counties, we have mobilized our members to help build a people-powered foundation for victory in 2010. With a September deadline looming for filing an initiative, these organizers are ready to start gathering signatures.
But if the marriage equality movement is not able to raise the $200,000 necessary — $100,000 from the Courage Campaign and $100,000 from our partners — to pay for the research to launch an initiative campaign, then we will have to accept that our movement is not ready to repeal Prop 8 in 2010.
And we will have to wait until 2012 to bring marriage equality to the ballot again. It's as simple as that.

A reader contacted me and said he received the call for dollars and had a few questions for the organization.He gave me permission to repost the letter.

I'm sure you've heard about the Courage Campaign asking for $200,000 by 8/13 in order for them to support going back to the ballot in 2010. I thought you might be interested in my response email that I sent them.

I love the Courage Campaign, and I deeply support them; however I have a few questions about this call out for $200,000 and I was wondering if you guys might be able to help me better understand.

  He continues below the fold.

Is he overly critical or are these the kind of questions a lot of people have who aren't sure about whether the 2010 advocates are going to be ready.

Grassroots VS Non-Grassroots
I thought the Courage Campaign was supposed to be grassroots, and to me, that means that the people who want something to happen are the ones that actually do the footwork to make it happen. I know quite a few people that do marketing for a living that have volunteered for pro same-sex marriage events in the past who would be willing to donate their time to help create surveys about ballot initiatives. I also know lawyers that would help with drafting the wording for free. As for actually conducting the surveys, I know tons of people across the state who would be willing to stand around with clipboards polling people, phone bank, and even stuff envelopes to mail out the surveys. If printing is where the cost is, I know a printing shop that donated thousands of flyers and postcards for numerous Prop 8 rallies after November. As for analyzing the data once it comes
in, well the marketing people come in to play there too. Has a call been made to ask for volunteers in this effort, and if not, why? While I understand the need to raise funds, the request for a large sum of money in a short period of time seems more like an organization, and less like a grassroots organization.

Breakdown of Costs
$200,000 is a lot of money to ask for in such a short notice. Can we see a breakdown of how this money is going to be used? I think this is important since it doesn't seem to involve a grassroots effort, or at least it wasn't promoted in that way. The word “transparency” has been used a lot after the Prop 8 campaign, so making this breakdown viewable to the community would be great. Also, I have given money blindly to organizations over and over in the past and have not seen desired results.  For me personally, I have decided not to give any more money to any organization unless I see where my money will be going. A budget and plan would be nice, and I'm sure it would restore confidence for more people to donate additional funds as well.

Obligation to Membership Base
I'm a little bit confused on why this stipulation about raising the funds is required for the Courage Campaign to support a 2010 campaign. It was my understanding that the Courage Campaign was going to poll their membership base and would go in the direction that their members wanted to go in. The CC's membership base overwhelmingly said 2010, but now there seems to be an issue in regards to money. While I understand the need for money, surely there is a grassroots way to get this done for less (see Grassroots VS Non-Grassroots section above), especially since the majority of your membership base told you to do it. Organizations like the Courage Campaign exist to fulfill the needs and wants of their members, which at this time need and want to go back to the ballot in 2010.

We have all been put in positions by our bosses or board of directors where they wanted us to do a project with really tight constraints, but we move forward to make them happen. Any project manager will tell you that you need time, money, and resources to make a project happen, and when one of those fall short you make up for it in another area. If you fall short on money, bring in more volunteers etc. Your membership base overwhelmingly said 2010, and there are ways to make this happen even if $200,000 isn't raised by August 13th.

Where did this deadline of August 13th come from? The Courage Campaign heavily hinted about their support for a 2010 campaign months ago. I remember back in March hearing the organizers of Camp Courage Oakland say that the CC supported a 2010 campaign. Why all of a sudden are we hearing that we need to raise $200,000 ASAP and only have 8 days to do it? Surely it didn't just dawn on us at the last minute that we needed money, right?

Thank you for helping me better understand this request. With all that has gone on pre and post Prop 8, a lot of us need a little more understanding and confidence with what is going on, and I appreciate you guys helping out with that.


Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding